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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

New potatoes and new helpers

Mr Urdd drawing
Hei Mistar Urdd

We're feeling a little bit deflated this week on the veg front, but it's the tough weeks that make the better ones so good! Once again, we're underwhelmed by the produce at this time of year - probably as bad as we've ever had it because of the Brexit knock-on effect (the gift that keeps on giving). Whilst we used to buy from indivudual farms in Europe during the UK hungry gap, those farms can't manage the extra rules and paperwork now in place so the produce goes through a wholesaler over there before hitting our shores. This means things cost more and aren't as good quality as have spent longer being shunted around.

There's really nothing we can do about this, as much as we'd love to.

As we've mentioned a few times before, many veg box businesses don't operate during April and May because it's just too expensive to get produce into the boxes.

We're putting in as much as we can afford to, and margins are super tight, but it's depressingly also when we feel least proud of the boxes!

If you've had anything that's been less than perfect in recent weeks please don't think that's our standard.

The other thing we're trying to do is support UK farmers as much as we can - for example, we know the carrots haven't been great of late, but if we abandon these growers and just switch to a European supplier, it's the UK farmers who lose out when they've already put all that time, energy and land into growing those carrots. It's all quite tricky.

That said, the list for next week looked better than it has for a while so we're hopeful we're through the worst of it and onto better things. And this week we've managed to get new potatoes into the regulaer boxes and we'll have a few kg in the shop, with more coming in next week.

In the field:

We've got now got two lovely folk (thank you Jenny and now Martin!) giving up their time to help us in the field for a couple of hours a week, and it's so fab to have those extra pairs of hands. Harvested the spinach then flail mowed it (as well as salad which had bolted). Planted final leeks (Rosie no doubt very happy they are all in!), and a bed of beetroot.

Planted out cucumbers and built the fence they're going to hopefully use to grow up. Planted another bed of courgettes. Sown runner beans. Weeding, of course. Harvested broad beans, spinach, radishes.

In the boxes:

As above - boxes may not feel super full this week, but promise we are doing the best we can. We do apologise if any produce hasn't been up to scratch in recent weeks, but hopefully we've given some idea as to reasons why above. And by continuing to support us through this time, you enable us to keep the business going so a massive thank you to all those who have stuck with us. There are some of you who have stuck with us through 4 hungry gaps now - and we're so grateful.

Hope you all cope without carrots in the boxes this week, they're back in next week and we have some in the shop (with tops) if you can't wait that long.

Just a heads up there's no fruit in the boxes next week but we'll have some in the shop (if you know you can't get to the shop and desperately want some fruit send me an email and I'll see what I can do).

Small boxes - old potatoes (new next week!), onions, mushrooms, Palermo pepper, UK tomatoes, sweet potatoes, courgette, nectarines

Regular boxes - new potatoes, red onions, Prion broad beans, cucumber, UK tomatoes, spring greens (some look like they have a heart so more of a spring cabbage), aubergine, oranges.

Aubergines came in vastly different sizes so it was luck of the draw if you got a smaller or bigger one, we had the exact number so couldn't double up (sorry!).

In the shop:

Plenty of - carrots with tops (these look lovely), Palermo red peppers, old potatoes, brown and red onions, avocados, sweet potatoes, radishes*, mushrooms, fresh garlic / ginger / turmeric

Limited - cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, spring greens, new potatoes, lettuces*, spinach*

Fruit - bananas, nectarines, apples, oranges

*from Prion

Also - hens and quails eggs plus other organic pantry staples and organic beer from Hebden Bridge (surely beer is a staple too?). Also the super wonderful Pentrefelin milk is back in (Llandyrnog).

We're hoping to get some cider from our local Cae Main orchard later in the year so looking forward to that if it comes off (we've tried it and it's fab).

We'd love the quail eggs boxes back please if you can return them :)

Thank you to all those who responded to our shout out to get rid of all the asparagus last week - every single bunch went, which was amazing. The regular support we're getting in the shop is fab, please keep spreading the word. We're got loads more we want to do with the shop, this is just the beginning, but we need the consistent support to give us the energy and inspiration to push on through the never-ending to do list!

Recipe inspiration:

Struggling to feel inspired at the moment! So much work to be done in the field and then not much choice of produce to cook with. We've been making some rice salads though with odds and ends - this one from Delia Smith can just be adapted for whatever you have in the fridge. We're relying on eggs a lot at the moment too - lots of potato-y hash things with egg on the top.

The aubergines look lovely, and here's an easy idea from Riverford (either a side or main depending on how many of you there are).

I keep getting lots of lovely recipe ideas and tips from shop customers so trying to write these down to put them into a blog at some point.

have a good week


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