In our new Meet the Maker series, we're shining the light on the many gifted producers behind some of Ireland's best food and drink brands. Today, we chat to Harry Colley from Harry's Nut Butter
Could you tell us a bit about the history of Harry’s Nut Butter?
Well I'm Harry, I'm a chef at the Fumbally Cafe in Dublin 8 where I've been working since 2015. I've been a cook for years and years now but in a strange turn of events, I've started making salty, sweet, spicy nut butter. It's great with cheese and cooked into a soup but my favourite thing to do with it is pile it on toast at 1am and eat it standing up in the kitchen with all the lights off.
It was the house nut butter that I developed while working in the cafe but after I wrapped up an intense and tough project I had been working on, my boss at the cafe convinced me give the nut butter a go. Customers had been going crazy over it, which was so great but I had never considered jarring it before. We launched it at right before Christmas in time to get into the markets and I was slinging it at market stalls until lockdown started. During lockdown though, it gained huge momentum and now it's in shops all over the country, all of a sudden.
Why is using Irish ingredients important to your company?
It would be great to use Irish products as much as possible but we're a peanut butter company. Not many native peanuts to be found. We're a part of the global food system and we get our nuts from Argentina. However in my personal cooking I love to support Irish producers as much as possible. I like to shop from a community of farmers and makers that have supported me over the years like McNally's Family Farm, Elmhust Farm, Gubbeen Cheese & Smokehouse. I like buying from Irish coffee roasters like Calendar Coffee and Bailies. They're obviously not home grown beans but they're sourced with care and roasted beautifully. There's so much amazing talent in the country that can be nurtured without buying Irish grown as well, y'know. Buy Irish grown also, if you want to, but there's loads of other ways to shop Irish too.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a food producer in Ireland?
Honestly it's all been so great so far ask me this time next year and I'll probably be better equipped to answer you.
What new trends do you see that are emerging in your industry?
I'm literally so brand new to this industry I haven't an actual clue I'm just making it up as I go along.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your industry?
The governing forces I work with ensure the food produced is done safely and correctly and that what is on the label is true and I think all of that is extremely valuable. I really like all the stockists I work with who are fantastic at helping me establish my business too. I haven't really come up against any great limitations yet but I'm also a newbie so maybe I'll figure out the answer to this question further down the line.
What has running your own business taught you?
To answer phone calls from numbers I don't recognise.
Who are some other Irish foodie brands you draw inspiration from?
White Mausu - Katie and Jasper are the pair behind it and they're eternally inspiring. We've all had similar routes in food between working in fancy restaurants, pop up restaurants, cafes and we all have similar tastes in food but they're the company that made room for a product like mine. They started out with Peanut Rayu, then Cashew Crunch and Black Bean Rayu and a few others but they grafted to make all those connections with independent retailers all over the country that know about Harry's Nut Butter probably because of them. They're the best
What’s next for the company?
More flavours, more products, more fun. Gonna do a super spicy one, a sweet one too and keep messing around making delicious condiments to embellish people's home cooking y'know.
To find out more about Harry's Nut Butter or to buy click here!