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It has been a challenging week for a small business reliant on growing, harvesting, importing and delivering food. The big supermarkets have deep pockets, small local businesses not so much. This break in operations takes its toll fast. Closing the business when Storm Emma hit and putting the deliveries on hold - was not a decision taken lightly. In Galway we managed with just one day of closure in Dublin we had to push out deliveries by another couple of days and will be back delivering on Monday to clear the back log. This very serious but temporary disruption to the country highlighted how reliant we are on imported food. When the boats and trucks stop rolling it means major food shortages.
About 10 days ago we started planning the boxes for the coming week. At this time of year we rely on some bought in produce from other countries to give a bit of colour and variation to keep the boxes interesting.
We have had many discussions here on the farm about eating seasonally and no doubt it is the right thing to do, but the reality of sticking to seasonal produce during the winter months can be a different story.
For the week ahead we had to do some quick thinking and reshuffling to keep the boxes full. Luckily we have access to produce that has no further to travel to our packing shed than a few hundred meters. So out with the broccoli and in with the freshly harvested farm spinach. We cleared our swedes from the fields last week, so in they went. Having depleted our own beetroot quite a while ago, we were lucky to have had a delivery of some very nice fresh Irish organic beetroot just last week, in it went. We have the lovely Irish Setanta potatoes in our cold room and as always in they went. We were still short so out we went to the fields again, we will start back harvesting our own leeks again next week, up to now we have had an excellent supply of Irish organic leeks while our own came on. The savoy cabbage needs to be cleared anyway so back out we went and in came the cabbage. The Irish organic chestnut mushrooms that we get from Mongahan every week are amazing to taste, and luckily we had them in before all deliveries stopped so in they will be going. We were scraping the bottom of the proverbial Irish barrel at this stage, but there was a corner of one of our tunnels that yielded a nice few crates of fresh winter salad on Saturday and more tomorrow. The dirty parsnips that we cleared last week are also making an appearance this week. We can't do this every week or you would all get a bit fed up with the boxes, but it demonstrate that when we have to, we can still keep the ball rolling with mostly our own and Irish produce.
These last few days have taken their toll in every way. Both mentally and financially and the stress of running a small local business can be a high price to pay.
We are lucky to have a fantastic team of people working in our business and farm. In fact I would say it is the best team in the business, the best people, doing the best they can possibly do. Especially, thanks to all our drivers who have done an amazing job over the past few days considering the conditions and they have done it with a smile and a flourish!
So thank you for local Irish organic produce, thanks for the very best people, and thanks for Mother Nature shooting a shot across our bow, reminding us that we all need to wake up and take some very swift action.
Finally THANK YOU for your patience and for supporting us last week – we really appreciate it!
Here's to the start of spring and a new planting season.
Kenneth & Jenny
PS We have been doing our very best to get deliveries out to you, but there is still a backlog in Dublin that will be going out Monday and Tuesday, again thank you for your patience.