The Menu: Cork Rooftop Farm takes farming to new heights with zero-waste shop

The Menu: Cork Rooftop Farm takes farming to new heights with zero-waste shop

One of The Menu’s most favourite of all the responses to the pandemic has been the Cork Rooftop Farm, which saw Brian McCarthy pivot from running the family floral supplies business to starting an urban rooftop garden with friend, Thay Carlos. In less than two years it has expanded into a project that the enterprising pair themselves never imagined possible. The farm now supplies a range of fresh produce to local restaurants — a supply chain so shortened it generates zero carbon miles. Brian also partnered with progressive farmer, Ger Buckley, to begin a market garden and expand what began as a rooftop hen run into a larger free-range egg-producing enterprise.

Now, another idea that McCarthy has nurtured almost from the beginning: a Cork Rooftop Farm shop/market and food hall that sells a huge range of organic dried goods, including pulses, nuts, grains, herbs, dried fruit and spices from refill dispensers, thereby eliminating all the usual packaging waste. In addition, the shop offers a range of fresh produce from the farm, a tidy little selection of houseplants and an in-house coffee bar. What’s more, this is only the initial stage of planned further expansion in what promises to be a revolutionary food retail concept on Leeside.

Cork Rooftop Farm is now also signing up members for its 2022 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programme which is best explained as members buying shares in the season’s harvest, which allows the grower to finance and plan for the season ahead and the member then receives each week a box of nutritious, delicious fresh produce grown and distributed with minimal environmental impact, including organically grown fruits, vegetables, microgreens and herbs, and pasteurised hen eggs. Members can also look forward to exclusive CSA farm tours and educational opportunities to volunteer on the farm. 

corkrooftopfarm.ie

Start your getaway early with Cork International Hotel

If The Menu were to believe half the punters he has encountered of late, there’ll hardly be a sinner left on the island come high summer, as myriad friends and acquaintances with a pronounced case of cabin fever hoover up flights to all manner of foreign climes.

As is the nature of these things, many of these flights depart at all sorts of ungodly hours of the morning so the Cork International Hotel’s Stay, Park and Fly package sounds just the ticket for those departing at dawn or arriving late at night: an offering of overnight stay before or after a flight with parking included, while travelling to or from Cork Airport.

Offer includes a free shuttle bus to and from the terminal, secure parking for up to 21 nights and Grab-and-Go Breakfast from 4.30am-7am for earlier departures.

corkinternationalairporthotel.com/offer/stay-park-fly/

From Idaho to Greenwich at Caroline Street

Richard and Mairead Jacob have called time on their beloved Idaho Cafe, an institution on Leeside. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

It is the nature of the hospitality sector that nothing really ever lasts forever, it only seems that way to the very young. Bar a smattering of iconic institutions, mostly hotels, that survive through the decades, most independent restaurants and cafes, no matter how cherished, inevitably come to an end, in particular those without a succeeding generation of the family to take on the mantle.

And so it came to pass that one of Cork city’s most beloved establishments, Idaho Cafe, the tiny little cafe/restaurant on Caroline St that punched far, far above its diminutive stature has finally called it a day after 21 years.

Few are the restaurants so imbued with the personalities and ethos of the proprietors that they near become living organisms and Idaho was such a place.

Richard Jacob ran front-of-house impeccably, paying as much attention to his customers as he did to every tiny detail while his wife, Mairead, marshalled the kitchen from whence she delivered an always sublime menu of simply but superbly cooked dishes using premium local, seasonal produce.

At about 1.15pm every day, during the height of the lunching hour, you could near power the city from the energy generated in the minuscule corner premises, and it was a true pleasure to launch a conversation across the table at a dining companion, hoping to be heard above the joyous cacophony of human chatter and utensils’ clatter, that sweetest social sound, of happy humans gathered around the table.

The Menu wishes Richard and Mairead best wishes for wherever life takes them next and welcomes and wishes the very best to local chef, Dermot O’Sullivan, who is taking over the business to relaunch it as Greenwich. 

greenwichcafe.ie

Oh, Otofu sure is versatile and delicious

Otofu Tofu, produced in West Cork

The Menu’s 11-year-old daughter, a committed carnivore with a deep-seated antipathy to vegans, a prejudice that is most certainly

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