One down eleven to go

January is almost done. Aren’t we glad to see the back of the hardest month of the year? You bet we are! The festivities of Christmas seem long in the past. New Year’s resolutions may well have already been forgotten. The marmalade has been made for another year. We’ve survived a month of the damp dark days, and are already looking forward to spring. It creeps ever closer. As February approaches fast, we are already seeing a stretch in the evenings, albeit small. The gardens are announcing brighter days, with the daffs pushing their heads up through the soil. This is the time to think about what you might grow that’s edible for the summer season. Our list includes plenty of fresh herbs for those summer barbecues and grills, a few new spuds to take delight in for an al fresco feast, maybe some tomatoes to slice and serve drizzled with Irish rapeseed oil or olive oil, and a good zap of lemon juice. The adventurous might consider peppers, chillis and other exotics. Courgettes grow like wildfire once they are established. You just can’t pick them quick enough! There’s always another one ready to plump once the bigger ones have been harvested. Our chefs with kitchen gardens, like The Malton Hotel in Killarney, The Ballymore Inn in Ballymore Eustace and of course Ballymaloe House and Cookery School, already have their seasonal planting in place. We can only commend them! Whilst the amateurs are busy mulling it over in the last remaining days of this month and wondering whether to buy a new spade, they are already up and running with a full programme of planting, just to keep your plates filled with the best of homegrown produce. How lucky we are at Good Food Ireland, to have all these enthusiastic cooks and growers to rely on!