“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago the next best time is now”
I realised it was 2004 when we planted our first trees, three thousand in total in that year. Those trees are now not too far off the 20-year mark. This realisation was scary, time flies.
I have been thinking about trees over the past few days. We promised that we would plant a tree for every Christmas box ordered.
In total we had 700 Christmas boxes out of about 1500 orders, and we aim to plant over 1000 trees as a result.
In trying to figure out the best trees to plant, we decided we wanted something native, that supports biodiversity but does not block out too much light as we will have to plant crops close to these trees, and we settled predominately on the hawthorn.
It is such a wonderful native Irish tree, its colours through the year are magnificent from the amazing white blossom in May to the beautiful red of the leaves in autumn. The hawthorns as also a haven for biodiversity. We will plant 1000 hawthorn interspersed with oak, mountain ash, birch and Scots pine.
Hawthorn is also considered a magical tree and forms a significant part of our rural heritage here in Ireland, being heavily associated with Faery rings.
In choosing the hawthorn we wanted to re-establish a natural hedge along our boundary walls to replace fifty fully grown hawthorn threes that were cut down by one of our neighbours some years back. These trees could have been over 100 years old; I was saddened and angry by this but unfortunately cutting trees and clearing ground is a story that plays out up and down our country.
Trees are amazing plants, not only do they provide nearly all the oxygen we breath, under the ground they form a symbiotic relationship with a vast network of fungi called mycelium. The tree provides the fungi with food and the fungi provide the tree with nutrients. This relationship demonstrates the interconnectivity of all living things. It is in short, a miracle of nature.
It is a missed opportunity that the powers that be, the system, the rules and regulations do not put tree planting at the very heart of land management. It seems like such a simple step, one that costs very little, takes very little energy, and yields for generations to come.
If we focused a small amount of the investment allocated to such technological advances as carbon capture to planting trees, taking care of our soil and protecting some of the ancient forests left on our planet then we would have a chance at reversing the damage mankind has done to our only home.
Our 5th Pledge for the Planet is to take another step towards being a carbon neutral business, but we plant these trees primarily because we can and because it is the right thing to do.
We will plant 1000 trees in the next month or so and you can join us on Instagram stories to follow our progress.
It is only through your support that we can do things like this, you make this tree planting possible.
Food waste is a huge environmental problem all year round, but over Christmas, it seems we throw out about 30% more than usual. According to Stop Food Waste, here in Ireland we generate at least 1.27 million tonnes of food waste each year! Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Growing, processing, and transporting food uses significant resources. And so if food is wasted, then of course these resources are wasted too.
Globally, around 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to grown food which is then wasted. That’s a lot of land that could be returned to the wild. While some food waste is anaerobically digested to make biogas, composted, or rendered for animal food, a lot of the food waste produced is still going to landfill where it doesn’t just harmlessly break down, but it emits methane, a gas 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. According to Project Drawdown, an international group of experts, reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective action we can take to reverse climate change.
Home composting is a great solution if you have the space, but you should only compost uncooked vegetables (known as green matter) along with brown matter like tea leaves, coffee grounds, shredded card/paper, tree leaves etc – successful compost has a balance of brown and green matter and is incredibly beneficial to your soil health. Cooked food waste should not go into your home compost as typical home composters don’t get hot enough to safely break down the food and it also attracts rodents. Put your cooked food waste in a council provided food waste bin where it will be taken to a commercial compost site to be anaerobically digested. Or better yet, don’t waste the food at all! Try to use up your cooked food waste in inventive dishes and show your leftovers some love!
Here are a couple of recipes to get you started. Please ask questions and share your favourite Christmas leftover meal ideas in the comments too and have a waste-free feast! Let me know if you made these leftover-loving meals and tag us on Instagram or share your meal on our Facebook page. We love to see what you are cooking! Liz x
A farinata is a bit like a frittata but made with chickpea flour batter instead of eggs. Simply whisk together one part chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) with one part warm water (I like to thin it out with an extra splash of water too), season the batter really well with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Then let it rest while you pre-heat the oven and prepare a roasting dish with your leftover Christmas vegetables.
Put a little olive oil into the base of the dish, then chop up whatever leftover veg you have from your roast. Potatoes, parsnips, beetroot, red cabbage, squash, sprouts… pop them into the roasting dish then pour over the chickpea flour batter.
Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the farinata and crack over some black pepper. You could also add some crumbled tofeta (I used the leftover bit from making my cranberry and tofeta cigars) or other odds and ends of Christmas cheeses. Then put the dish into a hot oven (200C) and bake it until the batter is set. The time depends on how big or deep your dish is, just keep an eye on it. It’s done when it’s golden brown on top and with minimal wobble.
Allow it to settle for a few minutes out of the oven and then ease it away from the sides of the dish with a palette knife or spatula. Slice it into portions and eat it hot or cold with salads, ferments, dips and chutneys or sauces to your liking. Enjoy!
Swedish-style Stuffing Balls
Leftover stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce? Make my Swedish style meatballs dish, it’s delicious. Swedish meatballs are typically served with boiled or mashed potatoes, a rich, creamy gravy, lingonberry jam (cranberry sauce is a brilliant substitute) and steamed greens. It’s a hearty and satisfying winter dish so I tend to make this rather than Italian style meatballs with leftover stuffing from our Sunday Roasts, or in this case Christmas Dinner, in winter.
Get some potatoes on to boil for mash and some greens ready for steaming or wilting.
Then simply squish your stuffing together into little balls (if it’s gone dry add a splash of stock, if it’s too wet add some oats or breadcrumbs) and fry them in a large pan with some melted butter and olive oil. Turn them regularly with tongs to get them browning on all sides.
Keep the stuffing balls warm in a dish in the oven while you finish making the mashed potatoes, steam some greens and heat up and enrich your leftover gravy.
Heat up your leftover gravy with a splash of water, then when it’s nice and hot enrich it with a generous splash of oat/soy cream. Gently bring it back up to heat, but don’t let it boil. Then taste it for seasoning and adjust it if needed with more salt/pepper.
Serve the stuffing balls with mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, steamed greens and a big dollop of cranberry sauce on the side.
I think it’s safe to say that this Christmas we are all in need of a little extra cheer. So we have put together some really lovely gift ideas for you and hope to take a little of the stress out of your Christmas shopping.
Buy yourself a treat or get us to deliver a box of goodness to a loved one. We deliver nation wide. You could even get us to deliver to wherever you’ll be over the holidays. Get preordering now here and do bear in mind that, as Christmas day falls on a Friday this year, there will be some changes to your usual delivery days – so please get organised for that now. We would hate to disappoint any of our wonderful customers so please do get in touch with any amendments, delivery address changes, add-ons and more sooner rather than later.
As well as beautiful boxes of festive fruit and vegetables which, if you preorder, will arrive on the week of the 21st December, you can also order a carefully curated hamper from us. We have put together a few selections to suit you. And as an added bonus, all our hampers come in one of our beautiful tote bags. How about this popular chocolate and wine hamper?
Or a vegan hamper filled with our favourite plant based products? That fermented cashew-cheese has to be tasted to be believed!
For the localvore in your life we have an Irish hamper. That Achill Island sea salt is award winning, flakey perfection and we love that it comes in a cute glass jar! So may ways to re-use it.
Are you after some special pantry products for the discerning foodie in your life? Try our pantry eco hamper. The Olvia Greek olive oil is so delicious and goes perfectly with the balsamic vinegar for a simple-but-sophisticated salad dressing.
And there are many more easy options on our X-mas tab. We also offer gift vouchers if you would like to introduce someone to us or to pay for their next delivery.
From all of us here at Green Earth Organics, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to us.
We (Jenny & Kenneth Keavey) started Green Earth Organics box delivery scheme in 2006. Our organic farm is situated 8 miles from Galway City. Originally the land was my grand-father’s and then my father’s and finally I took over the farm 14 years ago. I put the farm into conversion for organic status in 2004.
Currently we are farming on 40 acres of organically certified land. Another 10 acres is split between, a wild life biodiversity area, native woodland forestry (3000 trees) and red clover/grassland.
If you would like to visit our Farm Shop you can find directions to the farm here. Or you can simply order online direct from us.
We deliver to every county in Ireland –click here for more details about the ordering deadline and delivery days.
Our aim at Green Earth Organics is to minimize the impact of our farm on the environment. We do this by growing our produce in an organic and sustainable way, by generating our own electricity using solar panels, and by harvesting the West of Ireland rainwater to wash the freshly picked veg and to water the plants in our tunnels. As a business, we are striving to be carbon neutral and we’re actively looking for ways to reduce and eliminate the plastic packaging in our boxes.
All our boxes are PLASTIC FREE, we use plant based bags for salads and greens, but the original box is still available. We have a special ‘Zero Plastic‘ Veg box which you can order here. All other fresh produce is packed either loose or in brown paper bags which we take back and re-use every week. We also have a box that contains 100% Irish Veg which you can order here. Thank you for your support – we really appreciate it.
Currently there are 35 employees in total – across the farm, packing team and the admin staff in both Galway and Dublin. We also take on students and interns and employ seasonal workers at certain times of the year.
We have 6 polytunnels and grow a wide range of crops both indoors and in the field. Over the course of a year a typical seasonal box will contain 80% local organic produce. We buy produce from other Irish suppliers, and we also import organically certified veg and fruit in order to be able to offer a full selection of produce year round.
At Green Earth Organics we care deeply about the environment, and believe that people should be able to choose foods that are grown as nature intended, taste fantastic, and add to their wellbeing. We aim to have sustainability and health in the centre of all business decisions we take.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
At the fork, which path will you take?
I remember as a child picking peas in my Grandad’s garden. He had apple trees, he grew his own veg. I remember sitting on his lap drinking a mug of turnip juice, (I cannot imagine trying to get my kids to do that today!) most of the food was grown on his farm. Things have changed so much in a generation…
When was the last time you tasted a freshly harvested carrot, can you remember what it should taste like? There can be such pleasure in the simple foods, and there are of course remarkable ways to cook these amazing seasonal gems.
November is still a month of local seasonal plenty. It is now that the real Irish vegetables come into their own, leeks, parsnips, swedes, kales, winter cabbage, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, romanesco and cauliflower.
As an organic farmer, the arrival of November allows a sigh of relief. The relentless pressure of the summer is finally winding down and we are settling into a routine of harvest.
The trees are turning, the wild-flowers have gone to seed, the hedgerows are full of berries, the bees are getting ready to hibernate, even the birds are relaxing a little, everything seems to slow down. Something we could all do a little bit more of.
November too can be a time for reflection. As a farmer the simple things like tree planting, growing hedgerows and leaving wild patches can give immense pleasure. This is easy stuff that pays the most amazing dividends for the person and the planet, but in modern food systems it is often dismissed as nonsensical and left to one side in favour of production. The irony of course is that food production is facilitated and improved by all these positive things.
The impact of our food choices has far reaching and sometimes unimagined consequences.
Imagine clearance of pristine forests (by burning) to facilitate increased cropping land to produce GM (genetically modified) soya destined for the global animal feed supply chain that will end up on Irish consumers plates. This is a sad reflection of our times.
Cheap food has a price and a story. The real stories are hidden behind the glitzy shiny wrappers, there is always a story and usually not a good one.
The truth ironically can be hard to swallow, but it doesn’t have to be like this.
There are amazing and positive alternatives. Our parents chose well, they ate seasonally and locally, they ate less meat. Who doesn’t remember cabbage and turnip and the endless ways to cook potatoes!
Maybe what we eat deserves a little more consideration because our food choices matter a lot and without the planet and the food none of the other stuff matters.
We have more power than we realise, which path will you choose?
As always thanks for your support, we really appreciate it. Stay safe and look after each other.
Kenneth & Jenny
PS We cannot wait to tell you all about our Christmas delivery schedule and our new gifting options – stay tuned!
Support us by signing up for a regular veg box delivery here.
Here at Green Earth Organics we really care. We care about our impact and how we tread on this planet and we want to make it official. Being open and honest about the way we do business is important to us, so here are our 5 Pledges for the Planet. We will be doing a deep dive into each pledge soon so watch out for blogs on those coming soon.
Kenneth has asked me to share my recipes, illustrations and writing on Green Earth Organics brand new blog and I am thrilled and honoured to be trusted with this task. I am new to this beautiful part of the world so I thought I should introduce myself. I’ll be adding more bios to this section of the blog soon so keep an eye out for those, but someone has to go first.
My name is Liz Child and I am a chef, illustrator, writer and a wannabe food forest farmer. I grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK with my family in ‘99 when I was 14. At 22, after completing my degree in Fine Art, I started a vegetarian cafe in Canterbury called The Veg Box Cafe with my husband Adam. We had a bit of a rollercoaster of a time during our 12 years of running the cafe, as is the way in the food industry, but we stuck with it and learned so much along the way. We sold the business in March 2020 so I could focus on my writing and illustrating and to follow our dream of moving to Ireland to start a mini food forest. The dream is to have a go at living as low impact a life as possible. As I write this we are still in the very early stages of trying to make that happen so watch this space to see how it unfolds.
I also wrote, illustrated and self published a cookbook last year based on the 12 years of honing my own brand of relaxed, instinctive cooking at the cafe. The book focuses on celebrating seasonal vegetables and is packed full of easy ways to make vibrant, wholesome meals from humble ingredients. It is a unique book, full of hand drawn recipes and is such a useful accompaniment to a veg box delivery scheme. You can add a copy to your delivery here if you like. I’ll be sharing recipes from the book as well as lots of new ones here on the recipe section of the blog too so look out for those. I’m particularly obsessed with fermenting every vegetable under the sun, so expect lots of funky ideas on how to make the most out of your brilliant veg boxes from Green Earth Organics.
At present I live in County Galway with my husband, 2 children and our scruffy spaniel, Rey. I split my time between looking after the kids, recipe development, flogging my cookbook, illustration jobs and managing the blog, and I try get away from the desk to get outside as much as possible. In my spare time I love walking, foraging and planting and dreaming about our future food forest retreat. You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook @cook.draw.feed for a behind the scenes view of the freelance cheffing/illustrating/writing/parenting mayhem that is my life.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Over to you. Tell me about yourself in the comments. What are your dreams? What kind of recipes would you like me to work on for you? Are there particular ingredients you feel stumped with?
“When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!”
There’s no denying how quick and convenient it is to do your gift buying on Amazon. Getting everything and anything you can think of sent to your door at the click of a button is incredibly convenient. But I think we can all agree that lining the pockets of billionaires is killing small businesses and stealing the soul from our communities. As well as giving our local economy a well needed boost, when we shop local we are generally supporting people who actually care. Small business owners are passionate people. Unlike in huge corporations, small businesses owners care about providing you with really brilliant things, they care about their staff and they care about the environment. They also pay their taxes properly, which benefits everyone!
Of course Amazon isn’t the only problem, just the best example of the type of business we need to avoid. There are countless big clothes shops, electronics shops, toy shops and cosmetic shops, all trying to get our attention with the cheapest, most convenient, shiny new thing. I love that saying, that every cent spent is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. As people aiming to be ethical consumers, we look at all the issues surrounding our purchasing. We no longer simply ask ourselves, ‘what do I want and how much does it cost’, but, ‘Where does it come from? Who made it? How was it made? How were they paid? What materials were used? Where did they come from? How long will it last? What will happen when it breaks or wears out? Where will it end up? Why do I want this?’ and perhaps most importantly, ‘Do I actually need this?’
I’m new to this beautiful part of the world, and moving here during a pandemic has meant we can’t go to lovely markets and fairs and meet local makers and growers in the way we would like to. So I’ve been researching some alternative, online, local options for the festive season and put together this little gift guide that I’d love to share with you. I would also love to know your recommendations too please. Let me know in the comments about your best ethical finds online, your local artist or crafts person, your favourite gift you’ve received or given. If you’re reading this on Facebook or Instagram then please also tag them in the comments so we can all support small, ethical, local people and businesses who care.
Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop Sustainable, Shop Secondhand and share the love by tagging brilliant gift givers and small businesses in the comments section!
Happy gift giving! Liz
Well this time of year is all about them isn’t it? Have a look at Lottie Dolls for a diverse range of Irish made, inspiring dolls based on real children. Their key brand drivers are diversity and inclusion, body image, childhood, STEM education, sustainability and empowerment.
Or for a wider range of children toys, try Jiminy. This is a brilliantly curated Irish online shop for eco toys. They are also offering a gift wrapping service with a handwritten note so you can send something a bit more personal to a special someone who you may not get to see this festive season. The ‘gift wrapping with a note’ service is doubly great because it saves the item being posted twice which cuts down on transport emissions.
For the Zero Waste Hero
Although we have a good range of essential low impact products in our shop that are very convenient to add to your weekly veg delivery as and when you need them (see here and here), head to Reuzi for a large range of all things reusable, zero waste and plastic free. It’s a one stop shop for sustainable living. From silicone freezer bags to shampoo bars for dogs, this shop has everything you need to live a zero waste life, stylishly. There are loads of luxury items and gift ideas as well as all the staples.
If you’re looking for something luxurious for the ethical beauty in your life try White Witch. Their organic, vegan, plastic free luxury beauty products are handmade in small batches in the west of Ireland. Have a look at their carefully chosen ingredients, beautifully designed packaging and skilfully made products on their website. I love that they also do refills through the post to further save on the environmental (and financial) cost of packaging.
Second Hand is Sustainable
As ethical consumers we can no longer look down on secondhand. If we are not filling up our landfills we are shipping our recycling across the planet and have no idea what happens to it once it reaches its destination. Buying secondhand is probably the most sustainable way of shopping for what you need. And not only is it cheaper for you and kinder for the planet, it’s fun!
Check your favourite charity shop. Many of them have moved online and set up an eBay account to get through this lockdown. Why not see if they have that winter coat or wooly hat you were needing before buying new?
For the Book Worm
For a huge selection of secondhand books at really good prices tryThe Book Shop.
For a mix of secondhand and new books try Galway’s favourite bookshop, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. When lockdown is over, this quirky shop is well worth a visit too.
For the Fashionable
For secondhand fashion try Thriftify (which is not just secondhand clothes but also books, dvds, cds, pc and video games and more). Snag yourself a bargain and help keep clothes out of the landfills. This site is easy to navigate and has really helpful search options.
For the Gadget Geek
For secondhand Electronics head to CEX where you’ll find everything from phones, games and consoles to tablets, laptops, DVDs and more. Not only are secondhand electronics much kinder on your wallet, but keeping electronics out of landfill is vital to stop harmful chemicals seeping into the environment. Millions of phones, computers, printers, routers, modems and other electronic equipment get thrown away every year. By buying secondhand, you are not putting a new device into circulation. Think of all the energy and raw materials that go into creating each new device. The more you can use secondhand, the better.
For the Foodie
Look no further than us at Green Earth Organics for your foodie friends and family. We have all the raw ingredients in our veg boxes that the foodie in your life could possibly need to create brilliant meals, plus some treats to keep the chef happy, and we deliver all over Ireland! Why not introduce them to us with a gift voucher or a veg box? How about buying them a fruit and veg delivery with some extra treats – our carefully curated range of teas or coffee and some organic chocolate or biscuits? A really great bottle of wine and some olives, crackers and cheeses – including these amazing vegan cheeses? Check out our new X-mas shop where we’ve put together some brilliant hampers.
My recipe book ‘Cook Draw Feed’ has been added to the shop at Green Earth Organics. An illustrated, plant based cookbook with over 100 inspiring recipes from my 12 years of running a veggie cafe. It’s a unique, hand drawn recipe book which makes a lovely, useful gift. I think it goes perfectly with a box of veg from the farm! I’ll be posting weekly recipes here on the blog so look out for those too.
There are too many brilliant local artists to list here but may we suggest you have a look at our very own Jenny Keavey’s incredible artwork? Her online shop, Into The Woods has a gorgeous collection of fabric and thread wild animal portraits, landscapes and floral hoops which would be gorgeous adorning your walls all year round. She also has a really beautiful collection of Christmas cards which we have added to the Green Earth Organics shop here.