A second-generation organic farmer, Kitty Colchester has a deep knowledge of the land where she grew up. When she turned her hand to making rapeseed oil, she did so within the framework of gentler processes: the result has a more complex flavour than many others and has become a favourite of Irish chefs.
Second Nature Oils Drumeen Farm The Islands, Urlingford Co Kilkenny; www.secondnatureoils.com
North County Dublin is home to Llewellyn’s Orchard, where David Llewellyn has been growing apples since 1999. With the minimum of intervention – his trees have never been sprayed – he has created products spanning assorted apple juices to a legendary balsamic cider vinegar.
Llewellyn’s Orchard Quickpenny Road, Lusk Co Dublin; www.llewellynsorchard.ie
The dramatic Donegal coastline is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate, as Manus McGonagle will attest; he has been harvesting and drying seaweed on its shoreline since childhood. Popular varieties include Dulse and Carragheen, which he processes in Burtonport; a renaissance in ancient Celtic cooking means they now appear on menus nationwide.
Quality Sea Veg Cloughglass, Burtonport Co Donegal, Ireland; www.qualityseaveg.ie
Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda
Good-quality honey is an expression of terroir and as fourth-generation beekeeper Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda knows, the meadows, hedgerows and mountains of Co Louth produce some of Ireland’s finest honey. He only uses the native Irish honey bee, which is well-adapted to the cool, damp weather. Some honey is multifloral so it varies from hive to hive, as well as year to year, and the flavour can be gentle yet complex, and with a long wash. His Lannléire Bell Heather Honey is particularly noteworthy.
Lannléire Honey, Trean Dunleer, Co Louth, Ireland; www.orielfoodgroup.ie/lannleire-honey
Generally acknowledged as being the first Irish farmhouse cheesemaker, the redoubtable Veronica Steele of Milleens Cheese has been producing award-winning cheeses since 1978. Steele also helped other artisanal cheesemakers get started, which in turn encouraged a wave of interest in artisanal produce, creating local jobs, preserving ancient food traditions, reducing interventions in food production and improving the national larder – enabling Irish chefs to create a more authentic national cuisine.
Milleens Cheese Ltd, Milleens, Eyeries, Beara, Co Cork, Ireland; www.milleenscheese.com