How Kells Irish Pub feeds people in Wilsonville


Owner Gerard McAleese donates the food from his farm

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — For 30 years, Gerard McAleese has owned and operated Kells Irish Pub in downtown Portland. He also owns a 50-acre farm near Wilsonville which supplies much of the produce used in the food Kells serves.

So while the world may have stopped working in many respects during the pandemic, the chickens on his Wilsonville-area farm have not.

“When the restaurants closed down, the chickens out here on the farm they don’t take a break,” farm caretaker BenTucker told KOIN 6 News. “We produce about 300 eggs a week and I just kind of looked for the most responsible way to get rid of the eggs. And donate them to the food bank was one of the things that came to mind.”

Wilsonville Community Food sharing bank is getting the eggs now.

Winter cabbage and leeks are upon us now at the Kells Farm, where they also grow hops that go into fall and winter ales for later this year. Herbs that add flavor to the Kells menu are also grown here.

The bad news is there’s no restaurant to use the produce in. But that’s good news for local food banks that will be getting access to the same organic, quality ingredients that have helped keep Kells on the map all these years.

The virus and the resulting shutdown that’s idled Kells for now couldn’t have come at a worse time.

McAleese spent upfront money to accomodate Irish musicians who came to help celebrate St. Patricks Day at the Irish Festival. The tent used to shelter the crowds was halfway in the ground when everything suddenly was ground to a halt.

“We’re in for the long term. We’ve been in Portland for 30 years and we want to be another 30 years here, please God,” McAleese said. “So we’ve got to do the right things for the economy and for the people around you, you know. They’re all family to us.”

There are 65 employees that are part of that Kells family. The fact they are shut down for the time being has not stopped their willingness to give when the need is greatest.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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