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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Crofting and baby leeks

It's been a warm start to the week - along with the burst of torrential rain! - making working in the field just that little bit more intense and tiring! But we've got lots done and we're feeling happy with progress.

Reading a book at the moment (Divide by Anna Jones) about the relationship between town and city. The author's father is a farmer and the way she talks about her life as a child on the farm highlighted to me that running this business we too are farmers, it's just a slightly different type and scale of farming to most of those we tend to think of/anchor to! '[It was] an all-encompassing existence. There was no beginning or end to the working day - it was just a day. I grew up with the very distinct impression that only town people 'worked' while we had 'a way of life'.' We often say that what we're doing is exactly that, a way of life! Chris likes to say we're crofters though, he's got a Scottish island crofting dream that's turned into a Welsh one.. [Will get back to you on whether or not I recommend the book, have only just started it!]

In the field:

Planted out - many many leeks (thanks Rosie for your tenacity!), tomatoes, lettuces, wizard field beans (they grow with a wand haha)

Pricked out - lettuces, pak choi, kohlrabi

Harvested - lovely lettuces for all the boxes this week (very satisfying to have so many!), borad beans, rhubarb. Strawberries just getting going (we've been taste testing, lucky us)

Flail mowed most of the spinach and chard which has all gone over. Weeding.

planting out leeks, organic, no dig
Leeks, leeks and more leeks

In the boxes:

Regular - sweet potatoes, courgette or red pepper, pointed cabbage, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, nectarines, lettuce

Small - cucumber, broad beans (mix of ours and imported), sping greens, rhubarb, lettuce

A few things to tell you -

- some of the broad beans that we bought in look like they were picked a little while ago (and ongoing, and sad, repercussion of Brexit is the delays in veg getting to us) so apologies if any are a bit dodgy, rest assured we are growing lots and you'll be getting ours in coming weeks we just didn't have quite enough to go round this week

- pointed cabbage is really very similar to a spring green, just with a heart (its a bit more caring haha). know we've been giving a ot of spring greens recently but it is just the time of year. If you are struggling to use yours or find inspiration then please shout and we can help!

- some of the nectarines are still a bit hard but this is better than being over-ripe (!) and hopefuly after a few days in the sun they will ripen nicely

- don't forget to check lettuces for those 'little friends' and give the leaves a good wash

- our apologies for the clementines last week, they weren't great, and we've had apology in turn from both the farmer and the wholesaler, not sure what the issue was but they just weren't very tasty and we hadn't tried them so couldn't warn you.

- and finally, we've made the radical decision not to put carrots in the boxes next week as the stored ones really are not at their best at the moment (we'll have a few of the first UK carrots for the shop next week but they were limited supply so we coudn't get enough for the boxes)

In the shop:

Plenty of - potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, red peppers

Limited - carrots, onions, broad beans, cavalo nero kale, lettuce, spinach, uk tomatoes (cherry and heirloom), leeks, pea shoots

Fruit - bananas, apples, some nectarines, oranges, lemons

Also: hen and quail eggs, sourdough bread, apple juice, other organic pantry staples and organic beer. Ask us when you're in and we can tell you what we have/prices.

Avocadoes in next week.

This is likely the last of the asparagus for us so if you're keen to have some (more) UK asparagus please come and grab some - we take a bit of a punt on this as it's a high value item for us to buy in not knowing how many will sell. Remember it's a UK crop with a very short season, and the farmers have to weed and look after it all year just for these few short weeks. We want to support those farmers as much as we can. It's a great thing to buy for someone as a present or to have as a a treat - it's in beautiful condition, we would love to sell out by the end of Friday morning so please help us out and also spread the word! :)

If you bought clementines last week - our apologies - they weren't very tasty (see note above).

Recipe inspiration:

Apparently both broad beans and asparagus go well together and also with mint so you could try adding some chopped mint (not too much as it's a strong flavour) when you're cooking either/both.

An easy and tasty broad bean meal that I may have shared before is from Hugh F-W (bashed potatoes and broad beans). He says to boil some potatoes (ideally new but we don't have any of those yet...nearly!), and steam the beans - take out of skins if tough. Sweat some onion in oil and add some chopped garlic. Tip the warm beans into the pan of onion and add salt and pepper, then use potato masher to roughly bash them. Use masher to roughly crush potatoes and then top the potato with the broad beans and oil. Scatter with fresh herbs or marigold / nastrutium flowers if you have them, add extra salt and pepper if you need, and finish with a trickle of olive oil.

have a good week


PS 'I bought 10 asparagus at the shop but when I got home I realised I had 11. It was just a spare, I guess' (don't laugh too hard, won't give up the day job)

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