La Roche students sample a taste of Ulster

COLERAINE welcomed a group of agricultural students from a college in Coleraine’s twin town of La Roche in France recently.

For one member of the group it was a second visit to the area. Laurent Charrier, a teacher at the French college, had taken part in a pupil exhange 30 years ago.

The purpose of the visit was to give the students an insight into aspects of a different agricultural system, and to improve their grasp of English. During the visit the students received a warm welcome from local food firms, farms and agricultural equipment stockists.

The fist visit was to Greenmount Agricultural College where the Head of Education, Dr. Sam Kennedy, gave an introduction to the work of the college before the students made a tour of the installation under the guidance of Deirdre Cooper.

In the afternoon the group visited Loughrey to gain insight into food quality assurance and research, and had the opportunity to try their hand at making sausages.

Visits were made to Ballyrashane Cooperative and Kerry Foods under the guidance of Nigel Kemps and William Haslett.

The first of these included a visit to the highly efficient Ballyrashane Energy installation.

The visit to Kerry foods will make the students view their McDonalds burgers in a different light back home, when they learnt how much of the European burger market was supplied with cheese from Coleraine!

During their stay the group also visited the Giant’s Causeway and the Titanic Museum.

The final day of the trip saw visits to famrs which have diversified. One local farm showed how they had diversified into ice cream production.

The students also visited the base of the equipment supplier, D.A.Forgie.

The social side was not forgotten. The students spent an evening at the Jet Centre bowling with members of the Coleraine Young Farmers Club, and enjoyed a barbecue.

This was the first visit of this type arranged by the Coleraine Twinning Association and to judge from the feedback received it was highly successful and the students left with lots of positive impressions and memories.