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“Trust your food” this is the cornerstone of our business.
What does “Trust your food” mean? Knowing where you food comes from, knowing what is on your food, knowing what is in your food, knowing that your food is produced in an ethical and sustainable way, knowing that you are eating clean healthy food. That is what “trust your food” means to us.
Throughout the year our seasonal organic boxes will have an average of 80% local Irish organic produce. From July onwards it will be 100%, the best months for a local Irish supply is July-December. Some years we have a little break in the weather in early summer in May or early June and the sunshine would lead you to think that we should have tomatoes and a full supply of Irish organic vegetables available. Ironically this is right in the middle of the hungry gap the period where old crops are finishing and new crops aren’t quite ready yet.
We have a very good supply of fresh organic produce with loads of fresh produce coming off the farm, from the first spring cabbage to wild rocket, spinach, radish, salad, purple sprouting broccoli and our own leeks.
We take our local supply credentials very seriously and having our own organic farm is a major investment in these. It is sobering to note that of the fifty or so commercial veg growers that used to be in operation west of the Shannon there is only two or three remaining. Many of these farms were put out of business because they could not compete with cheap imports.
It is a very complex operation having a 30 acre farm growing over 30 different varieties of crops, especially in the west of Ireland. The farm is the beating heart of our business, and right now the farm is a hive of activity. We are not just some other large commercial producer either. We have sown trees (another 400 this year), brought bee hives onto the farm (3 this year), planted wild flowers (there will be more this year). Invested in our soil by leaving fields fallow under red clover for two years and planted hedgerows (with a further 500m to go in this year). This is a long term investment in our farm and in your food.
We are planting tomatoes and cucumbers this week. The little transplants are going into the ground in our polytunnels and in 6 weeks we will start the first harvest of these juicy fruits. We are also putting thousands of transplants into the fields this week.
Picture of our organic tomatoes and organic cucumbers taken last year on our farm.
We don’t produce all the food we sell on our farm so we prioritise our Irish and local suppliers. This morning I had a meeting with a former team member who has her own organic farm and is now growing a range of produce for us. We have a potato grower, growing the finest Irish organic potatoes for us in Donegal (Which are in all the boxes at the moment). We purchased all the organic mushrooms this week from an Irish mushroom producer in Northern Ireland. We have Irish beetroot from Galway and will have fresh lettuce from an excellent producer in Ballinasloe next week. I have just spoken to a farmer down the road who from next week will be able to supply us with organic eggs. Our current eggs come from Connolly’s organic farm in Monaghan and they are fantastic too. We buy cheese from Ralph Haslam in Offaly, we buy flour from Ballybrado in Tipperary, we buy rapeseed oil from 2nd Nature in Kilkenny. You can find all these items here.
We also have a direct links to other farms in Europe so we can get direct from the farmer the most flavoursome and fresh organic produce that we can’t source in Ireland. We are getting fresh organic oranges and freshly harvested organic cherry tomatoes, aubergines, and peppers direct from a farmer in Sicily next week.
To paraphrase a “League of Gentlemen” (a very funny if not slightly disturbing TV series from 1999) ‘local food for local people’. Whether you live in Dublin or Galway, Donegal or Dingle, we are a local grower and a local supplier.
Incidentally most of the team at our Galway farm are coming to work on bicycles; you can’t get more local than that!
P.S. We are now stocking Irish organic flour- including spelt flour, rye flour and wheat flour! Time to get baking! (any excuse right :) www.greenearthorganics.ie