In Celebration of Seasonality
In the northern hemisphere the summer solstice, also known as midsummer is usually marked on the 21st June. Celebrated for centuries as the middle of summer, that moment in the year when the path of the sun in the sky is farthest north, bringing with it the longest period of daylight.
With it also come all sorts of traditions, many of which focus on nature and ensuring a successful harvest. Many of these customs still persist today, such as lighting bonfires, sharing food and gathering around a flower-festooned maypole to sing and dance. Eating seasonally is intrinsically linked with these events. In days past they saw out the season passed and ushered in the new, with hopes of a bountiful harvest to see them through the summer and allow preserving for over the winter. Food supplies have changed since these times and supply is rarely an issue now in the western world however many have returned to eating seasonally and here at Ardkeen Quality Food Store we encourage and support that ethos. Seasonality is also about enjoyment not abstinence and whenever a particular ingredient goes out of season, you can guarantee that another delicious food comes back in.
The first of the much anticipated summer season produce such as new potatoes and strawberries were traditionally eaten at the Solstice celebration. There is therefor, a lovely synergy in this week’s Thursday Tasting at 3 at AQFS in that it falls on our summer solstice, 21st June and yes… we are tasting the very first of our locally grown new potatoes from Nicky Keoghs fertile fields in Wexford.
Like much of the fruit and vegetables this year, the weather has kept us waiting and has meant that the new potatoes are about three weeks later than usual. But as is often said, what is rare is beautiful and on this occasion I will add that what is rare and late is even more beautiful.
With the first of our new potatoes, we will also be tasting this seasons garlic scapes. Specialising in Irish Garlic, scapes and asparagus, the good folk at Drummond House farm in the village of Baltray in Louth, are providing truly beautiful and much sought after produce to restaurants and a small number of retail outlets and we have them! Harvested about three weeks before the garlic itself, scapes make for sumptuous dishes. Only available for a short period each year they can be made into wonderful pesto, hummus, and salads or blanched in olive oil sea salt, black pepper and grilled for 2 minutes allowing the flavours to sweeten and mellow. Perfect for summer dining.
So expect much oohing and ahhing on Thursday when the new spuds hit the floor, Tinnock’s Homemade Butter at the ready and Oriel Irish Mineral Sea Salt crumbling between your fingers, delivering a powerful yet smooth saltiness to those skins. Trying scapes for the first time is a taste and sensory treat so don’t miss it. Your summer may be about to change.
See you from 3
The ‘100% Irish Growers’ Box
This mixed fruit & veg delivery is exactly as described....100% Irish grown produce sourced from small-scale farmers.
By stocking Irish or better still, locally grown produce, which has not been stored and transported from afar, we can guarantee the superior freshness and quality, as well as the ultimate in tractability.
Our current '100% Irish Growers' Box contains a selection of 8 fresh seasonal produce:
- Violetta Potatoes .5kg [Drogheda, Louth] Ballymakenny Farm
- Mixed Salad Leaves [Dunhill, Co. Waterford] Barefoot Farms
- Asparagus [Baltray, Co. Louth] Drummond House
- Strawberries [Waterford]
- Red Cabbage [ New Ross,Co. Wexford] Tom Cleary
- Fancy Fungi, Forest Mix Mushrooms [The George Family, Co. Wexford]
- Grantstown Tomation [David Curid, Grantstown Co. Waterford]
- Grantstown Red Cherry Tomatoes [David Curid, Grantstown Co. Waterford]
Our suppliers are small scale and occasionally the produce listed or shown in the photo may not be available, where this occurs we will substitute with items of similar quality and value.
The Crean Family Greenhill Wexford Strawberries 280g
Greenhill Fruit Farm - The Crean Family
Soil grown Wexford Strawberries for superior flavour!
Oriel Irish Mineral Sea Salt Kiln Dried 250g
Free flowing mineral sea salt has a powerful yet smooth taste delivering a new intensity of flavour to your recipes and food.
It’s free flowing, fine grain dissolves and blends rapidly in recipes. The perfect ingredient sea salt.
Oriel Irish Mineral Sea Salt Whiskey Smoked 250g
Oriel Mineral Sea Salt infused with Teeling Whiskey and aged oak hits all the senses. A powerful aroma yet smooth intensity of flavour leaves your taste buds looking for more. Allow this flavour to infuse your recipes and food for pure taste sensation.
It’s fine grain dissolves and blends rapidly in recipes or finish them with a sprinkle on top, this smoked sea salt elevates steaks, infuses burgers and brings new dimension to your cooking.