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.

Smashed Cucumbers

Photo from our farm photographer Simone last week.

Our farm grown cucumbers, fresh out of the warm, sun kissed polytunnels, are mind-blowingly delicious! Nothing like the almost tasteless supermarket ones, these are the real deal. If the kids don’t get to them first as a snack, this is one of my favourite things to do with them. Smashing the cucumber before dressing it really opens it up and makes more craggy surface areas for the dressing to cling to. We often eat this summery side dish with simply boiled rice, some baked or fried tofu and spicy kimchi. 

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 a lime – juiced (or 1 tbsp apple-cider/rice-wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 a garlic clove – crushed or finely grated
  • 1/2 thumb of fresh ginger – finely grated
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds – toasted
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes – optional
  • 2 sliced scallions – optional

Method

  1. Give the cucumber a rinse, then place it on a chopping board and cover it with a clean tea towel to prevent bits of cucumber flying around your kitchen in the next step.
  2. Bash or crush the cucumber with a something heavy or blunt. Rolling or bashing a tin of beans or a wooden rolling pin along its length with a fair bit of weight behind it will crack open the insides beautifully. Or you could press a heavy saucepan over it or whack it gently with a mallet. You don’t want to smash it into mush, rather crack and break it open and lightly crush it so that there are lots of wild, craggy shapes inside.
  3. Remove the tea towel then break and slice the cucumber into bite sized pieces. Place the pieces in a bowl and make the dressing.
  4. Stir together the toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, lime/vinegar, garlic and ginger. 
  5. Pour the dressing evenly over the smashed cucumber, give it a quick stir, then top with toasted sesame seeds, chilli flakes and sliced scallions.
  6. Serve with rice, tofu, kimchi…or as a side to a barbecue!

I used the same dressing to marinade a romanesco cauliflower before roasting it as another side to this meal and it was absolutely delicious! Highly recommend!

Careful What You Wish For

It is ironic, I sometimes think, that the time of the greatest local bounty coincides with the least number of customers.  So, if you can at all do not forget about us, take us with you if you are going on a staycation or better still, let us deliver to you there. Please tell your friends, neighbours and families about us as every extra box helps us survive the summer.

During the height of the stress of the pandemic there was no time, and we were busy to the point of breaking, but now with a little space to think the realisation that we have run a marathon without the training is hitting home.

I have harvested a sum total of about two cucumbers so far this season. Thankfully, the farm team have been doing epic work and that has allowed me to be jumping around between so many different things.

Now we are trying to catch up with the growth. Thinking and putting the structures in place that will allow us to stabilise and grow is more important than ever.  Conscious change is harder than change that is forced upon you, this is thought lead, painstaking change, it requires a great deal of energy and like all change it is hard and takes time. Ultimately though, it is a good thing.

We as a sustainable food producer now have an opportunity to make a big difference in our corner of the world. This opportunity to have a real positive impact on the environment has been handed to us by you. To that end we have an obligation to make it work. 

There is absolutely no question that the easiest route is to leave things as they are and keep doing things the way we always have. But this approach means we are not innovating in how we grow food or in how we get the food to you. Without constant forward motion we cannot hope to compete or survive against the supermarkets and their consistent devaluation of fresh food.

Often the price of growth is having to do things you do not necessarily like or want to do
(at least initially), it can pull you away from what you love and that is a big sacrifice.

I love being out in the fields watching the crops, understanding what is going on and if I am honest, I love driving the tractors (who would not I guess) but recently there has been little time for that. So, is the price of progress worth it?

On the farm it is clear. The price is worth it, and it is seen in better crops, improved biodiversity, more trees and hedgerows and strangely more people.  Because of the innovation we have a better farm and this year we have even more to harvest and some of the best crops ever. Now the time of full harvest is upon us, and we are so busy in the fields.

This week we have had 10 people in the fields. We have been weeding, planting, preparing ground, tying up cucumbers and tomatoes and of course harvesting. It is local people (this year we have loads of local teenagers join the team) harvesting local food. 

As always thank you for your support.

Kenneth