Easter bunnies and words of wisdom from Captain Tom
Still no sign of the pesky wabbit in the polytunnel so keeping toes crossed he or she doesn't return. Only Easter bunnies evident over the weekend, which are far less of a threat (to the produce, at least).
We had an amazing 2 days in the shop last week - absolutely smashed previous weeks in terms of sales (the Nant y Felin hot cross buns literally flew off the shelf and we very nearly ended up without any for ourselves!). It's fab that so many of you are trying the store-cupboard bits and coming back for more, and that we're getting new customers each week - thank you for spreading the word.
Radio 4 Food Programme this week has an interview with our main man Sean from Organic North (our amazing wholesalers) to discuss the role of wholesalers in supplying fresh produce in the light of recent supermarket issues and talk of improving food security. It's really worth a listen and gives you an insight of what we're working towards / our vision - BBC Radio 4 - The Food Programme, Secret Supply Lines – Fruit & Veg Under the Radar
In the field: [written by farmer Chris]
The Easter weekend was the change weekend... light winds and sunshine greeted my walk down to the field and the air was buzzing with the sound of tractors, lambs and ... pollinating insects - everything seemed to be busy! The cold outside temperature contrasted with the heat in the polytunnels and greenhouse and means we now need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure seedlings and plants don't get too cold or hot!
We have planted out maincrop potatoes in a new bed that we have created by barrowing in homemade compost to top dress cardboard that we'd laid down on top of some undug soil.. We'll see how these potatoes fare and how the soil adapts. Outside it has also been a lot of weeding - I managed two full wheel barrows in one morning. Once these weeds were added to the compost heap, I turned an older heap on top of them - this heap had been covered and so wasn't too wet. The cavalo nero outside had all started to bolt so I got the flail mower out and smashed it all up, with residual stalks that had snapped and not been smashed gathered and used to infill the path next to the new potato bed. Inside the polytunnels it has also been a time for weeding and watering. Everything is growing so quickly - including nettles such that the ends of my thumb and forefinger seem to permanently tingle at the moment!
Harvesting: wow... 4kg spinach, 7kg of chard, 10.5kg of rhubarb, 15kg of spring greens, 6kg leeks, 24 little gem lettuces (these are the tops of the lettuces which have kept us going with salad through the winter), 3.5kg salad leaves, nearly 1kg of purple sprouting broccoli and finally about 5kg of kale flowers. There is still more to harvest for the shop on Thursday and Friday - fresh seasonal greens just can't be beaten!
Sowing/Pricking out.. Sowed 2 beds of beetroot, pricked out one bed of beetroot, pricked out 2 beds of cavalo nero, sowed more lettuces, and kale, and at home on top of the log burning stove (the cool end, don't want to cook them!) we have courgettes and tomatoes keeping warm trying to germinate!!! We haven't used all our tomato seed yet as I still think it's a bit early given we are likely to still get frosts in 6 weeks... The courgettes will go in the polytunnel to hopefully give us an early crop. We will have to kill these in thir prime as otherwise they will smother out the tomatoes.. that's going to be hard to do! Still plenty more sowing to do this week.
In the boxes:
Small - potatoes, carrots, onions, sweet potato, cauliflower, salad*, Helda beans, kiwi fruit
Regular - potatoes, carrots, onions, spring greens*, purple sprouting broccoli*, spinach* or chard*, leeks*, courgette, fennel, oranges, rhubarb.
*Some / all of these harvested by us in Prion
Carrots - no more dirty ones now till new carrots are harvested so we're down to the last of the stored ones for the next few weeks. They've been stored in cold rooms and don't last long once out - we've put in a smaller amount this week as a result and we recommend you use them up quickly. Apologies if you get a slimy one, we've tried to take them out when packing but it's tricky sometimes.
In the shop:
A pretty similar list to last week, with a few additions....it's a big old list, we've got lots to sell so please come help us shift it! In coming weeks the selection may drop off so enjoy the variety whilst we have it.
A little note: If you send a ore-order in by email, please try to get it to us by end of day Wednesday - if we don't get it till Thursday morning it can be hard to put things aside before we open and you may miss out. We can't get to the unit/shop much before 8.45am on a Thursday, after harvesting and school drop off (during term time), and open at 10 so only have a limited time to set the shop up and put aside pre-orders.
We've got parsnips and Roscoff onions back in, plus more of those yummy grapefruits and kumquats, some blueberries (Spanish) and also more UK apples (have lost count of how many times have told people 'these really are the last of the UK apples'...!)
New store cupboard bits - we've got jumbo oats and tins of black beans plus the tahini a few of you have asked for
Potatoes, onions (brown and Roscoff), carrots
Cabbages - white and red
Sweet potatoes (v limited)
Red peppers (not palermo this week unfortunately)
UK mini cucumbers and full-size cucumbers
Flat Helda beans
Tomatoes - cherry and vine
Aubergines (v limited)
Purple sprouting broccoli*
Spinach* (v limited)
Salad* (and maybe some heads of lettuce)
Fresh garlic / turmeric / ginger
Fruit: Bananas, oranges, lemons, apples (Gala -tasty), kiwi fruit, blueberries, grapefruit, kumquats
Also Pentrefelin milk, free-range eggs and Nant y Felin sourdough
In the kitchen:
A customer who had Jerusalem artichokes in her box last week came into the shop to get more and recommended this smoked fish gratin recipe which I'm keen to try.
And here's some tips from Riverford on purple sprouting broccoli.
Finally, I picked up a lovely book in the library yesterday called 'Captain Tom's Life Lessons' and here's an excerpt which jumped out when I flicked through: 'I'm sure one of the reasons I'm so hale and hearty is that we only had natural, wholesome food when I were a growing lad. There were no supermarkets selling ready meals overladen with fat, sugar or salt, and no takeaways other than fish and chips. My childhood dinners of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, sausage and mash or toad-in-the-hole were all homemade from produce bought directly from country folk. These traders sold their wares in the street from wooden carts laden with potatoes and onions, apples, strawberries, butter and eggs. Everything was locally grown, seasonal and freshly harvested, so there was nothing out of step or exotic.' Well, we don't have a wooden cart (yet) but we do have locally grown, seasonal and freshly harvested! :) Talking of natural and wholesome, Chris has actually made it his mission for this month (yes, bad timing with Easter!) to avoid any ultra processed food (upf) - and he's feeling good for it, interestingly getting fewer urges to snack than he would do normally (not that he eats much upf anyway but it's hard to avoid).
Buy extras from the shop here
Don't forget to wash everything before you eat it
Have a lovely week
#enjoy that tasty veg