Ancient Wisdom & Modern Technique
The Japanese have a saying; "A man cannot fully understand himself, until he has a garden". It is probably fair to say that humankind has lost that connection to the earth, and because of the ravages we have inflicted on the "garden" which has supported us for thousands of years, we may never find it again, however carefully we look.
Climate Change is possibly the single biggest threat to the safety of our planet and those living on it since the last Ice Age. Our species cannot survive without our planet, and the more damage we inflict upon it, the more detached from our own humanity we become. Unless we start to focus on the massive issue of global warming and tackle its causes, we will no doubt be remembered as the generation who allowed it to spiral out of control.
By sourcing as much seasonal, local produce as we can, reducing our waste, employing local people, and embracing the basic principles of fair trade, the staff at McGrory’s do what we can to combat some of the most common causes of climate change. By observing the seasons and working closely with like-minded Irish producers, we form a strong link in a very important chain.
One such supplier we are privileged to trade with is The Haven Smoke-house. Sue Cruse and Declan McConnelogue are the quintessential Irish Artisan Food Producers. Everything is done by hand on a very small scale, and their “Organic Turf Smoked Salmon” could not be more genuine. When you taste it there and then in their smokery in Carrigart, with some fresh sour-dough, the taste is mesmerising. Their produce is not something that was born out of adversity or necessity, but rather out of an unwavering resolve to create something beautiful, sustainable and unique to the area.
Declan’s slow, ethical and patient way of working wasn’t uncommon hundreds of years ago. The success of the harvest was crucial to the survival of communities, so making the bounty last was of paramount importance. Before refrigeration and freezing there was pickling, smoking and fermentation.
Thanks to globalisation, we can have Peruvian Asparagus in December and Fresh Greek sea-bass all year round…..Yet, there is no quota for catching sea-bass in Ireland, and Asparagus doesn’t come in to season until the summer!
Fortunately I am blessed to be living and working in the beautiful peninsula of Inishowen, where the abundance of the highest quality produce rivals anywhere in the world. I have easy access to fresh seafood and pristine shellfish, organic vegetables and the highest grade of meat and poultry. A cool, steady climate, unspoilt pasture-land which is rich in minerals, and a long tradition of dedicated animal husbandry makes Inishowen a unique food destination. So why wouldn’t I just use what’s locally available?!
“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves”.
Through my love of food, and my deep respect for the natural world, I have come to realise that, like ourselves, our environment is finite. Perhaps I am fortunate to have this outlook, as it keeps me in awe of the beauty around me. The strange thing is, not everyone seems to understand this, or maybe they just have more important things to worry about.
So the message is if you are able to read this blog, then you are able to make at least one small change that will have a positive knock-on effect on our world.