I'm Carol Banahan, and I'm the founder of Carol's Stock Market.
I was born and raised in Dublin and subsequently moved to Canada where I spent the last twenty-five years working in the financial sector as a stock trader on the Canadian stock market.
My weeks were very hectic managing a very busy trading desk – on an average day, I would negotiate equity trades worth between $50 and $100 million Canadian dollars – so a healthy lifestyle was vital to keep my mind sharp and my body healthy. When the weekend came, the first thing I’d love to do would be to make a big pot of stock. It was my way of slowing things down and relaxing – I'd leave it simmering away, head out to the local food markets in Vancouver, and when I got back, the bone broth would be ready and I’d have enough to make the next week’s meals.
When I returned home to Ireland with my husband, I couldn’t believe that nobody was selling natural stock the way they did in Canada. Encouraged by my three childhood friends back in Dublin, I invested in some massive pressure cookers and began making traditional stock to sell locally. I’d spend a couple of days a week making stock and then driving all over Inishowen delivering the orders! I got such positive feedback that it convinced me there was a huge gap in the market here in Ireland for a great quality, home-made stock, so I decided to go for it!
In autumn 2016 I became the first client at Foodovation, the North West Regional College’s food development centre, and with the support of Chef Brian McDermott and the team I was able to turn my dream of making and selling stock into a business - Carol's Stock Market.
I now manufacture all my products in my own purpose built production unit rather than my pressure cookers at home, but I still make all my own stocks, broths and gravies, and I love being able to share my passion for stock with others. I know what it's like to have a busy lifestyle, but when it comes to health and wellbeing there's no substitute for a natural, nutritious diet. I use nothing but local beef and free range chicken, organic vegetables, Irish water and fresh herbs, then simmer in stainless steel pots for hours to create an intense flavour which is the perfect base for everything from soups and stews, sauces and gravies and even curries and risottos. All my ingredients are locally-sourced in Ireland – my beef stock is made from the bones of Irish grass-fed cattle, and my chicken is 100% Irish free range sourced from farmers in Cavan and Monaghan.
My stock is naturally low in sugar and salt, contains no additives or preservatives, and is gluten, dairy and soy free. It's packed full of all the vitamins and minerals which occur naturally in animal bones. Traditional stock also has great health benefits – it can help soothe the digestive system and bolster the immune system, it's known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and can help keep bones and joints strong, as well as helping to strength the hair and nails. It's one of the healthiest ingredients you can use, and is the perfect foundation ingredient for your meals. My gravies are hand crafted in small batches to provide a super tasty, nourishing and convenient way to enjoy a good gravy with your meals without any artificial additives or preservatives.
Stock-making really is a huge passion for me. I get this real sense of satisfaction when I’m making stock, and I find I'm constantly sticking my nose into the pots and smelling it as it simmers. As the aroma gets more and more intense so does the flavour, and I can tell when it's ready just by the smell of it! For me, to be able to get such goodness and taste just by simmering bones for a long time is just magical.
The best way to understand the philosophy behind Carol's Stock Market is to try my products! My full range of stocks, bone broth and gravies are available to order all over Ireland and the UK. You can order from me directly, or follow my journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I want everyone to be as passionate about stock as I am!