Growing your own has become the new trend for many hospitality establishments. If they’ve got land, many country houses and restaurants are using it to grow fruits and vegetables to supply the menu. In smaller situations, everything from rooftop raised beds to plant pots and window boxes are being used to deliver a fresh local produce experience. We can’t think of a better way to keep things seasonal and interesting. Plus cut down on the need to source suppliers for those little unusual fresh items we love to find on menus. Rathmullan House in Donegal has been growing it’s own for many a year. This secluded country house has a traditional walled garden, which has long been prolific in supplying the menu of the restaurant here. A brand new polytunnel adds to the diversity of produce. Rathmullan’s lovingly tended garden grows a range of fresh herbs, apples, pears, loganberries, tayberries and blackberries, black, white and redcurrants, rhubarb, quince and plums, a selection of green beans, micro greens, Jersualem and Globe artichokes, tomatoes, courgettes, purple sprouting broccoli and chard. Impressive! All this gorgeous produce forms a direct connection from garden to kitchen, and means lots of variety in recipe development for new dishes, plus a clutch of homemade jams, jellies and preserves for the table.To mark the wealth of homegrown produce, the restaurant has now changed its name from The Weeping Elm to The Cook and Gardener Restaurant The dining room now takes on a conservatory style feel, with contemporary furnishings – losing the linen in favour of uncluttered tables and clean modern lines. For those who loved the fairy light bedecked ceiling of the Weeping Elm, don’t worry, it’s still there! The name change and up to the minute look befits Rathmullan’s total commitment to offering an Irish ingredient led experience on it’s set menu, plus dishes on the new a la carte choice. New Head Chef Michael Harley is creating up to the minute dishes featuring all the seasonal produce from Rathmullan’s walled garden. Downstairs Rathmullan’s summer bistro – The Taproom (formerly Cellar Bar), now serves an array of real stonebaked pizzas, from the pizza oven outside. The real wood fired oven makes pizzas with crisp bases and luscious toppings, some of which may include some seasonal garden produce. All cooked by Kemal Scarpelo – one of the house’s former chefs. It’s all about Pizza and Beer at the Taproom with a range of Irish craft beers on tap from local craft beer makers Kinnegar Brewing. There’s a full bar service and wines if you fancy another tipple. A good informal dining destination this time of year. Visit soon and ask for a wander round the garden while you’re at it. Owner Mark Wheeler is only too happy to show off the substantial growing area which has put this house on the culinary map. If you haven’t been there yet, you’ll love it. Peace and quiet, cosy rooms and the new look dining room make for a ‘get away from it all’ break in majestic Donegal.