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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Food security and pesky rabbits

We were given some additions to the list of roast veg tips we shared in last week's post - we've been told to try adding a whole garlic bulb rather than just use a few cloves, and also to cut a lemon into chunks and throw that in too (works a bit like the tomatoes - kind of disintegrates so you end up with just the rind which you don't eat).

We've got the last apples in now until Autumn. The dirty carrots have finished too, so we are now on to stored washed carrots... these are always slightly disappointing and they don't last long so we won't have heaps of carrots in stock for a while until we get the first carrots with tops in June....a little while away!

One of the big things we're trying to showcase with our business is that it is possible to provide local and seasonal produce (and reduce food miles, increase food security, etc) and offer a viable alternative to supermarket fresh produce that's better for the world - not in a fancy, deli style way but in a real, down to earth what you see is what you get type way (think anyone who's been in the shop would see that we're not investing in the infrastucture so much as the produce we sell). This is a really interesting podcast (30 mins) which explores lessons from the food shortage - lots of interesting stuff in there (Question: what was the most widely grown crop in the UK at the start of the 21st century?*) and it's not all doom and gloom. We know that what we're doing with the business is pointing in the right direction so we're going to keep plugging away and hopefully drumming up more and more awareness. The podcast finishes with: 'It's time we said what do we want from our food system and what are we going to do about it?'

*Answer: oats

In the field:

On the topic of food security at The Vale Grocer, Chris has turned into a proper Mr McGregor having discovered evidence this week of a pesky wabbit not just in the field but IN THE POLYTUNNEL! Argh. He found evidence of some frenetic digging under the bed of spinach and blocked the entrance to the burrow with a spade which seems to have worked so far but it's qute stressful. He even went down with a torch one evening to check it wasn't munching away in there but didn't see any evidence so fingers crossed. Just need to wait and see if we find a little blue coat and shoes then we'll know who we're dealing with....! Don't think it helped matters when the same day he discovered the rabbit someone came in asking for greens for their pet rabbit.

Harvesting - we're harvesting a lot of leaves at the moment which is exciting. 8 kg chard, 5 kg of salad, 1kg of kale, 500g of kale tops/flowers and 600g of rhubarb - first rhubarb of the season which feels like a milestone of sorts.

In the boxes:

Potatoes, carrots, onions as well as...

Small - spring greens, leeks, sweet potato, mushrooms, clementines

Regular - salad, chard, courgette, aubergine, cauliflower, broad beans, oranges

In the shop:

We were a bit worried last week we had over-stocked the shop but wow we sold so much it was amazing. Chris has worked wonders and managed to get lots in again this week, including the first of the UK cucumbers, so please come and help us get through it again. The more consistent the support we get, the easier it is for us to plan.

Green palermo peppers (couldn't get red this week)


Tomatoes (cherry and vine)

Cucumbers (first from UK)


Spring greens

Purple sprouting broccoli

Kale tops*




Broad beans







Squash (last of the season)


Mushrooms (white, chestnut)

Cabbage (white, red, Savoy)

Beetroot (golden)



Onions (Roscoff, brown), fresh ginger / garlic / turmeric


Fruit: Bananas, grapefruit, lemons, apples (Cox Royale, Fiesta), oranges, clementines, kiwi fruit

*from Prion - will see what we can harvest on Thurs/Fri morning

+ local free-range eggs

+ Pentrefelin milk (we sold out last week)

+ store cupboard items

+ fresh sourdough from Nant y Felin restaurant (limited supply this week as have already pre-sold a few)

In the kitchen:

Lots of people asking about kohlrabi in the shop at the moment so here are some ideas to start you off. We'll re-stock soon on recipe books in the shop as we sold out a while ago.

Finally, if you have any of those glass containers at home leftover from desserts (Gu, Aldi, Lidl) and want to make them more useful - here are the lids you never knew you needed.

In case you missed it it was World Poetry Day yesterday and Simon Armitage's poem 'Plum Tree among the Skyscrapers' is worth a listen - you can listen at the bottom of this article.

Our online shop is here if you need any extra for your box or want to pre-order to pick up in the shop.

have a lovely week

#enjoy that tasty veg

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