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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Eating out locally and...sowing turnips

We've been really enjoying a few days of dry sunny weather, and the birds seem to be the same. Although we know Spring isn't here quite yet...

We wanted to do a plug for Nant y Felin restaurant (between Denbigh and Ruthin, next to the PO) - we've been selling their amazing sourdough bread now for nearly 2 years (first in the shop and now in the boxes too) and we get so much great feedback on taste and quality, unsurprising given the amount of love and effort that goes into it. The reason we asked Rob if we could start selling his bread is that we wanted to eat it ourselves and selling it in the shop helped us justify the trip to pick it up! Nowhere else in Denbigh sold sourdough so we figured we needed to make it happen.

Since we've been buying from Rob and Vicky at Nant y Felin we've got to know them and see the work they put in to every aspect of the business. If you haven't yet been for a meal there, you're missing out (and if you went there before 2018 it was under different ownership so doesn't count!). We are so fortunate living in this area to have such an experienced chef running his own restaurant - we'd encourage you to support him if you don't already. He makes everything from scratch and is a forager so the menu can change according to what he finds growing! He's open Wed-Sat evenings and Sunday lunch, and you need to book. It's lovely and cosy at this time of year with an open fire in the bar area.

In the field:

Chris and Rosie still just doing one day a week at moment in field but they are pretty happy with where they're at compared to previous years. This week they ran the rotary plough over some of the paths - taken the top 5cm of soil from some of the paths and moved it onto the beds (making a clearer distinction between the beds and the paths). They also chipped the old willow from the last couple of years bean structures to put down on the paths. We've already coppiced half of the willow in our own garden ready for this year's bean structures.

The swiss chard has been growing in clumps of plants which we've now split and transplanted in polytunnel with the hope we'll get a better yield. Also, we were growing lettuces amongst the broad beans in the small polytunnel but have moved these into the big polytunnel as they were getting crowded out by the beans. Chris also wanted to add that they've sown a tray of turnips which should be reasdy in a couple of months (yes we know not the most exciting of crops but it's better than nothing!).

In the boxes:

Small - potatoes, carrots, onions, sprouts, red cabbage, leeks, sweet potatoes, tango clementines

Regular - potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, beetroot, parsnips, palermo peppers, cherry tomatoes, Tundra cabbage, apples

We had 3 varieties of organic apples in this week: Crimson Crisp, Ashmead's Kernel and Adam's Pearmain so if you get a regular box you'll have had one of those varieties.

In the shop:

Pretty similar stock list to last week...still not harvesting many of our leaves as we want to keep them growing for a few weeks to get more from them.

Potatoes, carrots, onions, beetroot, parsnips, celeriac, onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric

Red cabbage, Tundra cabbage, sprouts, Harlequin squash, mushrooms (white and chestnut), palermo peppers, celery, courgettes, leeks, cucumbers, cauliflowers (a few from last week), cherry tomatoes

Fruit: apples, oranges (Navel and blood), lemons, clementines, kumquats, apples (Crimson Crisp, Ashmead's Kernel and Adam's Pearmain), bananas

Sevillle oranges (for marmalade) - we've only got about 4kg left this week, and only have another 9kg coming in next week, so if you know you want some (more) and haven't been in touch, this is the time to do so! If you've already ordered and heard back from us then we have yours ready for pick up this week. Excited by the number of people making their own marmalade this year and realising how tasty it is!

+ eggs (currently we have plenty and most are organically certified £2/box) and Nant y Felin sourdough, + other store cupboard items also in our online shop here.

If you buy Pentrefelin milk from us regularly you may be aware that we won't be having any for sale for the next few months - the lovely cows are having a bit of a break! Huw has done a lovely video on FB and Instagram explaining in more detail. We'll let you know when it's back on. We love that the milk is seasonal just like the veggies :)

In the kitchen:

I came across this page on pulses and thought it was a helpful summary, with some recipes at the bottom. If you need more cabbage inspiration, it's fab sauteed with lemon (much like kale) - here's a recipe. Haven't tried this carrot and beetroot salad yet but looks fab.

And here's another v short article from Riverford on those Tesco chairman comments from the other week that we mentioned before. 'We have to limit the dominance of large supermarkets, level the playing field, and ensure that farmers receive fair prices and fair contracts.' On that note, we were thinking of buying avocadoes for next week (from Spain) but can't get anywhere near the price of the supermarket and it's too risky not knowing what they will be like.

If you want to hear from a couple of local food producers (and suppliers to The Vale Grocer ) - Huw from Pentrefelin and Sam from Glanllyn Farm are joining one of our customers in a chat on Sat 25th Feb at 4pm (Lola & Suggs cafe, Talacre) - more info below.

have a lovely week

#enjoy that tasty veg

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