independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Donor offers half a tonne of Brussels sprouts to convent that fell victim to thieves

Sr Julie Newman of the Dominican Organic Farm and shop, Wicklow, with some of the few remaining mature Brussel sprouts. Photo: Garry O'Neill

A kindhearted donor has offered a half tonne of Brussels sprouts to the nuns whose Christmas crop was stolen this month.

Thieves broke into the convent garden at the Dominican Farm and Ecology Centre “in the dead of the night” to strip the field of Brussels sprouts.

A farmer in north Dublin felt sorry for the nuns and offered to donate half a tonne of the vegetable.

The sister said the convent hugely appreciated the donation but they were unable to use them because they were not organic.

''We were unable to use them because we only sell organic produce but it was very kind,'' she added.

Sister Julie Newman said she was "very upset" over the theft, describing it as a huge setback for the staff who have tended to the sprout plants for two years.

The nuns are now hoping to put the incident behind them.

''Nobody has been caught and we just want to forget about it now,'' the sister said.

The nuns believe that their stolen sprouts will now be sold as high-end organic produce for the Christmas market.

The vegetables are biennial, so it takes two years to bring Brussels sprouts to full maturity.

While some produce at the farm had been stolen before, Sr Newman said the thievery was never on this scale.

"I feel sorry for our staff. They have minded them and cared for them all along, and someone came in the dead of the night and stole all of them,'' she said after the theft.

"We would have the odd bit of pilfering of potatoes and onions, but this was deliberate. It wasn't just someone looking for a few vegetables for their dinner.

Every Christmas the centre sells its Brussels sprouts at markets around Bray and Kilruddery. But not this one.

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