Lettercollum Kitchen Project
A walled vegetable garden and its produce
We have a one acre walled vegetable garden at Lettercollum. It’s very old and has been used as a kitchen garden for the past one hundred and twenty years. We have grown fruit and vegetables there organically for the past 26 years. At one point there were two very large glasshouses at the top of the garden. When we inherited the garden the frames that held the glass were so rotten that they had to be dismantled.
We have built tunnels over the original glasshouse structures. The tunnels are where we grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans and herbs and also home to peach trees, grape vines and a beautiful bougainvillea, which flowers for about ten months of the year. Having a tunnel in Ireland gives a perfect climate to be able to grow all year round. The walls of the garden are surrounded with apple trees, many of which are original varieties and some newer trees that we have planted over the years. There is a blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry and rhubarb plot and last year we planted blueberries but we are waiting for results. We use the soft fruits to bake sweet tarts and make jams and jelly.
Half of the garden is used as beds where we grow vegetables and the other half is shared between the fruit and chickens. When we had a restaurant the garden supplied the kitchen. These days the garden supplies the kitchen at our shop in Clonakilty. We concentrate on growing the main ingredients that we need for the shop and then grow small quantities of more exotic or difficult to find vegetables for our home kitchen and cooking classes.
We give cooking classes that are a combination of garden and kitchen. These take place in the spring and summer. Our garden has been planted with supplying a kitchen in mind and is often the beginning spot for menu planning. When we first arrived in West Cork from the city we often travelled miles in search of ingredients for our dinner until we cottoned on that we needed to use what we had in the garden.
Typical classes: S.E Asian Cooking (Thai, Malay, Indian), Wholefood Cooking, Fish, Gluten Free, Italian, Bread Making, Vegetarian, and Low GI Cooking.
Lettercollum Kitchen Project in Connelly Street, Clonakilty, is the place to go if you fancy picking up some tasty food to take home or for a picnic. The shop has an in-store kitchen, which produces fresh food daily.
The day starts with bread and croissants and moves on to savoury and sweet tarts, pizzas, soup and lasagne by lunchtime. There is always a selection of fresh salads, depending on the season, and coffee to take away. The cakes are divine and also suitable for celiacs. The fridges hold a selection of cheeses, salamis, pestos, hummus and chilled drinks and there’s a selection of wines to seduce you. There are also speciality ingredients for cooking dishes from around the world.
Much of the produce used in the cooking comes from the walled vegetable garden at Lettercollum. A variety of fruit and vegetables are organically grown both outside and in tunnels. These are used in the kitchen and also to make jams and chutneys.
The menu is seasonal and can be pre ordered.
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM
Closed Sunday and Monday
22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Con McLoughlin and Karen Austin
Lettercolum Kitchen Project