Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blackberry Wine

Wine from blackberries tastes best! This is a recipe from a good friend and expert winemaker. My own was left behind on the farm thinking I would never make wine again.
You need:
6 kg of fruit, a 25 l plastic bucket, 2 x 375 g sultanas
4 Campden tablets
2 sachets of Vinvik
4 spoons full of Pactolase (enzyme for making wine)
2-3 teabags of black tea
Demi Johns and sterilized wine bottles.
Pour fruit in a 25l plastic bucket. Crush fruit and slowly pour boiling water onto 6 kg of sugar until sugar has dissolved –this accelerates the fermentation process. Pour over fruit. Take 2 packets of sultanas (375g each), clean fruit and discard the water. Crush sultanas and add to fruit. Let 2-3 teabags steep in 1 cup of water. It adds tannin to wine. Fill up bucket with warm water until ¾ full. Dissolve 4 Campden tablets, available at homebrew stores. Add to mixture. It prevents wine turning into vinegar.
Cover well with muslin cloth and store in a warm place. Add wine yeast the next day. In Ireland, it was called Vinvik. You can take any other Bordeaux yeast but no beer yeast. 2 sachets suffice. Prepare according to instructions on sachets and add to fruit mixture. Add 4 table spoons of Pactolase. Stir every day if you find the time. Keep at warm temperature (25C). After a week or two, fill into Demi-Johns (gallon sized bottles with airlocks).
Remove Demi-Johns after 6-8 weeks, strain and fill into bottles. What you see in the picture below under "Homebrew" are a number of Demi-Johns bubbling away on kitchen table, making weird noises. Actually, you needn’t chop the fruit too finely. That way it just takes longer until wine is ready. If you don’t want to wait for you yummy wine, crush the fruit well.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Our local Whole Food Shop offers an organic beer and wine tasting and is making it a monthly recurring event. How times have changed!
Before we emigrated to Ireland, all we drank were organic wines due to the bad press conventional wines had received in Germany. The idea of having vineyards sprayed with pesticides from the air by planes put us off. Then an article in the London Times, Nov. 2001, confirmed my wildest fears about Chilean wines. Laborers in Chilean vineyards were suffering congenital neurological and respiratory defects in the second generation then due to the lavish, carefree application of pesticides and insecticides from the air.
In Ireland at the time, no organic wines were available, only came onto the market at horrendous prices years later. What is an organic farmer supposed to do if not make his own wine? We made strawberry, blackberry, elderberry and red currant wines in our kitchen the old fashioned way not using wine making kits that were available in the local homebrew store. Those and also organic cider.
The containers adorned the kitchen table and made interesting noises while fermenting away. Recipe to follow. Need to translate it first.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Story about Baby Cut Carrots

Distracted as I am easily, I found this info worthwhile to include here.
From the Department of Life Education:

Baby Carrots:The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAWS, etc.

The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots - most people probably know this already.
What you may not know and should know is the following:
Once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used in your pool).
Since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine.
You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing vegetables?
Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen, which causes Cancer. I thought this was worth passing on. Pass it on to as many people as possible in hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed.
I used to buy those baby carrots for vegetable dips. I know that I will never buy them again!!!!

Confirmed by Snopes in part. Could anybody help investigate if that is true for organic ones true? Since they wash organic eggs in chlorine solution I wouldn't put it past them!
In my next blog I'll yell you how we coped with an abundance of carrots on our organic farm.