Irish News

Saturday 2 August 2014

Thieves strip entire field of Brussel sprouts from nun’s Wicklow farm

Geraldine Gittens

Published 05/12/2013|15:37

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A group of thieves broke into a convent garden “in the dead of the night” to strip an entire field of Brussel sprouts last night.

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The thieves stole the sprouts – which would have been worth around €300 - from the Dominican Farm and Ecology Centre.

Sister Julie Newman from the farm said she is ‘very upset’ over the thieves’ cull, which she said is a huge setback for the staff who have tended to the sprout plants over the last two years, she explained to Joe Duffy's Radio One show Liveline today.

The theft was deliberate, according to the nun, and she believes the sprouts will now be sold as high-end organic produce for the Christmas market.

“We went up this morning, and they were all gone - completely stripped - the stalks and everything,” she told independent.ie.

“We had just been saying that we’d start harvesting this weekend for the farm shop and then continue harvesting right up until Christmas.”

“It’s not just the monetary value. It’s when you think of the effort that people went to in caring for them.”

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

While some produce at the farm has been stolen before, Sr Newman says 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.”

“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.”

“We were up there yesterday admiring the Brussels sprouts which we have on an eighth of an acre.”

Sr Newman said that every Christmas, the centre sells its Brussel sprouts at markets around Bray and Kilruddery. But not this Christmas.

“We sell them through the farm shop and we sell them through markets in Bray and Kilruddery.”

“We believe very much in local, organic vegetables.”

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