This fruity number is just the thing to pack into a tin and take round to a friends garden to have with a cuppa! Use any summer fruit you like, berries or stone fruit work well, and it’s best to cook the fruit down with a little maple syrup into a rough ‘jam’. Very soft fruit like strawberries, raspberries or plums could just be sliced and sprinkled raw on top of the biscuit layer before adding the crumble mix, but I do find a more jammy fruit layer helps the crumble mix stick to the biscuit a bit better. I tend to cover the dish in the oven with a baking sheet or a layer of baking parchment during the last 15 minutes or so to prevent it from browning too much.
125g caster sugar
375g plain flour
100g porridge oats
maple syrup to taste
Start by cooking 150g fruit in a small pan until just soft and starting to collapse. Taste and sweeten with maple syrup or any sweetener you like (if needed). Then put it to one side to cool while you make the biscuit dough.
Pre-heat the oven to 175C and line a deep baking dish with baking parchment. I used a dish approximately 25x35cm but any medium sized baking dish will do. Just bear in mind, if it’s a smaller dish, the biscuit will be deeper so will need longer in the oven.
Weigh out the butter, sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub it together with the tips of your fingers until you achieve a wet-beach-sand-like texture that comes together into dough when squeezed. A quicker way to do this is to pulse the ingredients together in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attachment.
Tip roughly 2/3rds of the dough into the lined dish and press it firmly into a neat, even layer. Ensure you get into the corners of the dish.
Add the oats to the remaining 3rd of the dough and mix into a rough crumble.
Spoon the fruit onto the biscuit layer and then sprinkle the crumble over the top. Lightly pat the crumble into the fruit.
Then bake for approximately 30 minutes at 175C fan. The time can vary depending on your dish size. I tend to cover the dish with a baking sheet or extra piece of parchment for the last 15 minutes or so to prevent the crumble from browning too much. Just keep an eye on it and see if it needs it or not. No two ovens are alike in my experience!
Remove from the oven and allow the biscuit to cool in the dish. Then carefully transfer it to a chopping board and cut it as you like.
You should end up with a melt-in-the-mouth shortbread base, a fruity layer and a buttery, oaty, crumbly layer. Delicious!
The biscuits keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Enjoy!
Energy bites do what they say on the tin. They are jam packed full of good ingredients – oats, nuts (or seeds) and dates – which give you a boost of energy and get you through the afternoon slump, power you up that hill on your hike or keep hunger at bay in the car on your way to your staycation. This base recipe is really handy to have in your repertoire. Make it your own by using your favourite nuts or seeds, replace the dates with apricots or raisins, add cacao powder or dried spices like cinnamon or ginger for different flavours, coat them in melted chocolate or roll them in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut. It’s fun to play around with flavours here.
Did you know, many of our grocery products like oats, nuts and dates are packed plastic free? We are always working on adding more plastic free products to the list too so keep checking back. Please share your favourite energy ball combinations with us on our facebook community group.
Ingredients (makes 20)
1 &1/2 mugs of porridge oats
1 mug of nuts (or seeds, or a mix)
1/2 mug of pitted dates
a pinch of salt
a drizzle of maple syrup or honey
optional extra ingredients to taste (like melted chocolate, desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, cacao powder, cinnamon, ginger…)
Measure the oats, nuts, dates and salt into a food processor with the ’S’ blade attachment. (If you are making this in a blender, then divide it into smaller batches).
Pulse the ingredients together, stopping frequently to stir and scrape down the sides. You are aiming for an even, sticky, crumbly mixture.
Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. This is where you can stir in some extra flavours or textures if you like. Some cinnamon or ginger? Make it chocolate flavoured by adding some cacao powder?
Now test the stickiness of the mixture by picking up a small handful and squeezing. If it sticks together easily you don’t need the syrup – this depends on the freshness and variety of the dates. Otherwise add a small drizzle of maple syrup and stir. Test again and add more syrup until you get the right consistency.
Then squeeze and roll the mixture into little balls. If they are sticky enough you can roll them in seeds or desiccated coconut for extra flavour and fun.
Another fun option is to dunk them in melted chocolate and sit them on a tray in the fridge to set. While the chocolate is wet, you can sprinkle the bites with seeds or some flakey sea salt or anything you like to make them even more special.
Otherwise they are fabulous naked, just the way they are!
Pack in an airtight container in the fridge and eat them within the week.
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.
Last year at the end of June I asked for your help, and I was humbled by the level of support we received. It is always with a great sense of irony that we head into July. It is the official end of the hungry gap. We are catapulted from a frenzy of farming activity and a dearth of harvest in early June to a level of activity bordering on the insane and an overflowing harvest basket. July is the time when we have a plentiful harvest, and it is the very same time that many of you break your routine with cooking. The last year has been difficult for all, and we all need a break, a break from the routine and lockdowns.
This summer is proving to be the biggest challenge yet. We have increased our planting rates; we have developed relationships with other local organic farms and now when the time of Irish plenty arrives we find that you our customers are leaving us for all the usual reasons, holidays, not cooking, routines out the window and we understand completely. But the downturn this summer for us has been sharp and severe over the space of three weeks we have seen the level of ordering drop off dramatically, this is leaving us with so much surplus harvest with nowhere to go but back into the ground.
This time of every year we also see a large increase in labour costs as we are now up to 11 people on the farm (all local lads this year which is amazing) and we have also hired many new packing staff to cover the extra work over the last few months and to cover holidays. It is a double downturn for us, as our costs go up dramatically and our sales go down dramatically. Anybody will tell you this is not a good way to run a business. The initial start of this growing season on our organic farm, seeds, plants, fertiliser (organic), compost, contractors and labour are very high, before you harvest even one bean. All of this is necessary to make the food in the fields happen.
Growing food at the best of times is not a money-making enterprise, far from it, we only ever expect the farm to break even and most years this is a stretch to achieve. We grow the food, because we love to do it, because sustainable agriculture is something we strongly believe in. We have PV cells generating our electricity, we have just invested in our first zero emission electric van, we collect our rainwater, we plant trees, and hedgerows, we use only plastic free packaging. We educate people on how important biodiversity is, and to get everybody involved in thinking about the planet and the environment, where our food comes and how it is produced is our critical philosophy.
All of this takes time and energy, it all costs money and at the end of the day although everybody wants to enjoy their job and although nearly everybody that works with us believes in our values and our mission, they still need to get paid.
So this is a plea, a plea to ask you to order next week, to find a way (if you can at all) to continue supporting us over the summer, to tell your friends and family to order from us, or if you can’t to pay your box forward to our Charity (Foodshare Kerry), just order a charity box online that we top-up with extra produce from the farm.
The boxes this week are loaded with the most amazing fresh local Irish organic produce, including, spinach, salad, lettuce, romanesco, cucumbers, kale, scallions, some even have new IRISH organic potatoes. The weather is meant to be hot so we figured a good helping of salad would be very much appreciated. So please if you can at all do order. Your support as always is very much appreciated.
Making your own deodorant might sound like some hippy nonsense with questionable results…but I promise you, this stuff really works. I’ve been using it for about a year now and can honestly say it works better than any other deodorant I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried them all. I actually smell good at the end of the day! It’s made with simple, non-toxic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. No nasty chemicals, it costs a few cents to make and lasts a really long time! But what I love most about it is that I am saving so much plastic packaging by making my own. I use cornstarch from a paper packet, bicarbonate of soda which I buy in bulk or get in glass jars and coconut oil which I buy in glass jars. You can also add essential oils if you like to make it scented.
Here’s my easy recipe. Let me know how you get on if you try it. Liz x
6 tbsp coconut oil (find an unscented one if you don’t want to smell like coconut)
4 tbsp cornflour (or arrowroot flour)
4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda*
a few drops of an essential oil you like (optional)
Melt the coconut oil then stir in the cornflour and baking soda*.
When the mixture is smooth add a few drops of essential oil, stir, smell and add more if you like until you get to the level of fragrance you desire. Otherwise leave it fragrance free or just its own natural coconut fragrance if using an unrefined coconut oil.
Pour the mixture into a jar/tin/tub that you can easily get your finger into and allow it to set.
The deodorant can be used in solid or liquid form. On hot days it may be a little melty and on cold days it will be very hard.
Just rub a small amount into your armpit each morning (just like applying moisturiser) and you are good to go.
*Some people find they are a little sensitive to bicarbonate of soda. This is very rare but test a small patch of skin first.
**As the deodorant is oil based it may affect very delicate clothes like silk. Ensure it’s sufficiently rubbed in and absorbed before getting dressed. No need to use more than half a pea or so in each armpit.
When I was younger, I believed that by convincing my parents to recycle glass bottles and joining Green Peace that we would make a difference, I was utterly convinced, I never doubted it for a second, I knew the planet was precious and that our changes made a difference.
All young children have a connection with nature and they believe they can do anything, so what happens as we grow up? Why do we lose that sense of value for the natural world that we had as children?
When we started the farm, I believed growing sustainable food would change the planet, and that all we needed was a tractor, some seeds and we would have a successful farm. When we expanded into Dublin, I believed we would finally be able to reach enough people to get the farm and the business running smoothly and start to make a real difference to what and how people eat. At times on this journey, I became disillusioned. The pressure and stress, the financial hardships, the decisions, the fighting to do the right thing when it seemed it was all going against us made me question why we were doing what we were doing. But ultimately, we stayed the course and stuck to our principles.
I am not sure how long it normally takes, but it took (and continues to take) a long time to realise that no one change in isolation changes anything. Real change and success is built on lots and lots of little things done consistently over time. This is as true for building a new habit as for fixing the planet.
Maybe one by one and little by little all our changes taken together can effect real change. Maybe your choice to plant a tree, to avoid weed killer, or to tell you kids about biodiversity and educate them in the beauty and preciousness of nature contribute to real positive change.
By buying from us you are effecting real change, you are choosing a different way to eat and are supporting serious changes behind the scenes.
On the farm we produce some of our electricity by a 11kW solar panel array on the roof of our packing shed. We farm organically, we grow trees, and hedges and flowers and food. We use paper and compostable plant-based bags, we reuse our boxes, we aspire to zero waste and being carbon neutral.
Your choice to support us means you are one of a community that are choosing a new and better way to eat, you are supporting farming and food for a better planet.
Does it matter? Does it matter that you support a zero-waste circular economy, a sustainable means of growing food and a better food future, does that matter?
Well in my book that does matter, it matters a lot.
Thank you for your support.
PS. Get your orders in for next week here. Fruit and veg boxes, groceries, treats and more – all organic and carefully sourced from sustainable businesses when not home grown.
Hannah used to love broccoli and then she did not and to this day that has not changed. I do love broccoli. I tend to love all vegetables really, and it is a good thing seeing as I run an organic vegetable farm.
It never ceases to amaze me how much vegetable food you can produce per acre, and how many people that can feed. At the very same time it also never ceases to amaze me how much our food system needs to change; it is broken and here are the three fundamental reasons why:
1. There are too many of us eating a Western style diet. Food inequality is huge and we in the West eat way more than our fair share.
2. Growing feed for animals is not an efficient use of a limited land space. To feed a growing population we need to change what we grow and what we eat. We cannot continue to produce and consume the same food in the same way there simply is not enough space on earth. (I know we have two rescue pigs, and they are eating machines, we feed them waste vegetables, but if we had to grow all the food that they eat, we would need acres just to feed them. Using land to produce vegetables to feed people is a highly efficient use of land.)
3. The supermarkets facilitate the expectation of cheap food and they control the food supply chain. Their pricing practice makes farmers reliant on a subsidy system. Our grandparents spent nearly 20% of their disposal income on food, today it is less than 10%. The main beneficiaries of our food system are the supermarkets, large agribusiness and large food corporations, not us the consumer.
A long-term view is often difficult to reconcile with our daily challenges and life stresses (holding a screaming child for instance, Hannah was not always that picture of calm!) But the climate is changing, the sea levels are rising, biodiversity is failing and change is necessary now.
We can open our eyes if we choose to, and take responsibility for our choices, we have much more power than we realise. We can’t change the food system over-night, but we can take positive action right now.
It will always be better to eat local food. It will always be better for our countryside and our health to eat more organic food. It will always be better for our health and the health of the planet to eat less meat. Here is what we/you can do right now:
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.
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.
“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.