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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Nettle soup and sprouting potatoes (yep it's hungry gap time)

Thank you so much for all the kind words about our the untimely end of our van, it's really appreciated! The amazing harvest from the field this week helped us feel a bit better. We were worried we wouldn't have enough for the boxes but we were pretty much spot on, so satisfying.

We're ready for the Hungry Gap - that time of year when UK veg (and fruit) just disappears and we're just waiting for the new crops to come through. Time to use up anything we have in the freezer and eat lots of beans and pulses.

In the field:

We harvested 12kg kale, 4 kg purple sprouting broccoli, 5.5kg spinach, 45 spring green cabbages. Don't feel like these numbers do justice to the quality! Very proud. And the picture is of our broad beans coming along nicely in the tunnel.

Weeding of paths and beds has started in earnest as all the weeds start to come to life.. trying to stay on top of them! Cleared kale from the poly tunnel and added compost to about 5 beds. Planted out a whole bed of lettuce seedlings, sowed 2 beds of broad beans in the field, another bed of garlic and more spring green cabbages.

In the green house: Potted on chillis, tomatoes. Sowed all the green beans and berlotti beans - about 200 plants.

In the boxes:

The potatoes and onions are trying their hardest to sprout, it's the time of year and fact they haven't been sprayed. They're still absolutely fine to eat!

Lots of Prion veg in the boxes this week.

Small boxes got beetroot, sweet potato, oranges, Prion spring greens and spinach.

Regular boxes got leeks, tomatoes, fennel, palermo peppers, oranges, and Prion kale / white cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli.

In the shop:

Lots of UK veg coming to an end (boo). We aren't a greengrocer's and really should probably call ourselves a 'veg box shop' as what we have is inevitably limited by season and what's left from the boxes but if you're prepared to come in and buy what we have - we guarantee it will be as good quality as we can get.

This time of year is tricky as we just can't justify buying in vastly expensive produce from Europe that we know won't be in great nick when it gets here - for example the Spanish red peppers are coming to an end but really pricey so we might buy a box and have to throw half of them away. We've decided to focus on stocking good produce rather than a variety and we're hoping customers will understand and support that.

Plenty of: Cara potatoes (Henllan), carrots (washed), onions.

Limited: Courgettes, sweet potatoes, hard white cabbages, leeks, lettuces, tomatoes, garlic, potentially a few other leaves from Prion but not sure till the morning. We've also got some frozen broad beans from last year's crop - we blanched and portioned into bags at the time.

Fruit: Apples, oranges, lemons (a few).

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

As mentioned last week, we've started selling milk from Pentrefelin farm (Llandyrnog - sorry typo last week, said Llanrheadr, oops) and wanted to share Huw's fab video about what he's trying to achieve there - we are keen to support him and love the milk. Here's the video - it's an Instagram link but think you should be able to watch even whether or not you have an Instagram account (well done if you don't!).

Recipe inspiration:

Nettle soup! - apparently Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's favourite soup, which has to be satying something?? His recipe is here (taken from his Instagram page):

'It’s that time of year again! Time to make a big freezer batch of gorgeous green and good-for-you nettle soup. My c5 litre batch was made from a big basket of fresh nettle tops (at least a kilo). The base comes from 4 onions, 5 leeks, 4 big carrots and a whole head of celery. Chop these up and sweat in a large pan with 2-3 tbsp veg oil or butter. Add c2.5 litres good veg stock (for example River Cottage Organic Garlic and Herb Veg Stock) [TVG - we have this brand of stock in the shop]. Simmer for 10 mins or so till the veg is tender. Add all the nettles and bring back to a simmer. I added two tins of cannellini beans to thicken the soup, (but you could also use a large spud, cut up and cooked with the rest of the veg before the nettles go in). Whizz it all in the blender, check the seasoning, and you’re good to go. This lot will mostly go in the freezer and we’ll probably do another batch this size in a week or two. And that will last us right through to early next spring when the nettles are out again.

Of course you can scale it down to more manageable batch. 1 onion or leek, a large carrot and a couple of sticks of celery, a smaller basket of nettles (c400g) and about 750ml stock makes plenty for 5 or six portions. You can serve it with a poached egg in it, or a spoonful of yoghurt or a trickle of chilli oil, whatever you fancy. And if you are still thinking, “nettle soup, really??” Then I urge you to try it. It’s literally my favourite soup.'

Also we made this red carlin pea stew which is good.

Finally, as you're probably aware from these newsletters, we love to keep you guys in the loop as to where we're at with the business and what's happening behind the scenes. We've written this little blog post (4 min read) 'A veg box is for life, not just for Christmas' - this is about something we've noticed has been happening over the past few months, and would love your thoughts if you think we've missed something or haven't told the full story. We love getting feedback and the more we can do to help people get good food the better.

have a lovely week

#enjoy that tasty veg

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