Organic food is better for the environment and better for you. However, I can’t stand the idea of buying organic food produced on the other side of the world.
When I first moved to Dublin, I really stuggled to find organic, seasonal local produce. After 5 years in Ireland, here are some tips that I would like to share:
- First of all you need to learn what fruits and vegetables are in season. If you have never had a garden or if you have just moved to Ireland I suggest that you visit “Best in Season” website and take a look at their seasonal calendar.
- Visit your local market and (when possible) buy directly from farmers/farm cooperatives: If you want to buy local, organic and seasonal produces the cheapest and nicest option is to visit your local market – a full list of Dublin’s markets is available here. It requires more organisation and planning than a visit to your local supermarket but the vegetables are so much nicer and if you buy your food directly from the producer, I can guarantee that it’s also cheaper.
- There are now several markets in Dublin where you can buy seasonal local produce. However I must confess that I am a big fan of McNally Family Farm – You can find them on Leopardstown Racecourse on Friday, Temple Bar Food Market on Saturday, and in The Peoples Park, DunLaoghaire on Sundays. Their vegetables are lovely and their organic butter is just… the best butter I have ever tasted!
- Grow your own fruits & vegetables: You don’t need a massive garden to grow at least some of your fruits & vegetables – even a patio or a balcony can do!I have grown the following fruits & vegetables on a Dublin balcony:
– Herbs: Parsley (+++), Thyme (+++), Lemon Thyme (++), Rosemary (+++), Chives (+++), Sage (+++), Basil (++ – Seeds should be started indoor)- Herbal Teas
– Vegetables: cherry tomatoes (++), radishes (+++), carrotts (+++), salad leaves (+++), French Beans (+ – I tried then last summer but they were just attacked by pests – must give them another go in 2012!)
– Edible flowers: Primroses (++) and nasturtium (++ – Nasturtium are great as they can also help to repel pets)
Note: +++: Easy to grow on a Dublin balcony / ++: Relatively easy to grow on a Dublin balcony / +: Difficult to grow on a Dublin balcony.
Don’t forget that it’s also very easy to grow your own sprouts (alfalfa, garden cress, etc.) – no matter how small your appartment is!
Click here for a DIY Growing Alfalfa Sprouts Video.