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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Jams and amazing UK produce

Such a lovely time of year to be growing and selling veg and fruit. So many yummy things to make and cook at this time of year, not enough time to do it! UK produce is just so incredibly tasty.

Feeling happy that so far we've managed to make aubergine chutney, elderflower cordial, blackcurrant cordial, gooseberry jam...and eat lots of raspberries (they rarely get as far as a pan or pot) - our garden may be full of weeds but it's a proper food forest (and the bees and butterflies love it too). Each year I feel like we're getting a tiny bit better at using everything that's growing, and I'm always surprised at how easy it is to make things like jams and pickles- the hardest bit is actually just making the decision to start, and doing the picking (which we do for you if you're buying from us!). Not sure there's many things more satisfying either - so if you've never had a go at making something, and you have something in your box/see something in the shop that inspires you, just have a go. Even if your jam doesn't set, you can pour it over yoghurt or porridge - so there's not really anything to lose.

On a slighty different topic, here's an excerpt from the email our organic wholesalers (Organic North, our absolute heroes) sent through yesterday - hottest day of the year - they certainly aren't doing this for the money, and they handle the most unbelievable amount of veg-related stress on our behalf so we're very grateful and wanted to share so you get an ides of what goes on behind the scenes... It's because of this that we try our hardest to absorb any issues that happen, so we don't have to cause them extra grief. So when we got the call to say could we drop 12kg of courgettes we'd ordered, we said yes as we knew we had enough to cover those not coming in (they were supposed to go into the small boxes:

'To give you a brief insight into just some of yesterday’s unfortunate issues, all of the Master Farm produce from Jersey failed to arrive, Trinity’s produce has been cancelled for being burnt in the heat and our Bioalgarrobo pallets were delayed by not one, but 2 days. We’ve paid some random cockney with a van £500 last night to get these pallets delivered to us and some of our drivers were busy picking this order at the break of dawn this morning- far from ideal on a day like today when you would obviously like everyone finished as early as possible. To top it all off, we’ve just learnt that our blueberries have also missed their connection in transit so we’re scratching our heads on how we’re going to get a pallet up from Bristol in a few hours. For various reasons, this kinda stuff has been happening almost every week for about three years now and for some context, before that time we might have a delayed delivery once a year at most. It’s become a different job for sure and with not an eye on how much coin we’re burning week-to-week, know that we’re solely focussed on making sure that every avenue is exhausted to make sure that we have the best chance of getting everything into us on time for you guys.'

In the field:

Mainly just watering! - for obvious reasons. Also a lot of harvesting - 27kg beetroot, 10kg blackcurrants, 16 spring greens, 5kg cucumbers, 3kg tomatoes (Marmande- the big ones), 13kg kale, 14kg cavalo nero. A shout out to Martin who turned up on the two super hot days to help with weeding - he wisely came at 7am both days although it was already heating up even by then.

We're excited about the big tomatoes - you may remember we had a lot of these last year, and they were so tasty and so popular. But we had been given the plants by someone and weren't sure of the variety, so Chris did lots of research when buying this year's seeds and so far we're hopeful that the Marmande is either the same or at least very similar (the ones from last year we saved some seeds and when they're ripe we'll do a comparison!).

Here's a short video showing you the field early on one of the hot days - such a calm, still place to be (no sound other than birds).

In the boxes:

We're pretty proud of the boxes this week, and a lot of the produce is ours (whoop whoop). You may have read this week that there's talk of increased food prices leading people to grow more of their own - this is brilliant, and we really hope it's the case, but we figure what we're doing and you, by being our customers) is in the same camp - getting what we can from the land that's right in front of us, making the most of the amazing growing climate we have.

Small boxes - potatoes*, carrots, onions, kale*, cucumber*, courgette*, tomatoes, butternut squash

Regular boxes - potatoes, carrots, red onions, cavalo nero*, spring greens*, beetroot*, broad beans / beans / peas, palermo peppers, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, blackcurrants*

*= from Prion

In the shop:

New shelving is working well, and we're gradually getting the shop looking slightly more organised. Thanks to one of our fab customers Ewa (who's also been helping with box packing aong with Nick recently - we're so appreciative) we've got some (free) fabric Mors bags in the shop - please help yourself and if you or anyone you know enjoys sewing and likes a project, please pass one on (the info is on a bit of paper in the bag). The tagline is 'Sociable. Guerrilla. Bagging.'

Potatoes (small and big), brown/red onions, dirty carrots, beetroot, tomatoes (mix of sizes incuding cherry), palermo peppers, kale, cavalo nero, spring greens, cucumber, butternut squash, chestnut/white mushrooms, peas, beans, courgettes. And probably more things I've forgotten!

Fruit: UK blueberries, cherries (from Prion!), lemons, blackcurrants (hopefully), bananas, rhubarb

Also: Eggs, Nant y Felin sourdough, Pentrefelin milk (we sold out last week!), Organic beer and other organic pantry bits including oats, olive oil, olives, salt. Our ethos for what we stock is essentially that it's all stuff that we buy and use ourselves at home - so we don't offer choice (much less stressful that way!), but it is all good.

Recipe inspiration:

There's a very simple potato and bean recipe that I saw online (can't remember where, but it's a Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall recipe) - we'll have all these bits in the shop this week.

You will need

🔸500g new potato

🔸200g green beans

🔸2 garlic cloves sliced

🔸50g stoned Black olives chopped

🔸Handful of basil

🔸Squeeze of lemon

🔸Salt and pepper

To make it

1. Cut the potatoes into 2-3 chunks and add to a pan. Cover with water and season. Bring to a boil and then simmer for approx 8 minutes. Add the beans to the pan for the last 2-3 minutes of the cooking time and drain.

2. Meanwhile heat oil on a pan and add the sliced garlic don't let it colour. Stir in the olives for a minute more and then add to the potatoes and beans.

3. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a handful of basil and salt and pepper. Serve warm.

There's also a courgette relish here that I'm going to try.

have a good (cooler!) week


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