Flowers for nutrition

Posted on: 8th November, 2016

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.

What a year it’s been and it’s not over yet! I’m relishing the change in direction into edibles, although our love of and respect for nature and our environment is still paramount – it remains and always will be at the core of our beliefs and business.

While eco-friendly was sufficient when we were only growing our flowers for decoration we feel much happier now that we have started the conversion process to organic, it fits much better now that we are producing flowers to eat. The paperwork is a bit of a headache though but it will be worth it in the end.

We have just come back from a few days in Galway and were honoured to be representing West Cork in the Artisan Village for ‘Food on the Edge’. It was truly inspiring to see both local and international chefs, food writers and horticulturalists promoting sustainability and the importance of food provenance. It was wonderful to see so many producers valuing our rich and diverse food heritage.

We live and work at the foot of a mountain and while it is a rural idyll it can be a little isolated and sometime we forget there is a world out there. I’ve been known to go weeks without venturing beyond my own front gate being totally wrapped up in the day-to-day workings of the farm so it’s really important for us to get out there and be connected, and tell the world about our produce.

But for now it’s back to the grind stone getting ground prepared for the first of our new tunnels (very exciting), which will house our new spring edibles. I’m so excited and have so enjoyed researching these, there is so much scope – it really is a huge untapped resource. Less than 20 per cent of plant species provide 90 per cent of all our food, so I’ll probably never run out of new varieties.

We could all benefit from the inclusion of edible flowers in our diet – they are herbs after all. I know you probably grow some of our varieties like nasturtium and calendula as companion plants but they are so much more than that. The leaves and flowers of nasturtium are a rich source of vitamin C, iron, a little phosphorus and antioxidants. As they are naturally antibiotic, chewing the leaves at hourly intervals, can really ease the symptoms of a niggly sore throat and help ease cold and flu symptoms.

I eat them daily and attribute my good health to these bright beauties. Even if there were no health benefits, I just love their peppery taste.

Calendula is another commonly grown companion plant that really could be used as a culinary accompaniment. Again it has a tangy spicy flavour. A useful saffron substitute. The petals can be used to colour plain rice. We recommend using the petals only – they can be used fresh or dried to flavour soups, sauces and stews. They make a good accompaniment to cheese and egg dishes and look retty in a tossed salad. They are another herb that is a rich source of vitamin C and A and are high in antioxidants.

If you enjoy our little bits of information then please let us know and we will continue to share some of the things we are learning along the way.

Our new website bumblebeeflowerfarm.ie is almost ready and we hope you will pop over and take a look. We will be listing our flowers but we will be including their uses, flavours and a little note on their medicinal and nutritional values.

We hope you all have a fabulous bank holiday weekend and enjoy our amazing dry spell.

Latest News Articles:

Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads
Clonakilty Access Group AGM hears of many frustrations and challenges for people with disabilities in the town
Schull student scoops top invention award at BT Young Scientist
Schull Garda Station wins ‘Leading Light in Road Safety’ award from Road Safety Authority
Go quackers at the 2018 West Cork Bird Race
Bandon in danger of losing its youth café
Local professionals invited to Anam Cara information pack launch
Bandon Transport and Public Realm Enhancement Plan shortlisted for Irish Planning Awards
Christmas on the beat

Join us on Facebook

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
... See MoreSee Less

20th February, 2018  ·  

Did you know..... ... See MoreSee Less

Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1jc2tlH75Q
... See MoreSee Less

16th February, 2018  ·  

Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

“The Viking Gold and Silver Hoards from County Cork” is the topic of the next Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on Thursday 22nd at the Parish Centre starting at 8pm.

It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
... See MoreSee Less

15th February, 2018  ·  

Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
Tickets can be purchased either on the club's facebook page or through eventbrite.

www.eventbrite.ie/e/bandon-toastmasters-presents-ignite-your-potential-tickets-41871052445?aff=es2
... See MoreSee Less

13th February, 2018  ·  

Jump to:

Top