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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Chester cauliflowers and lime pickle

We had a thoroughly lovely weekend of impromptu catch ups with a few local friends and neighbours - we may not live in a big city with a big choice of venues but it's about the people we connect with in our own little communities that really matters, not where we meet them or what we're wearing when we do (inevitably something covered in soil if it's us).

Ordering is starting to become really really tough. There just isn't much for us to choose from and we want to avoid giving you spring greens every week! As we said this time last year, and will continue to remind you in the future, this is the time we really struggle as a business - the margins are so tight - and we know of some veg box businesses who just don't deliver at all during May because of this. So thank you for sticking with it but please keep your expectations relatively low and then you won't be disappointed!

In the field:

Weeding. And more weeding, Also potted on tomatoes and finished pricking out those fiddly little leeks (we think we might have about 3 1/2 thousand leeks!! eek). Last year's chard starting to bolt.

In the boxes:

Potatoes (growing eyes/holey), carrots (slimy/black) and onions (tiny) all just being tricky at the moment but it's just for a few weeks. Clementines are really hard to peel but taste good once you're in.

Small boxes have asparagus (lucky you), palermo peppers, spring greens, lemon and chard from Prion. Regular boxes have sweet potato, courgette, clementines, purple sprouting broccoli, lemon, garlic, salad or spinach from Prion and cauliflowers - there is a nice story about the caulis below, as between us we have avoided an amazing crop of UK veg from going to waste. Note these cauliflowers look a bit different to the norm - they are a variety called 'chester' (not from Chester!), and apparently make a mean cauli cheese.

This from Organic North (our wholesaler) - 'A quick word about the new cauliflower supplier that we’ve been working with these last couple of weeks called Shillingford Organics based down in Exeter. Nowt much to really jabber on about, I guess I just wanted to reiterate how pleased we were to start working with them. These guys got in touch a few weeks ago when they had a large surplus of caulis and between you guys, you’ve managed to make sure that not one of them was wasted. Shillingford are a great enterprise, we’re very proud of our new association and I’m glad to report that they’re chuffed and really thankful to have discovered us too. The collective impact that you guys have on our growers is not something we’ve ever communicated well and it’s something that we’ll be looking to rectify this year.'

In the shop:

Heads up - If you come along later on a Friday morning we may not have much left! This happened last week, our goal is to sell out on a Friday of all perishable stuff.

Plenty of: potatoes, onions, chestnut mushrooms, courgettes, sweet potatoes, leeks, fresh garlic and ginger

Limited: asparagus, heirloom tomatoes (first ones from IoW), chester cauliflowers, onions, carrots, Prion salad / cavalo nero kale / chard / spinach / purple sprouting broccoli, rhubarb

Fruit: clementines, lemons, bananas, apples, oranges

Also: eggs (free range hen and also we've got quails eggs again from our neighbours), sourdough bread, apple juice, other organic pantry staples and organic beer. Ask us when you're in if you're interested and we can tell you what we have/prices.

Recipe inspiration:

Here's some thoughts on surviving the hungry gap blog from us this time last year [a nice addition to the thoughts on pickles and chutneys is that Sarah who helps us packs the boxes took some wizened old limes away yesterday to make some lime pickle - hadn't even occurred to me for some reason, we can all do with reminders!].

And here's a dhal recipe to use up sweet potatoes and courgette (you could sub spring greens for kale, or add spinach or chard leaves at the very end, and if you don't have every single herb/spice don't worry about it, it'll still be fine). I've never used sun-dried tomatoes in dhal but worth a try at this time of year!

Commenting on what and how to eat can be a bit of a minefield these days, and we certainly steer clear of anything that pushes for radical change overnight as we know this is so very hard from a behaviour perspective - and is unlikely to stick. Our belief is that it's about baby steps and making small changes that lead to new habits and over time you look back and realise that you're doing things differently. Certainly when we first started getting a veg box, before we took on the business, we didn't envisage we would become such advocates - and ultimately take on the veg boxes as our own business - and it took us a while to get used to using the produce.

This blog (2 min read) on eating for health and sustainability from Anna Jones puts across her thoughts relatively kindly and I love that she acknowledges that 'eating is one part of our brilliantly fallible humanness. So there is always a place for a trashy chocolate bar or a bag of chip-shop chips.' Oh yes, there most certainly is.

have a good week


PS if you lost a pair of glasses last week, we've got them in the shop!

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