There are no flies on those clever farmers, the Keoghs of North County Dublin. They may have been growing potatoes for over two hundred years, but behind the times they are not. Not only are they way ahead of the posse when it comes to branding their produce (so vital to the success of Irish fruit & veg, or it’s just another commodity) but they’re bubbling over with bright ideas to promote the humble tuber. In fact they’re on a one-family mission to make us all realise what a fantastic vegetable it is.
Aside from growing about half a dozen types (including organic, and Selenium high anti-oxidant) they’re famous for developing their own products, notably Keogh’s Hand Cooked Crisps.
Made on the farm, this range is flavoured with products such as Dubliner cheese, Irish Atlantic Sea Salt and Irish Cider Vinegar (from David Llewllyn nearby) and they also make seasonal specials such as Shamrock & Sour Cream, for St Patrick’s Day. It’s a great product, the crisps are chunky and full of flavour - quite widely stocked in good shops, and well worth looking out for.
Another of the Keoghs’ best ideas was National Potato Day, in August, when they invite the public to ‘do your bit for the Irish spud!’ And, perhaps surprisingly, this great vegetable does need support.
The popularity of imported foods like rice and pasta means we’re eating less spuds these days, and the perception that potatoes are fattening doesn’t help; in fact they’re nourishing but virtually fat-free so, just like rice and pasta, it’s what you add to them that determines whether they’re a healthy option or not. To add insult to injury, this fantastically versatile crop is even in danger of be re-categorised as a starch, so it mightn’t even be called a vegetable any more.
Tom Keogh of Keogh’s Farm has this to say: “The next time you buy a bag of spuds, not only are you getting a great meal but you are supporting local Irish produce and business. Potatoes are low fat, suit all budgets, adaptable to all palates and a great source of vitamins and minerals – but most of all Irish Spuds are delicious!”
If you agree, you can go to their website (www.keoghs.ie) and ‘embrace the potato’ online to help make it “Top of the Crops” in Ireland.