Quick Pickled Romanesco

Romanesco are the most stunning vegetables. Closely related to cauliflower and broccoli they can be used interchangeably in place of them in recipes. We have an incredible crop of them right now, in fact we have too many! The unseasonably warm autumn has meant our brassicas, which we hoped to harvest in the winter, are ready early! Will you help us prevent food waste by ordering an extra Romanesco or two with your next order? Why not steam and freeze some for a rainy day? Did you know that ensuring your freezer is always full makes it run more efficiently and use less electricity? Or another easy way to preserve the harvest is to make this delicious quick pickle.

This beautiful, pine-tree-like vegetable would be perfect on the Christmas table, and although ‘quick pickles’ don’t last as long as the canned variety, it should be fine for Christmas if you make some in the next few weeks. Just keep your jars in the back of the fridge. Delicious with crackers and cheese or on salads or stew, pickles are often that missing tangy ingredient.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 romanesco, cut into small florets & the stem/core thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, peeled & sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tbsp each: black pepper, mustard seeds, ground turmeric (or your choice of pickle spices)
  • 600ml apple cider vinegar
  • 600ml water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp salt

Method

  1. Sterilise enough jars to fit your vegetables. You can do this in a number of ways. I simply wash and rinse them then place them in a clean sink and fill up the jars and lids with freshly boiled water from a kettle. Leave to sit for a minute then carefully tip out the water (use oven gloves or a folded tea towel so you don’t burn your hands) and let the jars air dry.
  2. Divide the garlic and spices between the jars then fill up with the Romanesco and onion slices.
  3. Heat the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a pan until just boiling. Then pour the solution over the vegetables so that they are completely submerged. Make more of the vinegar solution if needed. It all depends on the size of your Romanesco!
  4. Immediately secure the lids on the jars whilst they are still piping hot. Allow to cool on the counter and then place in the fridge. They should be ready to eat in 3 days and will last well for 2 or 3 months.
Add some extra Romanesco to your next order.

Hummus

A lunchbox essential! Spread into a wrap or a sandwich, or packed in a little tub with some sweet, crunchy carrot sticks, everyone loves hummus! Hummus is not only delicious but incredibly nutritious too! Who knew this humble spread contains all of the following:

👉Chickpeas provide fibre, protein and essential, energy-giving carbohydrates.
👉Tahini is rich in healthy fats and minerals including copper, selenium, calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
👉Raw garlic retains more beneficial compounds (like allicin) than cooked garlic.
👉Olive oil is a healthy fat and contains vitamins E and K and is rich in antioxidants.
👉Lemon is a great source of vitamin C.

It’s so easy to make your own hummus from scratch. Especially using our organic tins of cooked chickpeas. We also sell organic tahini, garlic, lemons and olive oil! Add some of our organic pantry essentials to your next veg order here.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • the juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional extras like more olive oil, smoked paprika and sesame seeds to top the hummus

Method

  1. Drain your tin of chickpeas over a bowl to reserve the aquafaba. (You can use some of it in this recipe and the rest to make vegan meringues, mayonnaise or cakes. Use the search bar above to find our aquafaba recipes.)
  2. Put the drained chickpeas into a food processor with the S blade attachment. Add the garlic, salt, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil then pulse into a thick, rough paste.
  3. Taste the paste and decide if you’d like to adjust the seasoning. Perhaps more lemon juice or salt?
  4. Then loosen the paste into a creamy hummus by blending again with a couple of spoons of the reserved aquafaba or a couple of ice cubes. Ice cubes make a really fluffy, creamy hummus.
  5. Spoon into a jar, tub or bowl and either enjoy immediately or refrigerate and eat later. Homemade hummus should be eaten within 3 days.

Kale Crisps

Kale crisps are easy to make and surprisingly delicious. If you’re looking for a healthy, savoury snack, you’ve come to the right place. Kale crisps remind me of crispy seaweed so as well as snacking on them whilst watching a film, I also crumble them over rice or noodle bowls. I’ve seasoned this batch with toasted sesame oil and chilli flakes to enhance that Asian, seaweedy flavour, but you can flavour your crisps exactly how you like them. Some other family favourites: nutritional yeast and garlic/onion powder (cheese & onion), smoked paprika and maple syrup (smokey bacon), or just plain old salt and pepper! Share your favourite flavour combos in the comments.

Kale is a real Irish superfood, full of fibre and vitamins, most notably vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B-6. Kale crisps are a fun way to get all that goodness in.

*All the ingredients pictured below can be added to your organic veg order and delivered to your door. We deliver to every address in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • approx 14 curly kale leaves (any type of kale works)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (or any oil you like)
  • chilli flakes to taste (or other flavours you like, see above for ideas)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Method

  1. Turn the oven on to 150C (130C fan) and find your largest baking trays. Line the trays with baking parchment – we sell a 100% compostable one.
  2. Rinse the kale and dry it thoroughly. I place the rinsed leaves onto a clean tea towel then use a second tea towel to blot the leaves dry.
  3. Tear the kale leaves from their stems and place in a large mixing bowl. Do not throw the stems away, they are delicious finely sliced and sautéed. Use in stir fries or add to risottos or stews…
  4. Add the oil, salt, chilli flakes and sesame seeds to the bowl and mix and massage the seasoning into the leaves. Break up any large pieces as you go.
  5. Spread the leaves out onto the lined baking trays, it’s best if they are in an even layer and not overlapping.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until completely dried out and crispy. You will need to stir them half way through.
  7. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They are prone to loose their crispness so eat the same day or you can try adding a few grains of rice to the bottom of the container to act like silica gel packs in bought kale crisp packets. Just be careful not to eat them accidentally.

Carrot Top Chimichurri

It’s new carrot season and we are really pleased with our crop again this year. They are the sweetest, most fragrant carrots ever! While they are being harvested fresh for the boxes (before we do a big harvest and store them for winter) we hope you really enjoy the greens too! They are perfectly edible and incredibly delicious and nutritious. Think of them like a fibrous herb. They have a strong parsley/carrot flavour and are best whizzed up into a pesto or other green sauce like this chimichurri. Or you can slice them finely and add them to soups or stews. Whatever you do, don’t throw the greens away, you’ll be missing out on some amazing dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The main ingredient for a traditional chimichurri is parsley so carrot tops work really well as a replacement here. Simply whizz the ingredients up together in a food processor, allow the flavours to sit and mingle for a little while and you have a delicious herby drizzle to make your tacos (or barbecue, burritos, roast veg…) pop!

How do you use carrot tops? Liz x


Ingredients

  • Carrot tops (I used tops from 8 carrots)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (or use fresh red chilli to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use about a tsp of each)
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more!)
  • 4 tbsp vinegar (red wine vinegar is traditional but local apple cider vinegar works well for this recipe too)
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Method

  1. Rinse your carrot tops well, then roughly chop them and add them to a food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until they come together into a rough, loose sauce. You may need to stop the machine a few times and scrape down the sides.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You may also need to add more oil or vinegar to loosen the sauce. Blend again briefly to combine.
  4. Spoon the sauce into a small bowl, cover and allow the flavours to mingle and marinade while you prepare the meal you’ll be eating the chimichurri with. We drizzled ours over hard shell tacos this time and they were absolutely delicious! Enjoy.
Carrot top chimichurri, roasted carrots and bean chilli about to be stuffed into tacos!

Roasted Fennel & Tomato Pasta Sauce

One of my go-to weekday dinner solutions, for those hectic days when the juggle between work-life and family-life has left you reeling, is to roast a big tray of vegetables and then while that’s cooking decide what to do with it. I usually turn it into pasta sauce or soup with the help of my handy stick blender and add some extra protein with a drained tin of beans or lentils. There is always the option to stir the roasted veggies through rice or add them to tacos or a make a warm salad by tossing them through a drained tin of cooked pulses (our organic range from Bunalun is so handy). Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more delicious and our farm grown fennel and tomatoes are just *made* for pasta.

Like most of my recipes, this is a flexible affair. Make it smooth or chunky, don’t worry too much about the ratios of the different vegetables. Make do with what you have and if in doubt, add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 2 fennel bulbs (roughly chopped, fronds kept to one side to use fresh as a herb)
  • 250g tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 a bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • optional extra vegetables like courgette, peppers, carrots…(roughly chopped)
  • olive oil for roasting – about 4 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • optional drained tin of green lentils
  • pasta to serve
  • optional chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find your largest oven tray.
  2. Roughly chop all the vegetables and scatter them onto the tray.
  3. Drizzle generously with good olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
  4. Use your hands to mix the vegetables, oil and seasoning well, then pop the tray into the oven to roast the vegetables while you cook some pasta (we stock a range of brilliant organic pastas, including gluten free varieties, which you can add to your veg order).
  5. After 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and starting to caramelise. If you used a smaller tray then it will take longer and you should stir them occasionally to ensure they all catch some direct heat.
  6. Carefully tip and scrape the roasted vegetables into a deep container. I like to use a sauce pot so that I can easily re-heat the sauce if needed. Then using a stick blender, blend the vegetables into a sauce. You can make it perfectly smooth or leave some texture and chunks, however you prefer it is fine! Or add some vegetable stock to loosen the sauce into a soup?
  7. Add the chopped reserved fennel fronds if you like that fresh, aniseed flavour. For extra protein and fibre, add a drained tin of lentils or white beans to the sauce.
  8. Stir through freshly cooked pasta and serve. I always put extra virgin olive oil, flakey salt and chilli flakes on the table too with this dish. Enjoy!

Weed Control & Roundup

Over the last couple of months, I had forgotten how grounding growing food is. On a sunny day or sometimes even better on a wet and windy day walking through the crops, or sampling the fresh harvest, leaves you feelingconnected to the land and alive.  It is easy to forget all of this.  
 
These days it’s very difficult to know how the food we eat is actually produced. How could we be expected to know?  Life is so busy, and supermarkets give us a shiny happy reality that is often disconnected from the real food production processeshidden behind the scenes. 

The end of the growing season is a mad rush it always is and just when you think you are finished you discover you are not. We have finished planting, but the weeds have marched on relentlessly. This warm humid weather is ideal for cropgrowth but also for weed growth. 

This year our work apart from one or two mishaps has kept pace with the weeds. But our approach to weed control is notone of total dominance, quite frequently once you get the crops to a certain size the weeds are no longer a problem. 

In fact, they can provide a basis for a wide variety of life: flowering weeds that bees come to, the lush green undergrowth, a haven for a myriad of tiny creatures that would not be there otherwise. 

Thus, in turn providing food for the birds, and at times, the necessary predators such as ladybirds and hoverflies that feed on aphids. A natural ecosystem living below the giant shading leaves of the broccoli plants or cabbages develop. Each plant brings something different to the fray and generally none are unwelcome.

Now please do not misunderstand me, if we did not take a pragmatic approach to weed control and utilise all the tools at our disposal there would be no crops, no food, and no farm. We have worked extremely hard to ensure the crops are healthy and weed control is part of the process. No, our approach is just different, less harsh and embraces the idea that yes, we can work with these other plants, and they too have a place on our farm. 

Conversely conventional farming relies on the iron fist of chemicals to control weeds, there is no room for negotiation here, the chemicals are designed to disrupt metabolic pathways in plants, they are generally systemic in nature (get absorbed into the plant and reside there after application, all the way up the food chain onto our plates), the weeds are removed, and the residues of the chemicals remain in and on the food. Just look at the side of any road sprayed with roundup, it is ugly and yellow and dead. 
 
Using chemicals to fight nature will never work. In the short term it may give a temporary reprieve from a certain disease or pest, but that pest will come back stronger and more resistant next time. It is in a way a self-perpetuating industry.It is not the way and IT IS CERTAINLY NOT OUR WAY.

Organic agriculture is much more than saying no to the use of chemicals, it represents a holistic approach to working with nature, to our land and to our food. It means no chemicals, but it also means no artificial fertiliser, it means tree planting, it means hedge planting, it means allowing nature its place to thrive while also producing food. It means taking care of the soil and it means producing food that tastes fresh and good and crucially is good for us and for the environment.

Here’s to fresh organic food!

Kenneth

PS: It is a strange time, normality is creeping back into our lives, kids are going back to school as are ours, routines if there are ones will be re-established. It has been a strange year, some things are certainly outside of our control, but we can control what we eat. Keeping good healthy fresh food in our fridge, means we are more likely to use it, and this means we will eat healthier and feel better, as we head into autumnaldays this is one sure positive step we can take.

Bounty of the Land

For the bounty of the land, we need to be thankful. My mam used to insist on us all saying a thank you for the food before we ate any meals, especially the special meals at Christmas and Easter. She had the right idea; to stop and think and appreciate our food is something that we rarely do in these busy times but taking stock can be a very good thing to do. 

Our food decisions have such massive implications for our health and our planet, there probably isn’t anything more fundamental we can do that is within our control than make good food choices. I guess you could argue that “good food choices” are subjective. I would argue that maybe they arenot, we all know the difference between eating processed junkfood and a healthy apple, that is not subjective, but it goes so much further.

The questions around food choices are many. Do we reduce our meat intake, or do we choose not to eat meat at all? Will we choose local or imported? Organic or conventional?Fairtrade or not? I guess at this stage we know a thing or two about food, we have been growing it for 15 years commercially, and this is my grandad’s farm and he also used to grow his vegetables organically.

We choose, plants, organic, sustainable, Fairtrade and local (where possible), we choose life (To paraphrase a very famous film!) 

My take is simple, and it is the cornerstone of our farm and business: do what is right, don’t use chemicals, work with nature, plant trees, keep bees, grow only vegetables, use natural fertiliser and green manures, rest the land and grow and harvest healthy sustainable food.

It is ultimately a no brainer, fresh organic food, is more nutrient dense, is tastier and you only get what you see, no hidden chemicals. People often ask why some conventional vegetables keep for so long? Well, if you take citrus fruit for example, they are coated in a chemical wax to preserve them they can last for ages, you will not find any hidden unseen chemicals in or on our food. 

Right now, we are slap bang in the middle of the best local IRISH harvest season, it is the time of local vegetable plenty.This is the culmination of our year’s work, and we are rolling in produce so much so that we don’t have enough homes for all our broccoli and courgettes. But we have come up with some great ways to move it on and to say thank you too for supporting us, next week all set boxes will get a free extra portion of courgettes, so enjoy!

Right now, we are harvesting: Kale green, Cavelo nero,cabbage, broccoli, Romanesco, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, lettuce, salad, carrots, fennel, beetroot, spinach, radish. We also have IRISH scallions, onions, new potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, leeks, yellow courgettes, it’s a long list. 

My absolute favourite thing to do right now is to go to our polytunnels and pick my own tomatoes for lunch, they taste amazing, they are grown right here in Galway, and you will not get better. They are in all the boxes next week, and a little trick to bring out the flavour is to eat them at room temperature not straight from the fridge.

So yes, we are thankful for the bounty, and we are also thankful for your support to make a real sustainable commercial organic vegetable growing enterprise a reality right here in Sunny Galway.

Kenneth

Have a look at our range here.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutral diesel, I came across this last week while filling up our car, I didn’t know there was such a thing.

We have a diesel car and for now we need diesel so I opted for the ‘carbon neutral’ option. 

3 things struck me. 

1. Initially the idea of offsetting carbon emissions by a multi billion dollar company that makes its money from selling  hydrocarbons struck me as false and green washing. 

2. At the same time,  if there is a way to help reduce the damage being done by burning oil then we absolutely need to have that option right now, but this should not give the oil companies an ‘get out of jail card free’.

3. It was more expensive, did I think twice about paying the extra? No, but that is one of my core principles and by extension one of the cornerstones of our business. 

As we are lucky and privileged to live in the first world are we not obligated to pay our share of the damage done to the climate  inherent in our lifestyle? Can we afford not to? 

Yes of course big business has a long way to go and needs to take action now. We all know we need to stop burning hydrocarbons but that will take a little time. But if these companies know that consumer behaviour is changing it will drive them in a greener direction faster and that is a good thing.

Right now we are using our first electric delivery vehicle for all our deliveries to Limerick and Clare and it is working tremendously well, our plan is to make all our delivery vehicles electric by 2025. 

Growing and selling sustainable  food is our business and it is an expensive business to be in and to do it right. 

We have always been at the forefront of sustainable change and we are taking the next step in that journey by being one of the first food delivery businesses in Ireland making deliveries in electric vans.

I am excited to think that by 2025 all our deliveries will be in 100% electric, zero emission vehicles. The ones in Galway will be powered from the solar panels on our packing shed.

Here’s to a greener delivery system. 

Kenneth

Get your organic, plastic free fruit, veg & groceries delivered to your door www.greenearthorganics.ie

Raw Courgette & Hazelnut Salad

We are in the midst of a classic courgette glut on the farm. Next week we’ll add some free courgettes to all the boxes, we hope you enjoy them. Expect lots of courgette recipes to come your way. We’d love to know your favourite courgette recipes too please! Let us know in the comments or over on our community Facebook group. I’ll start us off with this super simple salad. It’s so easy to make (just a matter of combining raw courgettes with a lemony dressing, then scattering over some toasted hazelnuts) and oh SO delicious! I have this salad often this time of year as a side to pretty much any meal, or it’s brilliant stirred through freshly boiled pasta or bulked out with a drained tin of lentils.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • Courgettes (2 small or 1 large)
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of half a small lemon (have you tried our new season verdelli lemons?)
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful or two of hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan then roughly chopped

Method

  1. Using a potato peeler, slice the courgettes into delicate, thin ribbons. For ease, slice them directly over a serving platter or large salad bowl.
  2. Make the dressing by stirring together the olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the courgette ribbons. You could toss the salad now to evenly coat the ribbons with the dressing, or just leave it drizzly.
  4. Then toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until nicely coloured. Tip them onto a board and carefully chop them up a bit to make them go further through the salad.
  5. Scatter them over the dressed ribbons and finish the salad with a little sprinkle of flakey sea salt. We LOVE Achill Island sea salt for exactly this type of dish.
  6. Enjoy as is as part of a salad buffet or alongside a BBQ. Or make it a light, refreshing meal by tossing through some freshly boiled pasta or a drained tin of cooked green lentils.

Thank You!

Thank you to so many who have responded to our plea last week.

The level of generosity from all of you has blown us away.  Our farm is in full harvest mode now and we are bringing in so much produce daily that our stores are full.

Not only that, but we are supporting several other local organic farms to fill your boxes. Your support has meant everything to us and to them.

Every year we see a large drop in orders when we are at our most productive on the farm and this year has been the biggest drop off ever. This is quite understandable, as we all need a break and a holiday. 

July is the month of local IRISH plenty and your support every week keeps our business afloat, we rely on it, the supermarkets won’t miss you, but we will!

If you can at all continue to support us through the summer, it makes all the difference and it helps us ensure all our harvest we have been working towards for the last six months gets a home.

The last 16 months here on the farm have been a never-endingrollercoaster and so difficult one week to the next to predict what is around the corner. I know many small businesses up and down the country have gone through a very rough time and we are grateful to still be here and open and have thesupport of you our customers. 

But it is in times like these that we especially need to know why we are doing what we are doing. The irony of course is at these very moments we lose focus and just holding it together is all we can do. At the same time, it can be this singular dedication to a cause greater than ourselves that keeps us going. Whether that is putting food on the table for our families, or beating an illness, or keeping a farm and business together when at times it seems close to unravelling.

The little idea that a small farm here in the West coast of Ireland could help fix this planet, help fix our food system was our “WHY”. This of course is a huge ask, an insurmountable mountain it would seem. But there is change everywhere, more and more organic growers, more and more people eating mostly plant-based foods, more and more sustainable locally focused consumers. In my view this is one solution to the greater climate crisis.

The ethos of our business: Zero waste/plastic free, carbon neutrality (solar panels cover our packing shed and our first 100% electric van is now on the road),our sustainable farming practices, the support and commitment to other organic local growers (And not just greenwash as with the supermarkets) and supplying fresh healthy organic food remains the core of our business .  

Our founding principles will never change, and I think more than ever this is the path we as society need to thread.

Thank you for your support

Kenneth.