Food Waste & Fussy Pigs

Food waste has always upset me and I think I get that from my mum.  Pre-covid my mum was a regular in our packing shed, salvaging any waste produce for a variety of charities, she was the ultimate food waste champion. 

Her generation was not one to waste anything. 

It wasn’t until the plastic clad, sell more, always on, supermarket culture took over did we as a generation decide it was ok to dump food. Or was it really our decision? I think not. It was the supermarkets that decided for us and made it ok to waste food and to grade out perfectly good produce based on how something looks.

In our business we try really hard to keep food waste to a minimum. It can be challenging as we are dealing with so many different fresh items, and we have harvests and deliveries arriving everyday. We run 5 different cold rooms, and we run some at different temperatures to ensure the optimum temperature is maintained to keep produce fresh.  We have also committed to not using plastic.  

(Incidentally, just this week it has been shown that despite the Supermarkets railing on about it, plastic does not actually reduce food waste, it can actually increase it!)

But back to our story, we need to make sure you our customer gets the most amazing quality.  Everything piece of produce gets inspected, and while sometimes the odd one gets through,  we work really hard to deliver on our promise of only delivering amazing quality produce to your door.

“Grade outs” : produce that we know will not make it to you our customers in first class condition, are left on a shelf in our packing shed and are generally used to make staff boxes and our team can help themselves. Finally, what is left, the stuff that we don’t eat ourselves usually ends up in Florence and George’s bellies (our rescue pigs!)

I always thought pigs would eat anything. As it turns out I was wrong. Pigs do indeed have some serious food preferences. I know because just over a year ago we took charge of two rescue pigs George and Florence. They have the run of an acre of mostly forested land and will live out their long and leisurely lives here on our organic farm. (Incidentally pigs can live until they are 20!).

Who would have known that pigs are fussy eaters? Well, I can tell you that they will not eat broccoli or kale, they are not partial to courgettes and apparently mushrooms do not tickle their palettes either.

It would seem then that they know what they like and what they don’t like. But when it comes to wonky shapes, and blemished skin they see only food. 

I don’t know that supermarkets take food waste seriously.  A couple of years ago, a person who would know told me about 12 pallets of pineapples that were dumped as a result of a supermarket quality inspection failing them because of some blemishes. This happens.

Maybe being that little bit more mindful of our food can go along way in reducing our food waste, and the funny thing is it can actually end up saving us quite a bit of money too.

Here’s to less food waste!

Kenneth

Banana Skin Recipes

Are these bananas over-ripe? Or are they perfectly ripe?

Who knew you could eat the skins of a banana? It’s amazing what we have been conditioned into discarding as not edible isn’t it? The amount of delicious and healthy fruit and vegetable offcuts – skins, leaves, stalks…that we just throw away is actually quite shocking. We could make our weekly food shop go so much further if we re-learn what is edible and what isn’t. Lack of dietary fibre is a big health issue here in the west. It’s so important to eat enough roughage to help your digestive system move, for bowel health, and to balance your blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Dietary fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Eating banana skins is not just about increasing your fibre intake. Banana skins are rich in potassium (amazing for your heart health), magnesium (helps your muscles and nerves work properly, maintains protein, bone and DNA, levels blood sugar and pressure), B6 (which improves your sleep) and B12 (keeps your blood and nerve cells happy, helps make DNA), Vitamin A (great for eyesight), antioxidants (lowers cancer risk) and more!

So here are a couple of ways to cook banana skins. Always choose organic to avoid nasty pesticides/herbicides and give your bananas a good rinse. Riper banana skins are softer and sweeter. If you don’t fancy making a meal out of banana skins, you can always blend some into your smoothie or next batch of banana bread too.

Liz x

Save Your Banana Skin ‘Bacon’

Rescue your ripe banana skins from heading to the bin by putting them in a box in the fridge to add to smoothies – or make this vegan bacon. Yes, this recipe is a bit of a gimmick, but it is surprisingly delicious. It’s all about the smokey bacon marinade of course (which you can use to marinade strips of aubergine, mushrooms, courgette, carrots etc to make whatever plant-based bacon you desire). Banana skins bring a light banana flavour to the party along with a deliciously chewy texture. Definitely worth a go!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic granules/powder
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3-4 ripe banana skins, washed

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except for the banana skins) in a container that will hold 3 or 4 banana skins. I use a sandwich box with a lid.
  2. Chop the tough ends off of 3-4 banana skins and tear them into strips (a banana skin should naturally tear into 3 or 4 strips). Use a spoon to scrape off the phloem bundles – that’s the name for the soft, stringy bits of banana stuck to the inside of the skins. These can be added to smoothies or banana bread.
  3. Place the scraped banana skins into the marinade and mix well ensuring each piece is coated in the marinade. Leave to soak up the flavour for at least 20 minutes. You can even prepare this the night before and pop in the fridge, then cook the bacon for breakfast in the morning.
  4. Fry the strips of banana skin with a little oil in a medium-high frying pan on both sides until sizzling and crispy. Enjoy as a side of your cooked breakfast plate or in a sandwich. Crumble over pasta or eat wherever you would like a sweet and salty, smokey bacon-like flavour.

Whole Banana & Coconut Curry

You need to really like banana to like this curry. It’s sweet, creamy, mild and absolutely delicious! I like it just as it is so I can really enjoy the flavour and texture of the banana skin and flesh with some simple rice, chilli flakes and coriander. But I often bulk it out with roasted cauliflower or squash or a drained tin of chickpeas too.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • a pinch of fresh curry leaves will take this curry to the next level
  • 1/2 a white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tsp ground/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground/grated turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt – or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tin coconut milk
  • rice, fresh coriander, chilli flakes, lime wedges to serve

Method

  1. Get your rice on to cook then heat up a pan with your vegetable oil to medium-high. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook them until they start to crackle and pop. They should get very fragrant. If you can get fresh curry leaves where you are, add a pinch of them now too and swoon at the gorgeous fragrance.
  2. Then add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and starting to turn golden brown. Add the sliced garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. While the onions and garlic cook, slice the tough ends off your banana and peel it. Cut the skin widthways into three roughly pinky-finger length chunks, then cut those chunks lengthways into nice thin strips. Add the banana skin to the pan and stir.
  4. Add the turmeric, ginger and curry powder and stir well. The curry will be quite dry now so add a splash or two of water and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water as needed until the banana skins have softened.
  5. Slice the banana flesh into thin, diagonal ovals and add them to the pan with the salt and pepper. Stir gently for a couple of minutes to warm up the banana, add another splash of water if needed.
  6. Add the coconut milk and turn the heat down to simmer. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or a squeeze of lime if acidity is called for.
  7. Serve piled next to rice. Add a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some chilli flakes/slices for heat if you wish and enjoy!

5 Food Waste Tips

At the farm in Galway, our rescue pigs George and Florence enjoy any graded out or unsold vegetables from the packing shed.

When we think of food waste, throwing out a wobbly carrot or a bruised apple, we usually just think of it as a waste of a few cents. But food waste is actually one of the largest contributors to climate change. Growing, processing and transporting food uses significant resources, so if food is wasted then those resources are wasted too. It is estimated that globally, around 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to grow food which is then wasted. That’s a lot of land that could be returned to the wild and a lot of wasted food emitting methane as it rots.

If food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Food waste occurs at every level of the food supply chain:

  • On farms, whole crops can be rejected by supermarkets due to size, shape or cost.
  • In processing centres food waste is common, if something gets mislabelled it’s cheaper to just throw it all away rather than relabel.
  • At distribution centres, whole palettes of perfectly good food can be thrown away because of a spill.
  • Supermarkets continue to be hugely wasteful with food by deliberately over ordering to keep shelves looking fully stocked. A well packed shelf encourages consumers to buy.
  • We consumers are actually the worst offenders. Households generate more than half of all food waste in the EU.

We can’t control the wasteful decisions made by supermarkets but we can control our household food waste and our buying decisions. Skipping the wasteful middle man (supermarkets) and buying directly from farmers goes a long way to cutting your food waste. Make it easy by setting up a repeat order with us today. But there is more we can do in our homes. We’ve boiled down 5 ways to avoid food waste below. Hope you find it useful!

1. Plan & Prepare

  • Write a menu for the week before shopping and only buy what you need. Or if you get a weekly veg box delivered then write a menu as you unpack the box and stick it on your fridge.
  • Plan to use up delicate ingredients with a shorter shelf life first. Things like salads, herbs and greens first, save the hardier root vegetables for later in the week.
  • Before you buy even more fresh food, shop from your own fridge, freezer and pantry. How many more meals can you make with what you already have?
  • If you know you don’t have much time for cooking, spend some time meal prepping:
  • Cook batches of soups/stews/bakes, freeze them in portions to be taken out when you need them.
  • Make yourself a sort of ‘fridge buffet’ which you can dip into for lunches – separate boxes of cooked grains, roasted veg, dips, dressings – for food safety, only do 3 days worth at a time.
  • Pre-wash and chop all the veg you need for your menu so that when you come to cook it’s much quicker. But be careful doing this kind of prep as chopped veg doesn’t last as long as whole. Only do this 3 days in advance maximum.

2. Storage

  • Learn how best to store different fruits, herbs and vegetables so that they stay fresh longer. 
  • Should they be in the fridge or in a dark cupboard or a fruit bowl? Do they need to be in water to stay fresh longer? Are they better in or out of their packaging? Is it better to store them muddy or clean?
  • Always rotate! Put new ingredients behind older ones and use up the old ingredients first.
  • If you don’t eat a lot of bread, store sliced bread in the freezer and just take out a few slices at a time when you need it.

3. Eat ‘Root to Shoot’

  • Think to yourself, ‘does this really need to be peeled?’. Probably not. Especially if you are using our organic produce. Also, by not peeling you get the maximum nutrition and fibre out of the veg.
  • Question which parts of the vegetables you are discarding. Cauliflower and broccoli leaves and stalks are all edible and delicious. Carrot tops are a brilliant parsley-like herb substitute. Beetroot leaves can be eaten like chard. Mushroom stalks are edible. The core of cabbages can be finely sliced and added to stir fries. The dark green tops of leeks and spring onions are edible…
  • Any clean peelings and offcuts you do have can be collected in a box in the freezer. When you have enough to fill your largest pot, you can simmer them in water to make a tasty and nutritious stock.

4. Love Your Leftovers 

  • Have a strict rule that any leftovers from dinner must be eaten for lunch the next day (or frozen for another meal).
  • Find imaginative ways to repurpose your leftovers into another meal. Can it be turned into a soup or a curry or a pasta sauce? Can it be baked into a pie or a frittata? Would it be nice in a wrap or a sandwich? Can it be bulked out with some more fresh veg and simply eaten again?
  • Make croutons or breadcrumbs with stale bread or the bread ends you would otherwise throw out.

5. Preserve Any Excess

  • If you have a glut of a certain fruit or vegetable, find out the best way to preserve it:
  • Make chutney, jam or pickles? There are endless recipes online for inventive ways to make delicious jars of tangy chutneys and pickles and sweet jams. 
  • Lacto-ferment? Using just salt and a little know-how, transform your unused cabbages into sauerkraut or kimchi or your cucumber into sour dills. Any vegetable can be fermented. 
  • Freeze? Find out the best way to freeze your excess. Does it need blanching first?
  • Dry? Use a low oven or a dehydrator to dry out excess fruit or veg. Then rehydrate it when you need it (garlic, mushrooms, carrot slices…), eat it dry as a snack (apple rings, mango, kale crisps…) or blitz into powder and make your own bouillon (celery, onion, garlic, carrot, herbs, mushrooms…).

Pumpkin Srirawcha

Sriracha is an absolutely addictive hot sauce which originated in Thailand. It’s so good that it has broken in to pretty much all food shops worldwide. If you’ve not squirted it over your noodles or rice or mixed it with mayo to dunk chips in, you are missing out. There are countless recipes online to recreate your own version, but being the ferment-obsessed chef I am, I make it raw and lacto-fermented. Sounds complicated, but it’s actually easier than cooking the sauce and it lasts better too! This seasonal pumpkin version is really really good. A fab way to use up your carved pumpkins shortly after halloween? Or for even more flavour just use any winter squash like butternut or our own grown Kuri Squash.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • pumpkin or winter squash – roughly 300g
  • natural salt – 3% of the pumpkin weight so 3g for every 100g pumpkin
  • chilli – to taste, I used 6 red chillies
  • garlic – to taste, I used a whole bulb
  • ginger – optional and to taste, I used a thumbs worth

Method

  1. Ensure you have a clean work surface, large mixing bowl and glass jar. You will also need a clean chopping board, knife, grater and small blender.
  2. Grate the squash into a large bowl. Weigh how much you have grated then work out what 3% of that weight is.
  3. Add the 3% weight of natural salt and mix it well into the grated squash.
  4. Remove the chilli stalks and peel the garlic. Then blend the chilli, garlic and ginger into a paste in a small blender or smoothie maker. You may need to add a splash of water to help it blend.
  5. Using a utensil or gloved hands, mix the chilli paste into the grated, salted pumpkin.
  6. Then tightly pack the mixture into a large jar. You want to avoid creating air pocked in the mix so use a spoon or a rolling pin to ensure everything is squished in nice and tight.
  7. Add a ‘follower’ and a weight to hold the mixture below the brine and prevent exposure to air. A good example of a follower is a cabbage leaf and you can use a glass ramekin or a small water glass to weigh it down.
  8. Put the lid on the jar (or if it doesn’t fir over the weight then cover with a tea towel and secure with an elastic band or piece of string) and allow the mixture to ferment at room temperature for at least 1 week.
  9. If your lid is secure, you will need to ‘burp’ your jar once or twice a day to allow gases to escape. Simply loosen and re-close the jar. If you are using a clip top jar it will self-burp. Remove the rubber ring to help it breath easier.
  10. After a week your sriracha will be tangy and facto-fermented. Scrape it out into a clean blender or a jug and blend into a smooth sauce.
  11. Pour into a squeeze bottle or any vessel you prefer and refrigerate. The sauce should last well in the fridge, at least 3 months.
  12. Enjoy on everything that needs a spicy kick!

Quick Pickled Romanesco

Romanesco are the most stunning vegetables. Closely related to cauliflower and broccoli they can be used interchangeably in place of them in recipes. We have an incredible crop of them right now, in fact we have too many! The unseasonably warm autumn has meant our brassicas, which we hoped to harvest in the winter, are ready early! Will you help us prevent food waste by ordering an extra Romanesco or two with your next order? Why not steam and freeze some for a rainy day? Did you know that ensuring your freezer is always full makes it run more efficiently and use less electricity? Or another easy way to preserve the harvest is to make this delicious quick pickle.

This beautiful, pine-tree-like vegetable would be perfect on the Christmas table, and although ‘quick pickles’ don’t last as long as the canned variety, it should be fine for Christmas if you make some in the next few weeks. Just keep your jars in the back of the fridge. Delicious with crackers and cheese or on salads or stew, pickles are often that missing tangy ingredient.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 romanesco, cut into small florets & the stem/core thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, peeled & sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tbsp each: black pepper, mustard seeds, ground turmeric (or your choice of pickle spices)
  • 600ml apple cider vinegar
  • 600ml water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp salt

Method

  1. Sterilise enough jars to fit your vegetables. You can do this in a number of ways. I simply wash and rinse them then place them in a clean sink and fill up the jars and lids with freshly boiled water from a kettle. Leave to sit for a minute then carefully tip out the water (use oven gloves or a folded tea towel so you don’t burn your hands) and let the jars air dry.
  2. Divide the garlic and spices between the jars then fill up with the Romanesco and onion slices.
  3. Heat the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a pan until just boiling. Then pour the solution over the vegetables so that they are completely submerged. Make more of the vinegar solution if needed. It all depends on the size of your Romanesco!
  4. Immediately secure the lids on the jars whilst they are still piping hot. Allow to cool on the counter and then place in the fridge. They should be ready to eat in 3 days and will last well for 2 or 3 months.
Add some extra Romanesco to your next order.

Can We Afford Cheap Food?

During the week I had the privilege of speaking at a food waste event organised by Concern Ireland.

As children my mum instilled in us an ethos of never wasting food (or anything else for that matter), we were rightly or wrongly always encouraged to finish our dinner.  

To this day she finds it very difficult to stay away from our “waste shelf” in the packing shed. This shelf is where all the worthwhile graded out produce is made available to the packing team to take home.

Up until recently and for many, many years, my mum could be found in there sifting through all the waste produce and salvaging anything that was good enough, then filling her car boot and bringing it all over Galway to people who needed it.

Like my dad’s work ethic, my mum’s need to save the food must have been programmed in her genes!  Their generation was not one that could afford to waste food. Food took up a more sizeable percentage of their disposable income and so had a higher value. In our society today the idea that food is valuable has changed, and unfortunately not for the better. 

Food waste is a major global issue. If it was a country, it would be the third biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions!  Food produced on nearly one third of all agricultural land is thrown straight in the bin! 

Here in Ireland, we dump 50% of all the salads we buy and an amazing 25% of all fresh fruit and veg! 

1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year! This is an unimaginable amount, here in Ireland the figure is nearly 1 million tonnes, which contributes 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere. 

These figures are staggering and bewildering but unfortunately not at all surprising. The cheap food culture engineered over the last five decades and evangelised by supermarkets has meant that we do not as consumers see value in fresh food. We expect it to be cheap. 

We expect it also to be shiny and picture perfect and uniform. Supermarkets actively discriminate against oddly shaped produce, or vegetables that are under or over spec. Our cabbage, the cabbage that you are getting in your boxes this week in a supermarket system would be graded out because they are too big!  

When I think of the land, and the planning and the work and the energy that is involved in bringing a crop to harvest it makes me feel angry and sad that somebody somewhere might consider that because of what a crop looks like it should be wasted. This is a system that has lost its way. 

Our food system is meandering dangerously close to it’s own undoing and as we stare into an uncertain future where climate change is playing a larger and larger part in our ability to grow food, eliminating food waste needs to be a priority. 

My mum’s relentless energy in making sure we as a business kept food waste to a minimum was one small part in a much bigger chain, but she played and continues to play an important part in at least keeping me on the straight and narrow and she never lets me forget that food is just too valuable to waste.

Needless to say, and as always (and I never get tired of saying it) your support for our business means that the issue of food waste will always be at the top of our agenda.

Thanks

Kenneth 

Rhubarb & Almond Clafoutis

A clafoutis is a classic French dessert, somewhere between a cake and a pudding. It’s normally made with cherries but here’s my seasonal twist with gorgeous, tangy rhubarb and flaked almonds. The other twist? This recipe is plant based and low food waste, the eggs are replaced with aquafaba which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas or white beans which is normally discarded. I love it served warm, scooped out of the dish into bowls with yoghurt or custard but it’s also delicious chilled and served in slices. Give it a try and let me know how you like it? And of course, switch the fruit for whatever you fancy. I even make a savoury version with asparagus or cherry tomatoes…the possibilities are endless!

Apart from the taste, the whole joy of this recipe is that it is very forgiving, hence the super-simple mug measurements. Some of my cakes require exact weights to work but this little beauty is a chilled out affair. Just grab a regular sized mug to weigh out your sugar and flour (not American style ‘cup’ measurements) and if you don’t have a measuring tbsp, just use a dessert spoon for the oil/milk. A few grams amiss here and there won’t affect the bake as it’s more of a pudding than a cake, so just trust your instincts and go for it. If you have a really big roasting dish or flan dish, use a big mug and enough rhubarb to cover the base in a single layer. And enjoy the easy, relaxed method!

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter/margarine
  • 1 handful sugar
  • 5 or so stalks of rhubarb
  • the liquid from a 400g can of chickpeas or white beans
  • 1/2 mug sugar
  • 1 mug plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (or 1 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp vinegar)
  • a pinch of salt (omit if your aquafaba came from a salted tin)
  • 3 tbsp oat milk (or more if needed)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 handful flaked almonds (optional)
  • yoghurt or custard to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C. Find a large flan dish or medium roasting dish.
  2. Butter the base of the dish then scatter over a handful of sugar. 
  3. Rinse and cut your rhubarb into bite sized chunks then arrange them in the dish.
  4. Pour the aquafaba from a can of chickpeas or white beans into a large mixing bowl. Keep  the beans/chickpeas in a box in the fridge to use later today or tomorrow.
  5. Whisk the aquafaba until frothy, then add the 1/2 mug of caster sugar and whisk until creamy.
  6. Fold in the plain flour and baking powder (if your aquafaba came from an unsalted tin, add a pinch of salt now too).
  7. Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla. You should have a thick, creamy batter. If it’s too thick, add a splash more milk and stir again.
  8. Pour the batter over the rhubarb and spread it evenly. Scatter over the handful of flaked almonds if using.
  9. Bake in the oven until golden brown and just set. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes. The cake should still have some wobble and the rhubarb should be just cooked through and tender. 
  10. If you find it’s browning too much on top before being cooked through, move it to a lower part of your oven and cover the dish with a baking sheet or some baking parchment.
  11. Serve warm in large scoops with a dollop of yoghurt or custard. Or allow it to chill and set – the texture will become less pudding-like and more cake-like as it cools. You can then slice it and serve it in wedges like a regular cake. 
  12. Feel free to play around with the recipe substituting seasonal fruit or frozen berries as you like. I even make a savoury version with asparagus or cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and feta. Simply substitute the sugar for more flour and seasoning.

Food Waste

Hopefully we will all be doing what the carrots in this photo are doing soon!

Over the last 15 years we have seen a fair bit, and although generally things are never black and white, one thing stands out for me as being just that: food waste. Whatever way you look at it, it is wrong.

We work really hard here to reduce food waste, it is not always possible, but it is one of our core values. There are times when the quality just is not good enough and we will never ever compromise on the quality of what we send out in our boxes.

We grow our own food so we have a very good understanding of what is ok and what is not. We make sure we harvest as close to packing the boxes as possible, we work with other growers to ensure we have the freshest best produce. 

But there is one thing we never do, we never discriminate based on looks, on wonkiness. If a carrot is wrapped around another carrot will we grade it out? Absolutely not, we will CELEBRATE it, If a potato is showing a little cheekiness, well that is absolutely ok with us. In fact, we want vegetables like that.

This ‘WONKY’ food tastes the same, it has the same nutritional value, it looks the same on our plates it has been grown sustainably on organic land. It makes a lot of sense to us to NOT grade out vegetables like that. I guess we are pretty lucky that we do not have to conform to supermarket standards, that we set out own standards and we can do this because we know you our customers are ok with getting cheeky potatoes every now and again.

Ultimately, we appreciate this because we know how hard it is to grow food. Right now, as I write, this we are behind with our planting, the weather is not being very seasonal, it is to reach 2C tonight and the temperatures have been very disappointing for May and heading into June it is still wet and cold.

I hope we get a break soon, as we have plants backing up waiting to go into the wet fields, and the plants that are already in the fields are behind where they should be. It is hard not to feel a little anxious, will the weather ever give us a break? Every year it is has, and this year I hope will be no different, so, we wait and be patient, there really is very little else we can do.

So, as a farmer when you consider all the effort required to produce the food it would be extremely disheartening to think the end result might be your produce being dumped in a bin. We have designed a food storage fridge magnet flyer to help you in the first step to avoid food waste – correct storage and using your delicate fruit and veg first is key. It’ll be packed in all the boxes next week. We hope you find it useful! Read our blog about food waste here for more ideas on how to cut your food waste.

Many growers of course have these rules imposed on them by the people that hold the keys to the kingdom: the supermarkets. Food does get rejected based on appearance and this is something that gets under my skin, it is wrong for so many reasons.

Many growers of course have these rules imposed on them by the people that hold the keys to the kingdom: the supermarkets. Food does get rejected based on appearance and this is something that gets under my skin, it is wrong for so many reasons.

I believe we are promised warmth and full sun tomorrow and that is good, it means we can get on with the work of growing food, and that makes me happy. Our carrots when they come later in the season may not be perfectly perfect in shape, but they are prefect in every other way.

Thank you for supporting our farm and know that in doing so, not only are you contributing to reducing your carbon footprint, and reducing your waste burden on our planet, you are also contributing to reducing food waste and supporting these cheeky potatoes and loving carrots!

Thank you


Kenneth

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Ok, yes, it’s a lockdown cliché, but banana bread is one of the most useful recipes to have in your arsenal against the war on food waste! Got any over-ripe or bruised bananas? Please don’t throw them in the bin! My recipe is easy and adaptable, dairy and egg free, and oh so delicious! Liz x

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 8-10 bananas
  • 1/2 mug oil
  • 1/2 mug milk (I use oat milk)
  • 1 mug sugar (I love our whole cane sugar for this)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 mugs plain flour (our organic spelt flour is delicious here)
  • 2 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate (Or lave plain. Or add other optional extras, like walnuts, dates, peanut butter…)

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 175C and line two tins with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mash 8 very ripe bananas.
  3. Add the oil, milk, sugar and vanilla and mix well to combine.
  4. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and mix into a sticky batter.
  5. Chop the chocolate (if using) and fold it through the batter. Here’s where you can fold through other optional extras too if you like. A swirl of peanut butter? Some chopped walnuts and dates?
  6. Divide the batter into two loaf tins. Add slices of banana on top and an optional sprinkle of brown sugar and bake.
  7. The loaves normally take around 30-40 minutes to cook through*. *TOP TIP – cover the loaves with a baking sheet or some foil or baking parchment after about 25 minutes in the oven to stop them colouring too much on top before they are cooked through in the middle.
  8. Serve in thick slices as they are or with butter or my favourite, peanut butter!

Pigs and Plastic

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.

Kenneth

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.