This is the second of a series of blog posts on health + wellness: the Irish way. I was in Ireland this past July visiting with my fathers family. You can read the first of this series here. If you would enjoy following along, (which I hope you will;)) please subscribe here and get these posts and some recent personal photographs sent right into your inbox.
Ireland, the soil rich and fertile and with high humidity makes it favourable for all things agriculture. The Irish have farmed for centuries; it is in their blood and part of who they are. Their fields mingle into their towns and villages. It’s all part of the Irish flavour and experience.
I quickly caught onto to the local fare. Within a first few bites of a very basic scone (served traditionally with cream, butter and strawberry jam) had me pining for more. A scone from Ireland is not the same as from round here. The flour, butter and ingredients are different than what we use. The flour is softer, the butter is richer.
There is a connection to the land and to the food that grows in Ireland. My uncle, a good cook, boasts of his farmer friend's ”floury potatoes.” ”Floury potatoes!?” - "Enjoy these 'balls of flour', they’ll melt in your mouth." I was taken aback by my uncle's glee over a potato.
Here in Calgary I go to the grocery store; I have three potato varieties to choose. None of them excite me.
While staying with my uncle I learned that 30 different varieties of potatoes exist. 😳 Who knew?!
Potatoes are a coveted prize from select farmers' fields in Ireland. ”That farmer's field produces good potatoes”, my uncle would say.
There's a depth of connection to the food. It's part of who the Irish are, their heritage, their local pride.
I visited quaint charming cafe's that serve artisanal coffees dotted all along the causeway coast of Northern Ireland. All grown locally and produced sustainably. Even the coffee is roasted locally to perfection.
When I arrived home from my trip this past July, I instantly missed the food and culture. The food here isn't quite the same.
The Irish know what their country is capable of producing and they’ve not taken it for granted. You can read more here and here. The broad community of Irish farmers have a mandate to produce high-quality, home-grown, Irish-food. Ireland covers 6.9 million hectares, of which 4.5 million hectares is used for agriculture. There are 137 500 farms, the vast majority of which are family-owned.
They’ve developed their craft to produce excellent quality food from butter, cheese, dairy, to meat, veg and fish and seafood.
The locals own a sense of pride for their land and what it produces. The Irish gov recognizes and celebrates it, encouraging its local and economic potential.
I think I've missed the simple beauty of locally grown food. Local Pride. One where a farmer leans in putting his heart and soul into his craft to produce high quality delicious, flavour-rich food. There is something meaningful, soulful; cultivating, caring for and resourcing, farming your land well to provide good quality food.
The work we do is important.
I observe the Irish taking pride in their work. The locals benefit enjoying great Irish farmed food.
This is good for the spirit of Ireland
As part of my Integrative Health and Wellness studies, I learned the importance of integrating the mind, body, and soul. Harmonizing these three components offers holistic, well-rounded health. What does this look like in real-time? Maybe it's in "the Irish way"? They’re big in heart and soul and have a gleeful zeal about the food and their land.
Have we lost sight of this in our modern tech society? Are we too quick to achieve the bottom line? Have we disconnected from our craft? The "meaning" and the journey many people feel a loss for in our fast pace, modern society.
Tuning in to your work with all of your mind, body, and soul. Integrating these three helps sustain us and gives us a high-level satisfaction of our wellbeing and connection to our work.
As I reflect on my time in Ireland, and how good the food tasted, I can see the Irish pride themselves on producing high-quality food. The quality that they achieve in their food production and their farming shows the farmers & the locals tune into their work and their craft, and they care about it. It builds local pride. It's good for the spirit of Ireland, good for the farmers and the locals. I'm inspired by their craft, the way they put their heart into it, and the joy they experience from it.
I love this. Check out this great offering by the Irish food board of the health benefits of gardening. https://www.bordbia.ie/lifestyle/gardening/benefits-gardening/