The rain, the muck and being grateful

As I was walking the crops the other evening and the sun was setting on our fields, so early now compared to even a month ago, it struck me as it always does how beautiful and bountiful our natural world is.

The rain of the last week or so has left the land sodden and mucky. Thankfully we had harvested a decent haul of parsnips before the land became unmanageable, parsnips can be very difficult to get out of the ground when you are knee deep in water. We are harvesting the last of the outdoor celery this week and not a moment too soon, as the mild wet conditions have led to the start of a fungal infection in the plants which is common at this time of year (in the absence of chemicals). We will move into the polytunnels which should give us another 2-3 weeks supply of IRISH organic celery. Our first harvest of celeriac is starting this week, a very underrated and sometimes labelled “UGLY” vegetable. I would heartily disagree on that one, after all its often what is on the inside that counts, and its beauty is definitely on the inside: the smell and the flavour of fresh celeriac is something that is quite amazing!

Our own freshy harvested carrots are still in season but not for much longer, thankfully we have a great supply of fresh Irish carrots for some time to come yet. We are delighted to be getting the first harvest of Irish organic brussel sprouts from Padraigh Fahy of Beechlawn organic farm this week.  They are easily one of my favourite vegetables of the year, and his sprouts are definitely worth the wait. Emmanuel and Brenda have been very busy harvesting our own leeks every week and they are spectacularly fresh, so rich in flavour and taste, and there is nothing like smelling the crates of leeks as they come out of the field. There are all the other usual Irish organic staples, kales, mushrooms, herbs, winter cabbage, potatoes and more. We are grateful for the food we can produce here and feel lucky to have deep fertile soil and plenty of water to allow the plants to thrive.  (Too much water by a long way in some parts this week).  Some areas of the world are not so lucky.

A new report from the UN University (UNU) in Germany has set out a series of risk tipping points that are approaching. The groundwater risk tipping point has already been passed in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and is close in India, the report said. Saudi Arabia was a major wheat exporter in the 1990s but now imports the cereal after the groundwater wells were exhausted. It is undeniable that we are deep into our planetary overdraft with the limit looming, the natural equilibrium that leaves earths ecosystems in balance has been dangerously tipped towards the unsustainable, and we now find ourselves in unchartered territory. The floods, the fires and the droughts that are now occurring with a ferocious intensity and a frequency that was unthinkable only a decade ago.  The highest monthly surface temperature ever recorded was in July and was probably the hottest the planet has been in 100,000 years. We have accomplished all of this is in the last 200 years.

But there is much to be hopeful about too: the speed of adoption of renewable energy, the electrification of our transport system, the shift to local more plant-based diets, and an overwhelming desire for change and demand for sustainable practices from businesses and government by you and I. This is the world we advocate for a new world where nature is respected as a resource to be protected. After all, it provides everything we now have: our food, homes, and clothes and even the peace of mind that a walk in nature brings.

This is the future that we vote for, this is the future that we fight every day for. We know that we don’t always get it right, that we have a long way to go, that we are not perfect, but we aspire to doing better every single day.

Thank you for your support and Happy Halloween!