Ever wondered what should accompany your vegetables? Read our new columnist Martin Hamilton of Mash Direct

Martin-Hamilton---Mash-DirectMartin Hamilton is Founder and Managing Director of Mash Direct, the award-winning vegetable accompaniment brand. A fifth-generation farmer and ‘son of the soil’, Martin has more than 40 years of experience in growing quality vegetable produce. In his present role, Martin oversees the day-to-day running of the business, including customer relations and the development of international trade opportunities.

Martin’s entrepreneurial story began in 1986 when, together with his wife Tracy, he purchased Ballyrainey Farm, set just outside Comber in Country Down. Following 30 successful years of growing and supplying vegetables to the local market, Martin recognised the need to diversify in order to maintain profits. Spotting a gap in the food manufacturing market for vegetable accompaniments with ‘that homemade taste’, Martin set to work with a friend to innovate a solution, and drew up plans for a bespoke steam cooker to create the first line of products under the Mash Direct name.

Now selling 40 different products across the UK and Ireland as well as exporting to customers overseas, Martin has achieved his aspiration to create a quality brand that is free from artificial colourings, preservatives, and flavourings, tasting as homemade as it is. His hard work and dedication to providing “Farm to Fork” products have earned him recognition within the sector, with accolades including EY’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year (Finalist) and Farmer’s Weekly Diversification Farmer of the Year 2013 (Finalist).

Inspired by his passion for farming and business, Martin strongly believes in encouraging the next generation to take charge and become visionary leaders. Sponsoring the Junior Entrepreneurship Programme in County Down is just one example of the many ways Martin continues to promote entrepreneurship and innovation amongst the youth community.

 

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