These simple seeds are so savoury, crunchy and moreish! The perfect salad or soup sprinkle. Here’s a quick video tutorial to show you the easy method. Otherwise read on below. You can buy organic seeds and soy sauce (or gluten free tamari) from our website along with the best organic fruit and veg. We deliver to every address in Ireland.
seeds of your choice (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame or a mix)
soy sauce (or tarmari if you are avoiding gluten)
Measure out your seeds into the jar you’d like to store them in. Make sure you leave some space in the jar though as they will expand as they are toasted.
Tip the seeds into a dry frying pan on a high heat. Keep them moving with a wooden spoon and toast them until they are taking on some colour, starting to crackle and pop and smell incredible!
Once they are toasted well, add a splash of soy sauce and quickly stir to coat all the seeds in the salty seasoning.
Take the pan off the heat and let the seeds completely cool down before returning them to the jar and securing the lid.
They should stay fresh for at least a month in the jar. Sprinkle them on salads and soups or eat them as a snack. Enjoy!
People often ask, why do you produce your own food? Why do you grow it when it is so much cheaper to import it? It is a very easy answer, and the reasons are twofold: I love what I do, it is in my blood (we are third generation farmers) and I would not do anything else.
Secondly because it simply is the right thing to do. Having food grown locally makes sense, it cuts down on carbon emissions, it is fresher, it provides local employment, it improves biodiversity, and we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it. We need more people to do it.
With Earth Week starting today and Earth Day falling on the 22nd, it is a good time to reflect on our habits. We have seen such a shift to supporting local food over the last 12 months and this is one of the most wonderful changes we as individuals and families can make. It’s impact on the planet cannot be overstated, understanding where and how our food is produced can help us make better decisions and lead to a cleaner healthier planet.
Today as I write this, after a day in the fields, I feel lucky to be a farmer. Days do not come much better than this, the sky is blue, the sun is shining the birds are singing and we are on schedule with our planting. In the West of Ireland days like today are to be relished and enjoyed, and there is the added bonus that our office is a 5-acre field, I like that.
If there was one small thorn in my side, it is the planting machine. It is temperamental old and cranky and every year there is a requirement to find mutual common ground between (sometimes also cranky) farmer and machine, this year that ground has been hard to find and has led to a few choice expletives.
Nevertheless, if farming has thought me anything and it teaches a lot, is that perseverance with an air of optimism generally gets you through.
It is funny to think that just this week we finished harvesting the last of our kale which was planted nine months ago and today we planted the very first kale for the new year. This kale will take at least 8 weeks to reach harvestable maturity. We have also been very busy planting cabbage, Romanesco, broccoli, lettuce, and celery.
Myself being the impatient individual that I am can sometimes expect that we should have more IRISH food at this time of the year especially when the sun shines. But nature and farming do not work like that, and right now we are slap bang in the middle of what we call the “Hungry Gap”. There is a lull in IRISH food supply, of course that does not mean it is not available, it is, and we have loads, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, salad, radish, and parsnips. But for the next few weeks it gets difficult.
Every year we get a little bit earlier and a little bit smarter with our planting and this year is the earliest yet, but even so, there are weeks starting now when supply is tight. Take tomatoes for example, we have our plants ready for transplanting, but harvest is at least 8 weeks away.
Right now, on our 40-acre organic farm there is a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes. For the last 2 months we have been busy ploughing, tilling, fertilising, planting, covering, uncovering, watering and sowing. All of this to lead to a rich harvest of local organic food in the weeks ahead, but it takes time, and it does not matter how impatient I am, nature cannot be sped up, it travels at its own pace.
So, although we are heading into the hungry gap now, be reassured that you are supporting a truly local food growing effort both here on our farm and through all the other amazing IRISH organic farms and producers across the country that we support. Remember in the famous words of Margaret Meade “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
As always, thank you for your patience and perseverance!
PS Don’t forget to do a little something for Earth Week, whether it is supporting more local food producers, or learning more about how your food is produced, driving less, turning off lights or eating less meat, what can you do? Just raising our awareness is a powerful tool in the fight for our planet.
We all have those days when we really really can’t be bothered to cook. Ordering a takeaway is such a nice treat, but it can take forever to arrive and be quite pricey. So on those days where you have no energy and your family is hangry, there’s always our ready made organic sauces for a bit of a shortcut. Look out for my ‘fast fakeaway’ recipes (if they can even be called recipes) using our range of organic, ready made sauces. I promise they are all super simple and extraordinarily tasty!
First up is this simple spaghetti with lentil ragu. This meal serves 4 or 5 people generously, takes less than 15 minutes and costs under €7 to put together.
The best current gut health science advises that we should be including as much plant diversity in our diets as possible. According to Dr Megan Rossi, one of the worlds leading gut health scientists and researchers, we should aim for 30 diverse ‘plant points’ every week. Do you eat 30 different plants a week? We certainly hope our veg boxes help you along the way to hitting that target.
We all know about the importance of eating our greens, but did you know that purple foods are really important to include in our diets too? Purple fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants called anthocyanins? All brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help prevent or delay cell damage. It’s best to get a full range of all the different types of antioxidants out there, so in the spirit of eating the rainbow, I’ve been trying out one of the new vegetables we have in, the vibrant, purple sweet potato! I’ve already made an irresistible classic – baked purple sweet potatoes with a bean chilli – and I couldn’t not make some gnocchi. Here’s the surprisingly simple recipe. I made a batch of butternut gnocchi at the same time for even more plant diversity on our plates. How will you eat purple sweet potatoes?
pesto to serve (make your own or we deliver a choice of organic pestos, add them to your fruit and veg order here)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Scrub one sweet potato per person. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them in a tray in the oven until soft all the way through. Sweet potatoes cook faster than regular potatoes, so test them after 20 minutes.
Allow the potatoes to cool to a temperature you can handle. Then peel them or slice them in half and scoop out the soft flesh.
Mash or puree the baked sweet potato flesh in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Season the mash really well with salt (bearing in mind you will be adding flour).
Then start adding flour, a little at a time, and mixing it into the puree until you reach a soft dough consistency*. I generally use plain flour or strong white bread flour but most flours work. You can easily make these gluten free by using a plain flavoured gluten free flour like rice flour or a plain gluten free flour blend.
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead into a smooth, soft ball. Do not overwork the dough, you want to keep it tender.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Get a frying pan and some butter or oil ready too.
Roll the ball of dough into a long snake about 2 cm thick. You may wish to divide the dough into manageable pieces, depending on how big a batch you are making.
Cut the snake into bite sized pieces. You can leave the pieces in the pillow shapes they are, or roll them into balls then over a gnocchi board to make little grooves. Alternatively you can roll the pieces over the back of a fork.
Boil the gnocchi in the pot of boiling water in small batches. Once they start to float to the top of the pot, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and fry them in the frying pan with a little oil or butter until they are hot and crispy and take on some colour.
Toss the hot gnocchi with some pesto (you can loosen the pesto with a little of the pasta water if needed) and enjoy with some peppery salad leaves.
*I made a batch of butternut squash gnocchi at the same time. The method is the same. But as butternut squashes generally contain more water than sweet potatoes, they need a fair bit more flour to turn into dough.
Thanks to your generosity last week, we will be donating €900 to The Irish Cancer society.
A sense of possibility and new beginnings is naturally in the air in Spring. On the farm, maybe it is the start of the new plant and seed arrivals that kindles this feeling, but there is a sense that we can do things better this year, that we will try a little harder to get things right, that all will be well in the end.
Nature is waking up, the birds are singing, the daffodils are blooming, the new leaves are beginning to unfurl on the trees. The extra daylight means that life cycles are changing and growth increasing, it is a natural rhythm, and it resonates on a subconscious level, if you let it.
Even our lovely new season salad is responding well to the extra light, and we will be harvesting ours and also Mick and Audrey from Millhouse farm will be delivering their gorgeous salad to us for all the boxes next week.
The sun is higher in the sky and on clear days you can feel the first tendrils of warmth, there is more power too in its rays and from now on the capture of this power to make electricity works well. (We installed a large solar panel array two years ago and it sits on the roof of one of our sheds generating clean renewable energy.)
Frequently now we can see plants growing, hear the birds singing and the insects buzzing well before it is time. This can be symbolic of a world out of sync and it has ramifications for all living systems. Planning a season of vegetable growing on the farm becomes more of a gamble as the natural order we rely on can change unpredictably and dramatically.
Luckily to date here in Ireland we have been spared the worst of the effects of the climate emergency. The climate crisis is a complex global problem but maybe the solutions are also simpler than we think? Down at the level of you and I there is much that can be done. Planting trees is one of the simplest ways to help redress the balance, as farmers we have an obligation to plant trees, and as gardeners there is always space for a tree. Again, thanks to your support, we just recently planted another 1500 trees here on our farm. By supporting local food growers like us and Mick and Audrey you too are doing your bit to tackle the climate crisis.
The prediction of the weather for the year ahead was often associated with a saying closely tied to trees, “ash before oak you are in for a soak, oak before ash you are in for a splash”. It seems this year at least here in Galway that the ash has won the race. Nevertheless, if living and farming in the west of Ireland has taught me one thing it is that the weather is unpredictable. It changes fast and sometimes when you least expect it, it surprises you.
Here is hoping for a lovely, sunny Summer surprise this year.
PS – DON’T FORGET IT IS DELIVERIES AS NORMAL FOR US NEXT WEEK, AND MONDAY IS A BANK HOLIDAY BUT NORMAL ORDERING AND DELVIERES APPLIES!!
We are maintaining the FREE Delivery over €100 next week also!
PPS – You have until Monday evening to grab your place on the Green Fingers course part 1 as we will be sending out seeds and resource packs next week by post!
Celebrate spring with some bright fresh flavours, have an Easter feast and bake some treats with the kids. There are loads of ideas up on the blog now. Let me point you in the direction of some delicious dishes which will work perfectly this Easter. Liz x
How is it the Easter holidays already? The kids have only just been back at school for a few moments! Well here we are and what is Easter without toasted sticky, spiced, fruity buns slathered in lots of butter? Here’s my plant based recipe. Sure it takes a while to make, but most of that time is just waiting for the dough to rise. These will keep you and the kids busy for a least one day over the Easter holidays anyway. Liz x
Ingredients (makes 12 buns)
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
300ml milk (I use oat milk)
50g butter (I use a dairy free butter)
500g strong white bread flour (plus about 60g extra for making the paste for the crosses)
70g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar mixed into a syrup with a little water (or maple syrup) for glazing
Measure out the sultanas and spices into a small bowl. Add the zest and juice of the orange. If your orange is very large, just use half the juice. Mix well and allow the sultanas to soak up the orange juice and spices.
Measure the milk and butter into a small pan and gently heat it to melt the butter. Allow it to cool to a touchable temperature while you measure out the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well then pour in the warm milk and butter and mix with your hand into a rough, sticky dough.
Tip the dough onto a clean work surface then knead well for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour, just keep kneading until it all comes together. Then pop the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and allow it to rise and double in size. This should take about an hour in a warm place.
When the dough has doubled in size, stretch it out onto a clean work surface and spread over all of the juicy, spicy sultana mixture. Then roll it up and give the dough an extra knead to incorporate the ingredients. Put the dough back in the bowl to rise again for another hour or so in a warm spot.
Once the dough has doubled in size again, take it out and divide it in 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into neat balls and put them on a lined baking sheets. I space mine out onto two sheets because my oven doesn’t bake evenly so I like to give them room for the hot air to circulate. If your oven is good you can place them together on one large baking sheet, just leave a couple of cm between each one to allow them space to rise. Cover them with the tea towel and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes.
Once the buns have risen, mix about 60g of flour with just enough water to make a paste (aim for the texture of toothpaste). Then spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe crosses over the buns. You could do other designs too if you like? Signs of spring like eggs, flowers, bunnies or lambs… Then put the buns into a preheated oven at 200C (fan) for 15 to 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
*If the buns are looking a bit dry, spray them with a little water just before they go in the oven. Most of the rise will happen in the oven now so you don’t want them to form a crust before having a chance to rise and get fluffy inside.
When the buns are cooked, removed them from the oven and brush them with syrup while they are still hot. I simply mix a couple of tbsps of brown sugar with enough boiling water to make a syrup. You could use maple syrup or warmed, sieved apricot jam instead. Then allow them to cool before eating. They are fantastic still warm and fresh from the oven or if you are eating them the next day they are great toasted. Happy Easter!
In 2018, we said goodbye to plastic for good in our boxes – we were the first company to do that in Ireland. We sourced compostable plant based bags, we launched our ‘Plastic Free’ shopping aisle and we made a commitment to never include any plastic wrapped produce in any of our set boxes ever again. Over the past three years, we have expanded this range, adding lots more sustainable ‘plastic free’ groceries and we introduced a new BULK section of plastic free groceries – even better value.
Supermarkets can’t have it both ways. They maintain their single use plastic packaging; they argue that it prolongs shelf life and therefore it is necessary to reduce food waste, and at the same time they reject perfectly good food on aesthetics leading directly to large amounts of food waste!
The pressure that below cost selling and rejecting produce based on how food looks places on growers can mean that farmers struggle to sustain their livelihoods. There is always a price to pay.
Ironically, the argument for food waste reduction has been used for the continued use of plastic in our food chain, at the very same time that produce not looking the part is dumped! Maybe It is the food system and how we produce and sell food that needs to change?
We used to supply supermarkets and we were told that we had to pay for any produce on their shelves that they did not sell. They also demanded that we lower our prices and stopped ordering until we complied. We pulled the plug ourselves and focused 100% on our home delivery business.
The plastic problem and food waste are issues of our time and as with climate change, they can only be solved by changing our behaviour and by making these issues the very centre of all decisions taken. Our pledge is to do just that.
I will never forget our very first season of growing veg here in the West of Ireland on my grand-dad’s farm. We were told we were mad it could not be done. Others told us that the only way to grow veg was to use a “touch of Roundup” our neighbour wanted to buy the family farm and pretty much laughed at our attempts to learn to grow veg. The local garda called up to see if we were growing strange things! That was 15 years ago.
We have shown it is possible and viable to rekindle a sustainable food production industry in the West of Ireland, to relearn the lost skills of generations and apply them to growing food, but also to innovate and to do it in a truly sustainable way.
Maybe there is hope after all that the bigger issues will be addressed and we can live a cleaner greener future.On food waste there is one thing is for sure: our two pet rescue pigs never complain when they see us coming, they get the truly unusable food and recycle it back into nutrients for the land!
Thanks as always for your support.
PS Reuse is so much better than anything else and we have always championed this, our boxes are the ultimate reusable container. We collect them and reuse them every week.
One of the guys in the packing shed said to me yesterday, “you look cold and wet”. I was dressed in appropriate farm attire: dirty wet gear, but I responded that I was neither because I had about 12 layers of clothes on!
It has been dry and bright but biting cold over the last week. It takes resilience and strength of character to spend eight or more hours out in the fields in those conditions. The guys on the farm have been harvesting all week and it takes its toll not that they would ever say.
Even so our preference will always be for dry bright weather. It’s the rain and the muck of the west of Ireland that eventually grinds you down! We just get so much of it.
Chatting with Our tractor mechanic yesterday he commented how he never sees farm machines like we have on our farm here in the West of Ireland. The reason is pretty simple very few other farmers grow veg in this part of the world.
The weather and the stony ground contribute in equal parts to this fact. After all Cromwell did say “To hell or to Connaught” for a reason. But probably the biggest reason for the decline in local Irish food production lies with the supermarkets. The centralisation of our food supply and the constant obsession with the bottom line have decimated what was once a vibrant local food growing sector.
The breakdown of a key machine mid use is always a pain, but coupled with the added pressure the weather here in this part of the world puts on you it is doubly frustrating. Having a fantastic local tractor mechanic is nothing short of a miracle and I am constantly in awe of his skills and how he can make an untenable situation tenable again!
You have to grab the good weather, you have to make the most of it because you never know how long you will get here in the West and that is exactly what we did this week. We tilled the fields we prepared the ground and as I write this we have just finished preparing the beds for the new plants which are going in the week after next. Not only that but we have been so busy with harvest.
We have been clearing our swedes 1000’s of them to put them into cold store before they start regrowing and going to seed. Same with the lovely dirty parsnips you are getting in the boxes. The leeks and kale and cabbage and salad are all coming off our own fields too. So it has been a super busy week.
That’s the thing, that is the big difference between us and a supermarket: we actually grow your food, supermarkets don’t and they don’t care about the planet, they only care about price and uniformity. We know the woes and the highs of food production. We know that sustainable food production counts more than price, why? Because if we don’t produce our food sustainably, if it is always about the cheapest option, then in the end these choices will undermine the very system we rely on to feed ourselves.
Your choice to support us shows you too think differently and that you value knowing how your food is produced (sustainably) and where it comes from (local).
PS Our Build your own box is super-flexible, choose 13 items from a selection of more than 20 all for thirty euro.
Carrots are such a staple you’d be forgiven if you’d never thought of them as the main event of a meal or barely even given carrots a second thought. But we love carrots over at Green Earth Organics and you’ll always find them in our subscription boxes. Covered in mud and fresh from the field here in Galway, I can honestly say these are the best carrots I’ve ever tasted. The scrubbed, plastic wrapped supermarket carrots just don’t compare. Muddy carrots seem to stay fresh longer and taste sweeter so if you get scrubbed ones, keep them in the fridge and use them in a week or so, the muddy ones are ok in a dark, cool kitchen cupboard or pantry for much longer.
I’ve had quite a few requests for carrot recipes as that’s what most people seem to end up with as their next box is arriving – so here are four ways I cook carrots regularly. You can also click on my raw carrot cake recipe which uses a whopping 600g of carrot, my smoked carrot strips which are fabulous for breakfast with wobbly scrambled tofu or on a toasted bagel with cream cheese or my butterbean barleyotto topped with roasted carrots and carrot top pesto if you’d like further carroty inspiration. Please do share your favourite carrot recipes with us too – in the comments or over on our friendly facebook group. Liz x
Carrot, Chickpea & Apricot Tagine
A warming Middle Eastern stew, simple to put together with punchy flavours from the chermoula paste.
Dice the onion and sauté it over a medium-high heat in a large pot. While it is cooking make the chermoula paste.
Crush the cumin and coriander seeds with a pestle and mortar until roughly broken up. Add the peeled cloves of garlic and crush some more. Then add the chilli flakes and smoked paprika and stir in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Finely dice the preserved lemon and stir it into the spices. Instead of using a pestle and mortar you could use a small blender and pulse the ingredients together into a rough paste.
Add the chermoula paste to the onions and stir for a few minutes to toast the cumin and coriander seeds. Once they are very fragrant, drain the tins of chickpeas and add them to the pot.
Chop the carrots into chunky slices and add them to the pot along with the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the tsp of ground cinnamon. Half fill the tomato tins with water and swirl out any remaining tomatoey juices into the pot.
Slice up the apricots and add them to the stew, season it really well with salt and pepper then put the lid on and simmer for an hour or so until the carrots are cooked through and the stew is rich and flavoursome.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed and serve with cous cous or rice or breads or even on it’s own. It’s fantastic with some freshly chopped parsley or coriander mixed through right before serving too. I’ve topped mine in the photo above with some homemade z’atar which is simply an even mix of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme and ground sumac.
Carrot Cake Porridge
Sweet spices, grated carrot, creamy oats…delicious topped with walnuts on a cold morning.
walnuts and extra cinnamon/maple syrup to top the porridge
Grate a carrot and put it in a small pot with the oat milk, oats, spices, raisins, oats and maple syrup.
Simmer and stir until hot and creamy, then serve topped with walnuts and a dusting of cinnamon. Add an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you like too!
Carrot & Mint Fritters with Yogurt, Leaves & Lemon
Fritters are a fantastic light lunch with salad leaves and a simple dip. Or have them as a sandwich filler? Very versatile, use whatever herbs, spices and veg you fancy. This combination is especially delicious though. Tastes like Spring is around the corner!
Whisk the gram flour and water together into a smooth batter, then season it well with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir in the grated carrot and chopped mint and then fry well spaced dollops of the mixture in a pre-heated to medium-high, well oiled frying pan. Fry on both sides for about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy and cooked through.
Serve hot with a couple of spoons of natural yogurt with a little lemon zested over it (lemon and mint work so well together), a few salad leaves and a wedge of fresh lemon to squeeze over the leaves and the fritters.
Carrot, Blood Orange & Sesame Salad
Toasty, salty, sweet, fresh and tangy – just the perfect combinations. This simple salad takes very little time to put together but has all the big time flavours!