Yesterday at our weekly Team Meeting at ACLAÍ, I was enlightened by Claire and Shane about the world of ‘Vlogging‘. I never heard of this before, but apparently its like a blog, except you use videos instead of written articles. If I wasn’t sitting in the Library in Douglas right now among lots of intensely studious Leaving Cert students, I would vlog at the top of my voice about this! This blog is about something the is very close to my own heart, and something that I think every single person has a duty to know something about, and make an effort to have an awareness about. It is about getting quality food, that is sustainably sourced, and that supports local industry. It means a lot to me on so many levels.
Firstly, having a healthy and functioning body is high on my priority list, so on a very basic level, I need to be able to source quality food. Secondly, in one of the most popular recent posts on this blog, I eluded to the values that I personally hold in the highest regard, and being a Gael is right up there, so supporting local industry and contributing directly to local farmers and supporting our home-grown industries is important to me as well. This is all a crucial piece of the puzzle when I consider the philosophies behind ACLAÍ as a concept. Wholesome, sustainable, long term health, holistic, Irish, personal service, quality service, real value, and fun. Every single thing that we hold in high esteem is also held in high esteem by many of our local farmers, and that’s why I believe it makes perfect sense for us to support them. Not least because it helps local people create a viable livelihood while staying in Ireland, but also because it will benefit you and yoru family with better health, nicer food, and stronger relationships with the people around you in farmers markets and locally run shops. It is a win/win situation.
Once more thing that is a key piece of the puzzle at ACLAÍ is walking the walk. We don’t say one thing and do another. We believe in what we teach, and we follow through on our own advice, which leads me to the main subject of this article. Recently, I started getting a weekly delivery of meat from Hammersley’s farm in Clonulty Co. Tipperary. The Hammersley’s have long been friends of ACLAÍ, and Im sure some of you have seen Conor up and around the facility as he trains with the ACLAÍ Coaches on a regular basis. They are one of the very few farms in Ireland control all processes from the farm to the consumers hand (i.e. rear, kill, and sell). And this is no ordinary beef and lamb. None of the beef and lamb contains antibiotics, or growth promoters, and the animals are fed zero commercial ration or pre-medicated feed. Their burgers are also gluten free. This is like the holy grail of beef and lamb!
Across the Atlantic ocean in the USA, they are absolutely crying out for this type of produce, especially considering the states are now covered with over-farmed lands, and highly commercial farming methods that are extremely dependent on genetically modified seeds, antibiotics, and growth promoting hormones. One of the things that makes me so passionate about this issue, is that we have such high quality products ON OUR DOORSTEPS, right there to be taken advantage of! Our lush fields, and strong agricultural background in Ireland allows us to have produce that is among the best in the whole world.
However, all Irish meat is not created equal. Most of us probably get out meat from the shopping centers, where tractability is not as clear, and there is certainly no one there who can answer questions about how the animals were raised, kept, fed, or processed. Further, you are dealing with the middle man at the shopping center, where prices may be comparable at the checkout, but the quality of the meat is not the same, as the large international companies that supply most of our groceries will have to take their share before the farmer sees any of it. Rational logic would suggest that the quality of the meat cant possibly be as high when the margins are lower, and the middle man must still get his slice of the pie. Another thing to consider, is that many producers of meat in Ireland use ‘modern‘ farming methods with added hormones, chemicals, and medicines, which are certainly not healthy when added to the human food chain. Farmer’s like the Hammersley’s are among the few who are true to the traditional methods of raising and processing animals, meaning that the meat that sits on your plate is not the same stuff that you get from the supermarket.
Note: This article is a totally independent review, and we don’t get anything from writing it. It’s a part of the ‘Out and About’ section of our blog, where we highlight the great places that tie in with out philosophy of movement, health, good food, and authenticity at ACLAÍ. Check out more from the ‘Out and About ‘ section right here!