Drummond House Irish Garlic - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them

Marita Collier - Drummond House Irish GarlicSince Michael Kelly’s famous ‘Eureka’ moment - when confronted by garlic all the way from China in his local supermarket - there’s been a strangely emotive connotation to the provenance of garlic in Ireland. In his case, it inspired him to start up the phenomenally successful GIY movement, while others see potential in the product itself.

Take Drummond House Irish Garlic for example, a new enterprise by Peter and Marita Collier, on a 100 acre Co Louth farm that’s been farmed by Peter’s family for over 150 years and is now 'The Home of Irish Garlic'. When he inherited the farm, Peter recognised the need to diversify into new and sustainable production - and a ‘love of real fresh home grown food and an amazing trip to India’ inspired the couple to focus on garlic.

Anyone who has only tasted imported garlic will be amazed by the difference in the texture and flavour of the locally grown produce - and the many variations available. Having started with four varieties in 2013, they have since extended the range to produce ten varieties - Spanish Morado Garlic; Red Czech Garlic; Mikulov Garlic; Messidor Garlic; Bohemian Rose Garlic; Red Duke Garlic; Solent Wight Garlic; Vallelado Garlic; Carcassonne Wight Garlic - all of which sound impossibly exotic for a County Louth farm.

Drummond House GarlicFull details of each variety - and also Elephant Garlic (which is actually a garlic-like member of the leek family, and not a true garlic), Green Garlic (the young plant of any of the garlic varieties), and Garlic Scapes (see below) - are given on their website. Garlic ‘scapes’ (the flower stalk of hard neck garlic varieties, a by-product which is usually wasted) have proved an unexpectedly successful seasonal extra, available only for a few weeks in late May/early June and popular for garlic pesto.

2014 also saw another very exciting new development, with the planting of four acres of asparagus. The Colliers’ sandy coastal soil provides ideal growing conditions for asparagus, which will be an annual treat for food lovers to look forward to in late spring and early summer, and a real education for many.

Tara Walker, of East Coast Cookery School at Termonfeckin, was an early champion of the Colliers' enterprising business and never misses an opportunity to introduce these premium local products to students attending her courses. She has a great recipe for Garlic Scape Tempura on her website, and it's made with Dan Kelly's Cider which is also produced nearby. Some top chefs, including Ed Cooney of The Merrion Hotel, have also been quick to see the potential in these great new products and national distribution is planned through Redmond Fine Foods.

Locally, you will find Drummond House produce in a number of shops, including Tuites Butchers, Drogheda; Irish Farm Cheese Shop, Drogheda; The Forge Field Farm Shop and Madden's Centra, Termonfeckin; Gareth's Family Butchers, Termonfeckin and Clogherhead; Fisherman's Catch, Clogherhead (harbour). Also available at the farm.

Garlic Stuffed MusselsRECIPE: Garlic Stuffed Mussels

This is one of the most versatile and universally popular garlic and seafood combinations - and what better dish to make with garlic that’s grown on an Irish seaside farm? Mussels are plentiful, good value for money and perfect as a starter, to hand around at parties or just as a snack. Always wash in plenty of cold water and scrub the shells with a stiff brush. Use a knife to scrape off any barnacles. Discard any open mussels that do not close when lightly tapped on the work surface. Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from the tightly closed shells.


1kg/21/4lb fresh Irish mussels
about 50g/2oz coarse rock salt
150g/5oz butter
4 Irish garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
25g/1oz fresh white breadcrumbs
To Serve: lemon wedges

Preheat the grill. Place the mussels in a shallow, heavy-based pan (no liquid is necessary). Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over a high heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking occasionally until they have opened. (Discard any that do not open.)

Remove the top shell from each mussel and arrange the bottom shell and flesh on a bed of the rock salt in individual ovenproof dishes.

Melt the butter in a small pan; add the garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Add the breadcrumbs and mix well. Place a little of the mixture onto each of the mussels.

Place the garlic stuffed mussels directly under the grill for 3-5 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve at once with lemon wedges.

VARIATION You can also make this recipe with clams or cockles.

There are currently no comments

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment
Not a member? Register for your free membership now!
Or leave a comment by logging in with: