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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Rain and reviewing 2022

Wow, the rain! Annoying and unpleasant for us, but absolutely devastating for many of our suppliers. We get a weekly update from our wholesalers when they send through the list of what's available and we wanted to share some of this week's note as it gives an honest insight into what some of our UK veg farmers are dealing with, and the knock-on effect for the wholesalers:

'These weather patterns of extreme heat/drought, cold and rain are playing havoc on our supplier’s farms just now. Many of the crops frozen before Xmas for instance have turned to mush, such as the carrots at Newfields. Brookhouse reported last week that many of their over-wintered lines have also been ruined… they recorded temps of -11 temps in December- unheard of! The wastage and massively increased costs of harvesting in sodden conditions like these are making some other lines not worth lifting out of the ground as reported by Cheryl from Royal Oak to us this morning. The poor lass was in tears to me with how desperate the situation is for those guys just now : (

For some context, the problems that our growers experience are naturally then passed onto us, often with little notice and so then begins the stress of how we’re going to fulfil orders each week. These challenges are rarely straightforward to sort out and when we primarily relied on a small number of small scale farms way back when, it was sometimes an impossible situation to resolve. However, over time as we’ve grown we’ve looked to add some larger growers to our list that serve to help get us out of many a fix and we’ve gradually established a better system for when things do go awry. With the way the climate is heading, these extreme weather patterns will no doubt occur more often and as such, we’ll always be looking at ways to increase our resilience for when things go tits up.'

Our first boxes of the year delivered this week. Chris wrote this review of 2022 which is worth a read - a good benchmark for us to look back on at the end of this year! Also gives you a bit of an insight into the numbers behind the business which we think is valuable to share.

In the field:

Chris and Rosie were both back in the field on Monday - harvesting (leeks, salad) and doing a bit of a tidy up / sort out, including getting the covers back on the purple sprouting broccoli which will now hopefully recver from pesky pigeon damage.

In the boxes:

Welcome to the first boxes of 2023! This week you have the following:

Small: Potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, Savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes, salad, oranges

Regular: Potatoes, onions, carrots, squash, sprout tops, beetroot, mushrooms, swede, strir fry greens/leaves, clementines.

Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed with some of the sprout tops this week, and had to throw away a number of oranges - but we're hoping that was just a one off.

Don't forget you can order extras for your box from our online shop here - we can add these items to your next box (although message that pops up says you need to pick up, if you order we will just deliver with next box).

In the shop:

Potatoes, swede, beetroot, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflowers, red peppers, leeks, celery, onions (red and brown), squash, salad, kale, leeks, fresh garlic and turmeric

Fruit: Blood oranges, Seville oranges (first of the season, get ready for that marmalade making!), clementines, lemons, bananas, apples

+ eggs, Pentrefelin milk, Nant y Felin sourdough and other organic stroe-cupboard items also available online here.

In the kitchen:

We haven't tried this sauteed cabbage with orange dressing recipe but it looks interesting if you have cabbage and orange in your box this week.

Anna Jones shares a digital 're-set' guide here (costs £9.99) which she herself uses a few times a year to help connect with what I am eating again, to tune back in with my body and to fall back in love with food again. We haven't bought it but thught would share in case anyone is feeling the need to start the year with a renewed focus on what you eat.

The epidemiologist Tim Spector has been talking recently about not just the quantity but the variety of veg and fruit he believes we should be eating (which is where veg boxes are so fab) - more on his books here if you're interested, as well as a short article here summarising what he's about. Spector’s ultimate goal is to change the way people think about food. “You’re eating hundreds of chemicals when you eat a carrot, it’s not just the orange colour – there’s all this other stuff that’s hidden,” he says. “All those things are lost when you stick food into a factory, ultra-process it, and put it into a vacuum pack.”

And finally, some very overdue pics of the good ship Klevia on her Roscoff onion mission last summer - Rosie gets up to some fun adventures when she's not in the field! Could do with some of that blue sky....

Have a great week and stay dry!

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