Heatwave – Irish chillis grown locally in Meath!
We are really delighted to share our Chilli project with you. After nearly 12 months of growing, Saba, Saba To Go and Ready Chef are proud to support local Irish producer Lynsay Orton who owns Ross Hazel farm just up the road. She has grown Serrano chillis from seed and after much trial and error we are now serving them in all our restaurants and our Saba To Go’s. Our Thai chefs love them, they impart the perfect heat to our dishes and help us reduce our food miles.
Lynsays farm Ross Hazel is located approximately 1 hour West of Dublin in Clonard, Co.Meath. The farm, a second-generation family farm, was originally a mushroom farm run by John Orton for nearly 30 years. The farm has transitioned now to seasonal niche quirky vegetables run by John’s daughter-in-law, Lynsay Orton.
Lynsay grows all her produce from scratch i.e. from seed and watches them grow in the converted polytunnels to provide a harvest for her customers. Over 90% of seed she uses is bought from Irish seed companies. She has also self-harvested some of her own seed too. Lynsay says “I’m slightly addicted to seed sowing and get such a buzz when a plant bears fruit. Some women might have a collection of shoes – mine is a crazy box of seeds!! Honestly, I enjoy watching a tiny seed flourish into something delicious! Besides, I love the challenge of growing something unique and different here in Ireland!”.
Lynsay started working on the farm in 2016 and has slowly expanded into various vegetables, usually ones that you can’t find in your average supermarket. She’s a busy lady as she works on the farm mostly by herself looking after over 2,000 plants while keeping an eye on her 3 energetic boys. She also employs a couple of part time students to help with picking in the summer. Even the boys don’t escape and they get roped into the farm life from sowing to planting to cleaning. There is always something to do.
Lynsay’s background is in Environmental Management so she’s all about green thinking. Since working with ReadyChef (from 2016 to date), together they have saved and upcycled 1,000kg of reusable packaging per season. That’s equivalent to the weight of two adult male grizzly bears. This includes crates that have been used for growing plants to upcycled punnets and cardboard boxes re-used for produce. Lynsay has also saved and reused several thousand pots from the local garden centre. She’s even converted an old fridge as a hot box for germinating seeds and keeping young plants warm in the cool winter and early spring months
She has been dabbling in experimental chilli growing for a couple of years now. David Tallon of ReadyChef in November 2021 was on the farm and spotted the array of chilli varieties including habaneros, Padron green, scotch bonnet and Thai orange Tyger chillies to name but a few. He was blown away by the range of chillies that could be tasted on this little farm and felt this was an excellent opportunity to encourage a small producer like Lynsay to grow more Irish chillies for the Irish culinary business. He said, “Apart from being Irish the reduction in air miles alone is huge!” Lynsay and David started working on the project in January and while Lynsay was working away in the tunnels, David got Saba onboard – the perfect fit for Lynsay’s chilli produce.
We are delighted to be a part of this exciting chilli journey, we are delighted to showcase Lynsays Irish chilli in our dishes in Saba and Saba To Go. What’s more, we are delighted to support and work with such an inspirational grower like Lyndsay.