Niamh McCartan is our Fresh Produce Co-ordinator at the Co-op. She is responsible for keeping our racks full of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables all year round.
During this time of year known as ‘the hungry gap’ (from around March to the beginning of June), Ireland saw a period of time in which most crops were sparse and our diets became very simple. Traditionally, we were mostly reliant on the vegetables available in our winter stores (potatoes, carrots and beets), save some leeks and cabbage and foraged plants such as nettles to bulk up our cooking.
Lucky for our rumbling stomachs in present day Ireland, we now can access a vast array of produce from countries with a kinder climate for farming produce than ours.
Finding new Producers
In line with trying to close the gap and widen variety and availability of Irish produce, we are interested to find more Irish organic producers of fruits and vegetables. We have worked with Beechlawn Farm, Oliver Kelly, Sonairte National Ecological Centre, Mick Gordon and McNally’s Farm to provide Irish produce to members.
We regularly look into new suppliers (and previously unavailable) who might grow and deliver seasonal produce not accessible by our current Irish suppliers. Do you know someone who grows? Are they near or in neighbouring counties of Dublin and deliver into the city? What produce do they grow? If you know a farmer who you think grows the nicest fruits & vegetables you’ve ever tasted and could deliver to us, please, do not keep it a secret!
We currently have a supply from Una Ni Bhroin and Padraig Fahy from Beechlawn Farm in Ballinasloe, Co.Galway who do a stellar job of providing us with fresh produce twice a week even during these hungry times!
We are currently drawing up a growing plan with Oliver Kelly from Kiltegan, Co.Wicklow. All going well, we should see his produce in the later part of this year.
Do you know local growers that may be interested in supplying the Co-op in the future? Any information about suppliers can be sent on to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Co-op, we have managed to source wonderful organic, local eggs from David and Paul of Butlers’ Organic Egg Farm. Aoife Hammond recently visited their farm in Co. Carlow...