Rekindling our Connection with Food

Bees and other pollinators enjoying the kale we leave to flower each year

The art of producing food is marvellous and tough, and on sunny days it is a privilege.

We talk about food all the time here, we grow it, we sow the seeds, we watch the plants grow, we fertilise the soil, we control the weeds and hope we have the right mix to ensure the plants grow healthy and pest free.

We spend the time in between managing the crops, maintaining the land, planting trees, growing hedging, sowing wildflowers for the bees, harnessing the power of the sun, these are all things we do.

We see first-hand the connection between the fresh produce and the cooked food on our plate. We can see how the process of growing healthy food from healthy soil creates local employment and impacts on our locality positively. Sustainable agriculture is good for all and it benefits the environment immeasurably.

Natures’ pest control – a healthy balance on predators and prey naturally occurs on organic farms

We see more bees, and flies, and insects on our farm and we feel there is a balance as we rarely see an out-of-control pest issue. We see more birds, and wild life, we see the land thrive, just this week I saw a giant hare saunter past one of our polytunnels.

Not only that, but organic food is so much better for us, of course it hasn’t been sprayed and so is free of harmful chemicals, but it is also just better nutritionally.

Weed burning rather than spraying chemicals before we plant out this years’ crops

A comprehensive study carried out by David Thomas has demonstrated a remarkable decrease in mineral content in fresh produce over 50 years, comparing food grown in 1941 to food grown in 1991. To the extent that today you would need to eat 6 apples to get the same nutritional value you got in 1941 from eating 5 apples. In some cases mineral levels have dropped by as much as 70%.  

The use of highly soluble fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and the intensive production of food has led to land that is lifeless and food that is less healthy and less nutritionally dense, this reflects the remarkable connection between our food and the health of our soil. 

There is no way we could know this, as a population we are in danger of losing our connection with the land and our food. This is not our fault, the food system that is championed by supermarkets and giant food producers has made it this way. 

Imagine though if we could see the impact of our positive choices, if we could somehow rekindle that connection with our food? Over the past year it seems we have been remaking that connection.

We are reconnecting with our food by cooking and touching and smelling and seeing how our food is grown. We are redeveloping that connection with nature and this is something we can pass onto our children, we can show them that there is a great, fun and fantastically positive way to live and eat. Although from what I have seen recently it is the children who are teaching us!

Kenneth

Raw Coffee & Walnut Cake

This gorgeous raw cake is rich and fudgy and packed full of great ingredients. My simple, wholesome recipe uses just nuts, dates, coffee and a little coconut oil and maple syrup. You need quite a lot of nuts so I recommend buying them in our compostable bulk bags. Have a look at the organic bulk range here.

You need a food processor or blender to make this recipe and a deep baking dish. I use a 19 x 24cm dish but any medium baking dish will do. Let’s get started! Liz x

Ingredients (makes 16 or more slices)

  • 1 mug walnuts (plus extra for decorating)
  • 2 mugs pitted dates (chopped into smaller pieces with scissors)
  • 4 mugs almonds
  • 2 mugs cashews
  • 1 mug espresso strength coffee
  • 2/3 mug maple syrup
  • 1/2 mug melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder for dusting
  • 1 pinch salt
Watch the method. The cookbook can be added to your Green Earth Organics order here.

Method

Line a baking dish with baking parchment leaving a little overhang to make it easier to extract the cake once it is set.

Like many of my recipes, I use mug measurements for this. Just a regular, smallish coffee/tea mug, not a massive one. It doesn’t really matter what size you use though as it’s all about the ratios here. Just use the same mug for all the measurements and it’ll be fine.

Start by soaking the two mugs of cashews in water. This will make them softer and easier to blend into a smooth cream for the topping later. Then get on with making the base.

Measure the walnuts, dates and almonds into a food processor with a pinch of salt. Pulse them together into a crumbly, sticky mixture. If you only have a small food processor or a blender you may find it easier to measure the walnuts, dates and almonds into a large bowl, mix it up and then pulse the ingredients in smaller batches.

Once you have a nice sticky, crumbly mixture, pour in about 2/3 of a mug of espresso strength coffee and give the mixture a stir. Then pack it into your lined baking dish, spreading it firmly and evenly into a neat layer.

Then make the creamy topping. Drain the cashews and pop them in the blender with 1/3 mug of espresso strength coffee, 1/2 mug of melted coconut oil (you could sub this with melted cacao butter or a flavourless coconut oil if you don’t like coconut) and 2/3 mug maple syrup (or maple syrup to taste). Blend the mixture until perfectly smooth and creamy.

Pour the coffee cream over the base and level it out with a spatular. Then pop the dish in the fridge to set overnight, or in the freezer for an hour or two to set faster.

Once it’s set, pull the cake out onto a chopping board and dust it with cocoa/cacao powder. Slice it into bars or squares – it’s quite a rich cake so smaller slices are better. Decorate each slice with walnut halves or pieces and enjoy!

Store the cake in the fridge (like cheesecakes, it can get a little melty at room temperature) and enjoy within a week. Or store it in the freezer for much longer and take pieces out to defrost as and when you need them.

Sustainable Growth

During the week I had a very big decision to make and as with all big decisions it is never black and white. It may seem as you look in from the outside that it is, but rarely when looking in from the outside does one see the whole picture. But having a vision and idea of what is important can help make those decisions a little easier. 

We have spent 15 years this May creating a business from nothing. The team and the people who have come and gone over the years have worked hard, and there is no question in my mind that Green Earth Organics would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for these people, the long hours and hard work.

The farm and business have grown a lot over the last 15 years, and we are proud to say that a culture of empathy and respect has also grown. There will always be times when we do not get it right (and no doubt there has been plenty of them, more often than not some would say), but the intention of the business is genuine and pointing in the right direction.

The idea of environmental preservation and respect for our fellow human being has always been right at the heart of what matters here. This can sometimes get stretched when you are faced with the harsh financial pressure of the world of business, and it is true that out in this world the bottom line is all that counts. 

We would be forgiven then for thinking that profit and the bottom line is all that matters. But we would be wrong because therein lies the seeds of greed. It is this thinking that has landed the planet in the precarious situation it is currently in.   

And yet, it would be extremely naive to think that profit does not matter and that it is all about picking wild-flowers and lying in the long grass. Simply put, without a healthy, profitable business our little community would not exist.

I know, as does anybody who has ran a business (or a household for that matter), that there is constant pressure to succeed and deliver and that at times there can be intense financial pressure. But there can also be times of remarkable reward in feeling satisfied of a job well done or having done your best despite the odds.

Green Earth Organics was born out of the need to do right in the world and love for the land and our vision is pretty simple:

“Using food as a force for positive change by putting the well-being of our environment at the centre of every decision we make.  We believe that producing food with respect for nature and for the multitude of creatures we share this planet with is the only way to farm. We believe that we can do this by providing an alternative to the mainstream, by growing and providing healthy sustainable food, by conducting our business in an ethical and sustainable way, with respect for all at its heart.”

We could not do any of this if it were not for your support.

Thank you!

Kenneth

PS We have some amazing, exciting changes to tell you about.  We have listened to what you said and have reduced our minimum spend to €30, we have also added FREE delivery for all orders over €100 always – so stock up on your organic groceries with us and get everything you need delivered to your door in one, efficient delivery. Finally, you will see our website has changed and now you can create a regular repeat order and never forget to order again!