Granola

Granola recipe illustration from my book, available to add to your fruit, veg and groceries order here.

Shop bought granola is delicious, but usually quite expensive and stored in a plastic wrapper. So if you are wanting to save money and avoid plastic packaging, making your own is the solution. Often shop bought granola is surprisingly high in sugar too! My recipe is sweetened with just date syrup (or if I can’t find date syrup I just blend dates and water into a smooth sauce and use that – in fact it’s better this way as you keep all the good fibre of the dates in the granola too). We sell oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit in plastic free or compostable packaging and this recipe blows any shop bought one I’ve tried out of the water. Store it in an airtight container like a large glass jar and it should stay fresh and crunchy for at least 1 month…that’s if you don’t eat it all up before then! Liz x

Ingredients

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 150C and prepare a couple of large baking dishes or the bottom of your grill tray. Line them with re-usable or compostable baking parchment.

In a large bowl, measure out your oats, spices, salt, nuts and seeds. Do not add the dried fruit yet! Give the dry mixture a good stir to evenly disperse the spices and salt before adding the oil and date syrup.

Add the oil and date syrup/sauce and stir well to coat all the dry ingredients.

Spread the granola out onto your lined trays into a thin 1-2cm layer.

Bake the granola in the oven. Take it out every 10-15 minutes and stir to ensure the granola gets evenly baked.

Once it’s nice and crunchy and tastes perfectly toasted, remove the granola from the oven and stir through all the dried fruit.

Allow the granola to completely cool down in the trays before storing it in an airtight container.

Enjoy with your favourite milk or yoghurt or sprinkle it on top of ice cream or smoothie bowls, or just eat it dry as a snack!

Growing Food is Grounding

The planning and preparation must begin now for the year ahead. We are still harvesting many of the root crops from last years planting which is providing us with good healthy Winter sustenance. January is the time of year that calls for hearty warm food, food that feeds both body and soul. Eating with the seasons fulfils something more primal than just hunger, innately it feels like the right thing to do.

‘Seasonal eating’, ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘climate breakdown’ – these buzz words are all linked. What we choose to eat has a massive impact on the environment. In these dark days, is it possible to choose seasonal sustainable food that will improve our wellbeing and maybe make these dark days seems that little bit brighter?

Whether you love sprouts or hate them they are the king of Winter vegetables and, like many of their Winter cousins, their taste is enhanced by cold. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, leeks, cabbage green and red, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and swede are all amazing seasonal stars and our parents and grandparents would have enjoyed them all long before a red pepper ever graced our tables. The Irish climate has always favoured these crops, they thrive in low light and cold conditions and we seem to naturally gravitate to these foods in the colder months. This is all very good news for both us and the planet.

Although there is no arguing that food is a personal choice, is it possible that our individual freedom is coming into conflict with a personal and environmental health crisis? Our freedom to choose is limitless. But as we head into the new year, could we make a change and choose to be more mindful of where our food comes from? How it is produced? What is it packaged in? Breaking routines of convenience can be hard, we are all busy and it takes persistence, courage and discipline to maintain a new course, but if this year gone by has shown us anything, it is that routines can change overnight and new, better habits can replace them. Here are 5 achievable guidelines to help you tread a more mindful path with your food choices.

  1. Eat Local, Seasonal, Organic Food – in supermarkets look at the country of origin, choose Irish. Visit farmers markets that sell local and if possible organic food. Get a box of seasonal organic food delivered by us.
  2. Eat Less Meat – enjoy planet healthy whole-foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and grains. We have a great organic range of dried and tinned whole-foods in our grocery section.
  3. Avoid Plastic Clad Produce – buy loose in the supermarket if possible. Leave the packaging behind in the supermarket. Did you know that all our set boxes are plastic free?
  4. Cook From Scratch – this gives you more control over the source of your ingredients, and it can be very satisfying! Cook in batches which saves enormous amounts of time. We provide recipes in all our boxes and Liz over on our new blog provides easy to follow instructions to make great dishes.
  5. Grow Your Own – Spring will be upon us soon, and this satisfying act can rekindle a very basic respect for our food.

Here’s to a brighter and more mindful new year!

Kenneth

As always, our online shop is ready for your orders. Subscribe to a weekly fruit and veg box for ease, or build your own box. All the details on our website here. Thank you for your support.

Jerk Jackfruit with Red Beans & Rice

I always keep a kitchen cupboard stocked with tins of beans, tomatoes, coconut milk and jackfruit. Having a repertoire of store-cupboard suppers is very useful when you are subscribed to a veg box delivery. Depending on what’s going on each week, sometimes I have a bit of fresh fruit and veg leftover when the new, weekly box arrives and sometimes I need to make a store-cupboard supper or two before it arrives and that’s totally fine! Especially with the range of brilliant, organic groceries at Green Earth Organics. What a luxury to be able to eat fresh, organic vegetables most days, and organic store-cupboard ingredients on other days!

Here’s one of our current store-cupboard staples, a spicy, Jamaican inspired jerk stew with the most delicious coconutty red beans and rice!

As always, please share your photos of your version of the recipe with our friendly community Facebook group. We love to see our recipes leave the blog! Liz x

Ingredients for the rice

Method

Put the rice, coconut milk and drained tin of beans into a small pot. Add the onion wedge and whole cloves and a pinch of salt. Add a mug of water then stir briefly to combine.

Bring the rice pot to the boil with the lid on, then immediately as it comes to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, leave the lid on, do not stir, and allow the rice to gently simmer and absorb all the liquid in the pot.

For white rice this only takes about 15-20 minutes, brown rice takes double that time. So if you are using brown rice, get it assembled and on to boil first, if you are using white rice, get the stew on first then the rice.

Ingredients for the stew

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • the rest of that onion – diced
  • 4 sticks of celery – diced
  • 1 red pepper – diced (optional – can switch with seasonal veg)
  • 4 carrots – diced
  • jerk seasoning – see below to make your own (about 4 tbsp)
  • scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
  • 2 tins of young jackfruit (drained)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

Sauté the onion, celery, pepper and carrot in a large pot with the vegetable oil. Once it starts to soften and colour, add the jerk seasoning and stir to coat the vegetables and toast the spices.

Add the jackfruit pieces, break them up as you add them to the pot, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, 2/3rds fill the tin with water and swirl that out into the pot too. If you like it spicy, you can drop in a whole scotch bonnet chilli or two at this stage too.

Give the stew a stir and pop the lid on and allow it to simmer while the rice cooks. Remove the lid and give it a stir every now and then to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom.

Serve with wilted dark leafy greens or with wedges of roast squash like I have done in the video above.

Ingredients for jerk seasoning – mix together in a jar

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tsp ground allspice (or mixed spice if you can’t find allspice)
  • 6 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 tsp smoked paprika

Pumpkin & Pecan Pie

I am such a vegetable geek, I always get overexcited when a new vegetable comes into season. So I eagerly wrote a pumpkin custard pie recipe, back in October when pumpkins and squashes were the veg of the moment. But one of the many beauties of these sweet, fleshy gourds is that they keep well for up to 6 months if properly stored, so you can have pumpkin pies up until March if you like, they are not just for Autumn! Pumpkins and winter squashes can be stored in a well-ventilated position at a temperature under 15°C and no colder than 10°C. I suggest finding a chilly part of your home, for example a shady windowsill. Watch for signs of rot, and remove any affected fruit immediately. I think their cheerful, bright colour and sweet, nutty flavour make them a gorgeous addition to your festive table too.

An illustrated recipe of my Pumpkin Pie from October 2020

Pumpkin pie is a very American, Thanksgivingy thing and like much of American food culture, it’s seeping over the pond and onto our plates. Pumpkin spice lattes and the like don’t seem to be going anywhere and why would they? The sweet, heady mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is pretty irresistible. Pecan pies are another classic American dish, traditionally served at the festive table, so I couldn’t resist combining the two here in my layered pumpkin and pecan pie. I think you’ll agree, it’s a great combination.

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments or over on our Healthy Eating facebook page. And don’t forget to share the recipe with your friends.

Liz

Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients

Pastry Method

Shortcrust pastry is very easy to make if you have a food processor with a blade attachment. (And by the way this recipe makes a brilliant mince pie, apple pie or cherry pie crust too!) Just blend up the flour, butter, salt and sugar until it resembles wet beach sand. Then add a couple of tablespoons of very cold water and briefly blend again and it will magically form into a neat ball of dough!

If you don’t have a food processor you can just use your hands. Use the tips of your fingers to work the butter into the flour, salt and sugar until it reaches wet sand consistency, then add the water and gently bring it together into a ball of dough. The trick to a really short, melt in the mouth shortcrust pastry is not overworking the dough and getting it too warm. Then wrap it with a damp tea towel and let it rest in the fridge while you make the pumpkin custard.

Pumpkin Custard Ingredients

Method

I’ve never bought a tin of pumpkin puree, it seems that’s what most Americans use. Instead I just roast a halved and deseeded pumpkin or squash, cut side down, until it’s soft. Then scoop out the flesh and mash or blend it. I call this pie a ‘custard pie’ because this filling is a riff on my custard recipe. Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth. (And by the way, if you ever want to make regular plant based custard, just replace the pumpkin puree with another mug of oat milk, leave out the spices but keep the vanilla, then whisk and simmer on a low heat until thick and delicious.)

Then roll out the chilled pastry and carefully line a flan dish or a cake tin with it. Prick little holes in the base of the pastry with a fork to prevent a pocket of hot air forming under the crust and making it rise up in the oven. Then pour the custard into the pastry case and bake for about 30 minutes at 175C or until both the pastry and the custard are mostly cooked through. In the meantime, make the pecan pie topping.

Pecan Pie Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1.5 tbsp milled linseeds (if you don’t buy them already milled, just blend some whole ones up in a small spice blender or smoothie maker until ground into a course flour consistency)
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 150g pecan nuts

Method

Mix all the ingredients except the pecan nuts together in a bowl. Then stir through the pecan nuts, ensuring they are all coated in the caramel-like mixture. Then once the pumpkin pie is par cooked enough so that the pumpkin custard is mostly set, carefully spoon the pecans and caramel over the top of the pie.

Return it to the oven to cook for another 10 minutes or until the custard, pastry and pecan pie mixture is all cooked through.

Allow the pie to cool and set before carefully removing it onto a serving plate and slicing it up. Serve it with whipped coconut cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Plans, Progress and Polytunnels

Our very first polytunnel going up in 2005. Expertly erected by Jenny, my dad and myself! The little stone shed is where my grandad used to bring in the sheep when it was lambing season.

When we set out 15 years ago to create a farm and a home delivery business, we didn’t think further than the next week or two. We were convinced that what we were doing was necessary, driven by a deep desire to take care of the planet. Most business advisers would not buy into that, no plan, no detailed analysis of figures, no projections, it was effectively a week to week operation.

Looking back, although there wasn’t a detailed plan, there was a definite direction. I think anybody who starts a business, if they are honest, will tell you things don’t always turn out the way you expect. We did not know what to expect and really had no idea what we were doing. I was not trained in business or organic farming; I was a trained scientist! The road to present day has been tough, the goal posts kept changing and the challenges changed sometimes daily. But our ideology kept us going (just!) and kept us on the right track. Our vision was always strong and the core belief to protect our planet meant we kept on ‘keeping on’, kept on showing up even and especially on the days when we really didn’t want to get out of bed, to face the reality of the tough choices and hard work ahead.

Today we do have detailed plans, figures and projections. All the necessary evils to keep a busy business and farm afloat. If the last fifteen years have been challenging, this year has been exceptional. It has been tough for so many, the virus has changed everything and even the best laid plans have been thrown out the window, it almost feels like being back at the start again. We have not known, week to week, what to expect and we have been the lucky ones! We have been very busy and we are eternally grateful to you for that.

The ups and downs and the challenges and anxieties of this year have kept many people up at night. Businesses that don’t know if they will ever open again, the jobs that may be lost, the fear and anxiety in society, but there is so much hope also. Never in my years of sea swimming have I seen so many people embrace the sea, never have I seen so many people out on bicycles and walking and running and being out in nature. This brings a remarkable positive energy, because if more people are happier then that will rub off on others too.

Our shopping habits have changed too, we have all had to embrace the inevitable move to online shopping, but can we do that online shopping a little more wisely? Can we support local while online rather than funnelling the funds into the pockets of a very large and extremely powerful retailer(s)? Can we again bring our support back behind small local businesses that will need it now more than ever?

We too are asking you for your support. Can you get your fruit, veg and sustainable groceries from us? Can you give the gift of a Christmas veg box or hamper to a friend or family member? Can you support other local businesses too? We have a helpful guide here where you can find a few ethical and local businesses that we recommend.

This year has brought us back into the uncertainty of operating day to day and week to week, but one thing that has never changed is our commitment to growing safe, sustainable food. We wouldn’t be here today without your support, thank you so much.

Kenneth

PS Our Christmas shop is open, get your orders in now! 

Raw Carrot Cake

Illustration from my cookbook, Cook Draw Feed – available to add to your next order here.

For a healthy cake, this tastes incredibly decadent. It’s not too sweet and full of great flavours and satisfying whole-foods. So simple to make too – it’s simply a case of squishing together the base ingredients and blending up the cashew-cream cheese frosting, then putting it together and letting it set overnight in the fridge. Easy! I love this cake with a big mug of chai tea, have you tried our new Rooibos Cacao Chai?

Ingredients

Method

Start off by soaking the cashew nuts – simply cover them with fresh water and leave to soak and swell up for at least an hour. Line a baking dish with baking parchment.

Base

While the cashew nuts are softening, grate the carrots into a large mixing bowl. Then pulse the dates and walnuts together in a food processor until they are finely chopped and sticky. Scrape this mixture in with the carrots. Then add the desiccated coconut, ground spices and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to mix the base ingredients really well, then squish the mixture evenly into the lined baking dish.

Frosting

Use the same blender you used to pulse the dates and walnuts, no need to clean it out, just make sure you scraped the date/walnut mixture out thoroughly. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and pop them in the processor with 50ml of water and the vanilla, lemon juice, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and pinch of salt. Blend until totally smooth, thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides every so often to get a silky smooth cream cheese frosting. When you are happy with the texture, pour it over the base, cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight to let the cake set. Then you can carefully take the cake out onto a chopping board, dust it with cinnamon and decorate it with walnuts. Slice it with a large, sharp knife and enjoy!

Liz

Tips: It’s best to keep the cake in the fridge when you are not serving it to make it last longer, and as the cashew cream can sometimes get a bit melty in a warm house. You can also portion it up and freeze it. It will last in the fridge for around 5 days and in the freezer much longer.

Did you make this recipe? Let us know in the comments how it went and please share your photos with us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram or on our Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating page on facebook. If you like this recipe you’ll love my book. Available to add to your regular order from the farm here.

Waterlogged but Never Wavering

When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.

Oscar Wilde

I came out of my office last week, I had no inspiration, I didn’t have anything to write about, I definitely wasn’t in the right space and I was getting frustrated.

I decided to see what was going on out on the farm and I bumped into Emmanuel and shared my woes. Write about “Muck and rain, and mud, and clay and rain, and water because that about sums up the week just past” he said.

That was it, he had hit the nail on the head, it was wet.

Some places in the fields the water is a foot deep. The beds we planted on in the summer are submerged, the plants with waterlogged roots struggle to breath. It is ok for a few days but if there is prolonged water, then they die.

Walking up a sticky, muddy field with a bag of kale on your back must be one of the very best work outs you can get. If you have ever had a young child wrap themselves around your foot and not let you go, well that is what the field does.

I got the impression last week that even our poor tractor was not happy.

The ruts from the tractor wheeling’s are deep and although Joe (My seven year old son loves them, in fact he would actually disappear into some of them) it does not make for easy navigation when it comes to driving with a tonne of parsnips on the front of the tractor.

In the cold wet weather, you often find yourself with three or four layers of clothes on and waterproofs and wellies and sweating even though it is freezing and wet. This I think is one of my least favourite ways to pass the time.

But the sun is always there, we may not always be able to see it, but it is always up there over the clouds. It is only because of the clouds and the rain that you see the most beautiful skylines, the most stunning sunrises, and the most fantastic evening sunsets. These skyscapes are more striking at this time of the year that in high summer by a long way.

Then of course there is the food.

We are doing, I think, our bit for the planet. We are growing sustainable food on a scale that supports thousands of people each week. When I first wrote this, I thought it could not be true, but then I did the maths. If we do an average of 1500 deliveries per week and each household has an average of 3 people then that is 4500 people, that is a lot of mouths to feed, that is a large responsibility to do things right. That is a lot of trust put in us by you.

I shocked myself with that revelation, a far cry from the first 26 deliveries we did in May 2006.

So, we will get stuck in again on Monday, harvest more food, deal with the mud and the rain, do our bit for sustainable food, do our bit for climate change, because we have to.

Can you sustain a path such as this without being either clinically insane (and that could be the case) or having a belief in something bigger? For us I like to think it is the latter (but who is to say really). Our big “WHY” is the planet, nature, biodiversity, and every living creature we share this earth with deserving a chance. This is what drives us on. Have a look at our 5 Pledges for the Planet to see our promises as a business.

As always thanks for your support, it’s what keeps us going.

Kenneth

PS Don’t forget to place your order for next week here.

Who We Are

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. 

 We are certified organic by IOFGA – more info here and please note that EVERYTHING we sell is organic. 

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. 

Where to buy our produce: 

Cornish Pasty

The best thing you can do with a swede!

These hand held pies are so good, I’m confident that even a local Cornish person would accept my plant-based knock-offs as the real deal. According to the Cornish Pasty Association, which champions and protects the authenticity and distinctiveness of the genuine Cornish pasty, the pastry should be shortcrust (traditionally they use a mix of lard and butter, I use a quality plant based butter) and the filling should be diced beef, potato, swede and onion. I simply replace the beef with gorgeous umami chestnut mushrooms and add some deep, dark miso to bring out those mouthwatering savoury notes (if you don’t have miso, substitute it with a little splash of soy sauce). November is the perfect time to make these delicious pies. Most of the ingredients can usually be found in my weekly veg box from the farm at this time of year, but of course feel free to substitute ingredients as you like. Any root veg or squash would work well, you could even up the protein with a drained tin of beans or chickpeas.

The photos below are from my instagram stories where I often take my followers through a simple step-by-step as I’m making dinner. Don’t forget to tag @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram or share your photos on the Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating facebook page if you make this recipe. We love to see your creations!

For the pastry:

  • 500g strong flour (I like to use a 400g of white and 100g of brown)
  • 250g butter
  • a big pinch of salt
  • enough cold water to bring the dough together (usually only a couple of tbsp)

Method

Either use the tips of your fingers to crumble the butter into the flour and salt, or pop all the pastry ingredients (except the water) into a food processor with the blade attachment and pulse it together, until it resembles wet beach sand. Then add a small splash of cold water and blend if using a food processor, or gently knead the dough, just until it comes together into a ball. Be careful not to add too much water, be patient with it. Don’t overwork the dough, you want it to be tender, not hard. Then wrap the pastry with a damp tea towel and let it rest while you prepare the filling. Turn the oven on to 175C.

For the filling:

Method

One of the many beauties of buying organic is that there is rarely a need to peel your vegetables. Just give them a thorough scrub and you’re good to go. As is the way with many of my recipes, no need for exact measurements for the filling. I like an equal balance of swede, potato, mushroom and onion in my pasties. Once you have your veg all diced up fairly small (around a cm squared is good) into a large mixing bowl, season it generously with salt and black pepper. If you have miso, stir a tbsp of that through the mix, if not, either add a touch more salt or a splash of soy sauce.

Then you need to sort out the pastry. Tip it out onto a clean work surface and slice it into 8 equal pieces.

Then roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc with your hand. If you need to, you can lightly flour your work surface to stop sticking and roll each ball into a thin circle. Aim to get the pastry around 4mm thick.

Then pile a generous amount of filling onto each piece of pastry, carefully gather up the sides and seal and crimp as best as you can.

Pop the pasties onto a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (175C) for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through and steaming.

I always encourage creativity and this recipe is no exception. Although this is as close to a traditional Cornish pasty as you can get making it plant based, feel free to let your tastebuds run free. Why not try a curried pasty? Add some turmeric and black pepper to the pastry and some curry powder to the veg. And while you’re at it switch the veg for diced potato, cauliflower and onion with a drained tin of chickpeas. Or go mediterranean in the summer? Switch the veg for peppers, aubergine, tomato and courgette and add some basil, pop a sprinkle of fennel seeds through the pastry. What combinations will you try? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to see your creations.

Liz x

5 Pledges for the Planet

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.