Sustainability is the goal for this family from the sunny south east
Nicola Crowley and Dvir Nusery have built a business and a family life that puts caring for the planet at the centre of everything they do
Nicola and Dvir with children Adele and Oran, at home in Tramore, Co Waterford. Photographs: Conor Mulhern
Being earth-kind is something that’s baked-in for Nicola Crowley and husband Dvir Nusery, who own the Tramore deli Mezze, an “almost vegetarian” business that’s a hit in the seaside town.
The couple moved to Co Waterford from Dvir’s native Israel five years ago and now live in the sunny southeast with their children Adele (8) and Oran (5). Having previously run outside catering at festivals and farmers’ markets, they’re bringing a flavour of the Middle East to Tramore, with an environmental consciousness to the fore.
“It’s a bit different to many food places in that instead of adding the odd veggie dish we do the opposite, every couple of weeks we put a meaty special on. We hope that by introducing people to different ways of preparing vegetables that they may be inspired to eat more at home,” Nicola says.
They consider their carbon footprint when buying for the business. “I stopped ordering certain vegetables from suppliers when I realised it wasn't Irish,” Dvir says.
The couple extends their sustainable food practices to their home life too. “As we work in the food industry, food waste and the packaging around food is a big concern,” Nicola says.
“At home, we plan meals for the week which has seriously reduced the amount of food being binned, and has reduced stress in the house. We rarely get takeaway as the plastic waste is too much. We buy our vegetables from local growers who supply to our business so there are no bags or labels and they’re so fresh,” she says.
We decided to eat meat once or twice a week, but to seek out local and high welfare meats
The kids get involved too. “We use beeswax wraps to wrap our sandwiches for school,” daughter Adele says.
Like everyone on a journey to do better, they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs.
“I remember having some kind of epiphany that we needed to turn vegan. For ethical, environmental and health reasons I knew we needed to be eating less or no meat,” Nicola recalls.
“To my surprise Dvir agreed, and we hatched a plan to do it gradually, building a repertoire of recipes that would work for us and our two kids. The plan lasted about a week when Dvir went to work, which was in the farmers’ market in Dungarvan at the time, and there was a new trader who sold free range chicken. This worked for us, it was free range, local and we were supporting a small business. We ditched the vegan plan and decided that we would only buy free range meat.”
Nicola says that ultimately what works is a “flexitarian” approach. “We decided to eat meat once or twice a week, but to seek out local and high welfare meats. We tend to eat less meat ourselves, the kids on the other hand love having spaghetti Bolognese or chicken goujons, so we try to strike a balance.”
They’ve made a move to grow some of what they eat too. Nicola has pulled out bushes and plants that serve no nourishing purpose and has put in raised beds, fruit trees and bushes in their place.
“I made plans and researched permaculture and food forests. I went to talks by the growing guru Mick Kelly whose HQ is based in Waterford. I won't lie and say that we have a tonne of vegetables growing in the garden because it seems I've interpreted permaculture as chuck it in the ground and see what happens – and sometimes nothing does – but when something grows it's just magical,” she says.
Nicola has grown peas, strawberries and rhubarb. “I love gathering a few green leaves to make a salad to have with dinner on a summer’s evening. It gives me all sorts of pleasure.”
They hope to grow more in future. “The plan is to work a little less so we have the time to spend on our pastimes – the last year of the pandemic has taught us this,” she says.
Back in the house, sustainability reigns too. To help to reduce energy consumption, they’re planning to install solar panels “We've made sure the house is well insulated and we tend to wear lots of layers during the winter rather than excessively heating the house,” Nicola says.
The couple also like to upcycle and the house contains many eclectic pieces brought with them from Israel. “Unwanted furniture is collected by the local council there, so once a week you'll see bits of furniture left out and Dvir and I would have a stroll around the neighbourhood and pick them up and fix them up a bit,” Nicola explains.
“We loved them so much we shipped them to Ireland when we moved here. When we moved into the house there was a lot of old furniture, much of which we kept and made our own, like the dining chairs which I covered using material I got on my travels in Bolivia.”
In the garden they’ve made furniture from pallets, while Adele and Oran make mosaics from old tiles and they use tahini buckets from Mezze as planters for lettuces and herbs. “One of the kids’ favourite parts of the garden is an old sink we picked up in a scrap yard which provides endless fun making potions, perfumes and mud cakes,” Nicola says.
They’ve made other small changes too, such as removing liquid soap and making a move to soap bars that are made locally as well as using bamboo toothbrushes.
Never much of a clothes shopper, Nicola says she would “steal” her sister’s clothes when she was younger and as she got older she tended to “just buy the essentials”.
As well as having something beautiful to wear I know that I am supporting a small business
“The last few years though, I made a decision not to buy cheap clothing any more. I understand more about the true cost of fast fashion and I’m a more conscious buyer now. I try to invest in clothes that will last, are made ethically and when possible from local businesses that align with my values.
“For Christmas or birthdays the past few years I’ve bought a chunky cardigan made from merino wool from Donegal or a dress made from Wexford linen. As well as having something beautiful to wear I know that I am supporting a small business, which in turn supports other small businesses,” she says.
The children are invested in their eco endeavours too: Adele took up sewing at age six and gets pocket money for repairing the family’s clothes. They also educate the kids about buying plastic toys, especially those they know will end up in the bin after a few uses.
The sustainability journey is one Nicola and Dvir are happy to be on. While it’s not always easy and they might stumble along the way, it’s a set of family values they intend to stick to.
Adventure awaits in the all-new ID.4
The new ID.4, a family-friendly all-electric SUV from Volkswagen, is now available in Ireland. Available in nine versions with ranges from 341-519km**, there are two battery sizes available (52kWh and 77kWh). Volkswagen is Ireland’s best-selling electric car (BEV) brand***, so it knows a thing or two about what makes for a great electric car.
The 4.58 metre-long ID.4 sits on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform and offers leg- and headroom similar to Volkswagen’s Tiguan Allspace SUV. The battery is located under the passenger compartment, ensuring a low centre of gravity, increased space in the interior cabin and balanced distribution of the axle load. This gives the car excellent, sporty handling and the 16cm ground clearance allows the vehicle to cope with light off-road terrain.
The ID.4 boasts many great features such as the LED Matrix IQ-Light system, Travel Assist, Area View and the Augmented Reality Head-up Display, first introduced on the ID.3, projects important information onto the windscreen, separating this data into two display areas – a world first.
** As measured under WLTP regulations
*** SIMI figures as of 11th March 2021