Food Guide


Launched by Darina Allen in 2011, my Seasonal Food Guide will help you choose, eat and prepare certain foods from each of the food groups at particular times of the year. The guide is beautifully laid out in A4 flipchart style detailing what to eat depending on the season, and it will help bring your body into balance & harmony with seasonal influences.

Seasonal Food Guide


Levis’ Bar in Ballydehob was the venue for an intimate gathering of people who have an abiding interest in food. Nutritional therapist, Nuala Kenny invited her food hero, Darina Allen, to officially launch her new “Seasonal Food” guide at the famous corner house bar in November. There were in fact more than fifty people at the launch – all of whom are either artisan producers, growers, retailers or notable food enthusiasts.

Darina Allen and Nuala Kenny Darina described the gathering of local producers in the most ‘local’ of bars as being ‘typical of the approach people used to have towards food.

‘When I was a girl,’ she said, ‘everything we ate was produced a few miles down the road: we knew who grew our vegetables and potatoes and reared the meat we cooked for our dinner.

‘Today, we have lost that connection. And I believe this – and the fact that we are eating food from all over the world – means we are no longer getting the necessary antibodies from local sources, such as local milk, honey, vegetables and eggs.

‘In the past, seasonal, nutritious, locally-produced, food was the standard fair, whereas nowadays big business is placing the emphasis on cheap, readily available, produce from around the world – food that is often lacking in taste and nutritional value.’

Darina praised the Ballydehob-based nutritional therapist for taking the initiative to research and compile a simple, easy to follow, guide detailing what to buy locally and when.

Nuala’s shopping guide will help you choose, eat and prepare certain foods according to the seasons. It covers all food groups and lists season by season – from Spring to Summer, Late Summer to Autumn, through to Winter – what foods we should be eating if we are to bring our bodies into balance.

Speaking to the crowd gathered at Levis’, Nuala thanked everyone who supported the production of the “Seasonal Food” guide – an easy to read A4 flipchart that is available in all health food shops nationwide. The local health food shops include: Hudson’s in Ballydehob; the Roaring Water health food shop in Schull; Ying Yang in Skibbereen; Organico in Bantry; and An Tobarin in Bandon.

The guide is also on sale in Field’s SuperValu and The Riverside Café in Skibbereen, Chapter One bookshop in Schull, and Hosford’s garden centre near Bandon. Priced at €9.99, the guide will direct you to what fruit, vegetables, herbs, nuts, pulses, seaweeds, wholegrains, fish, and meat are in season both in Ireland and Britain.

Because of Nuala’s training as a nutritional therapist, the guide also includes excellent advice about what cooking processes to use if you want to nourish the body in accordance with the seasons. Although everyone automatically turns to slow-cooked stews for winter warming, and cooling salads in the summer, “Seasonal Food” goes one step further and identifies what organs need to be nourished at particular times of the year.

In winter, for example, Nuala said: ‘we need to nourish the kidneys, bladder and bones and should rest as much as possible in order to store physical and mental energy. ‘In contrast, we need – in the springtime – to nourish the liver, gall bladder, tendons and sinews and exercise more as part of a natural, instinctive detox for the body.

‘Like the old saying, “There’s a song for every season”,’ Nuala said: ‘Those who shop and cook in harmony with the seasons will get immeasurably more pleasure and satisfaction from their food than those who don’t.

‘In fact, eating out of the seasons can actually be quite damaging for the body as fruit and vegetable are at their peak nutritional value when they are ripe.

‘Foods that travel long distances to market are picked before they are ripe. While the produce might gain softness and colour on its journey to the supermarket, nutritional value comes through the stem from the living plant. Once harvested, these foods are as nutritious as they are ever going to get.’

Nuala said: ‘there are so many more advantages to buying seasonal foods: for starters, it’s better for you; it tastes better; it’s better for the planter; and buying in harmony with the seasons often means a return to delicious traditional recipes.

‘While we may take for granted the convenience, abundance and huge variety of affordable food that is available today, we must remain alert to the health implications of what we eat and strive to make the best choices from what is available.’

Article by Jackie Kehoe.