In this week’s Career Focus segment, That’s Farming, speaks to Daniel McCaw, a Harper Adams University graduate, food blogger (North Coast Eats) and business development executive at GOA crisps.
Daniel McCaw’s interest in agri-food stemmed from his passion for nutrition, which he developed during his almost 6 stone loss journey.
This unearthed a desire for the 22-year-old, who does not hail from a family farming background, to “find out where food came from and how it is made/produced”.
Despite this, the Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, native initially chose business management as his first choice at Harper Adams University (HAU) in Shropshire, England.
“However, I quickly realised that it was not for me and that I wanted to study food. I changed my course within the first week, and I have not looked back. I started this course after I completed my A-levels,” he told That’s Farming.
Instead, he selected its food technology with nutrition course and finished the four-year degree programme in recent weeks.
“As a result of Covid-19, I will graduate in 2022. I especially enjoyed my course’s nutrition and marketing element. I find agri-food extremely interesting, and wanted to pursue this as a career.”
“Honestly, I enjoyed my course at HAU. I would not change a thing about my time during my studies. My course involves elements like food production, food tech, food quality, marketing, sustainability and security of food, to name a few.”
Glens of Antrim Potatoes and food blogging
Daniel completed a placement at Glens of Antrim Potatoes as part of its quality team for their crisp branch. He has now secured a graduate job as a business development executive with the owned and managed supplier of an extensive range of potato varieties in Northern Ireland.
He juggles this role with his popular North Coast Eats food Instagram blog, which he found fame with during lockdown.
“Student life during COVID-19 has been strange, to say the least. I spent most of my time at home as, after my first term, we were made to study from home. This was when I decided to start food blogging.”
“I was toying with the idea of blogging for a while, and in February, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.”
“I love food, cooking and dining out. Therefore, I decided to share my love and passion for food with everyone else. I publish my content through Instagram and share recipes and recommendations through my page called North Coast Eats.”
“I aim my food page at anyone who enjoys food really, but I have a main focus on supporting local businesses and using local food produce for my recipes.”
“Local butchers, farm shops, grocers and food businesses are often forgotten about as a result of big supermarkets, and they have so much to offer.”
He tends to post content – photos of meals he creates, recipes and tips – on the account daily. He has gained over 1,800 followers, mainly in Northern Ireland, but he has followers across the UK, throughout Europe, America and further afield.
As a result, he featured in several newspapers – across the UK – including the BBC.
Support farmers more
For the new grad, the future of agriculture is food sustainability and security; this is what his page is about.
He believes that the public need to support local farmers more. “They are the ones doing all the work, and people often take this for granted,” he remarked.
“My future plans are to be successful in any way I can. I want to push myself to achieve the best I possibly can. If that requires additional studies, I will get out there and do it.”
He wants to establish his own food business eventually, but, as for now, he looks forward to seeing “what life throws at me next”.
“My ultimate goal is to own a successful food business that is highly sustainable whilst providing quality products in every way possible.”
‘Cows are not a major cause of global warming’
“I want to be able to do something I love every day for, and I love nothing more than food. Thus far, I have been gifted with an excellent life. I have an amazing group of family and friends that are very supportive.”
“So far, I have been given great opportunities such as studying at Harper, of which has been some of the best years of my life. In addition, I have recently been offered an amazing job with GOA crisps as part of their marketing team.”
“The future of agriculture in Ireland and everywhere is, of course, is technology. There is so much going on with hands-free farms and robots operating in farmland, such as the hands-free hectare at Harper Adams.”
“Additionally, I believe that shopping and supporting local produce is extremely important for the future of agriculture here in Ireland as fewer people are becoming interested in farming, and this needs to be addressed.”
“There are too many falsities associated with farming of, which I do not want to speak about as it is often a sensitive subject. But let’s just say cows are not a major cause of global warming,” the food blogger concluded.