Spring sunshine to start the week
Hasn't it been glorious? The weeds think so too! And so it starts.....
We think it's important with what we do to tell you all about what's going on in the veg-growing world, so you have some context for the produce that arrives in your box or that you see in our little shop. For the last couple of years our UK winters have been pretty mild. This winter was more typical of what we'd expect with the heavy frosts and snow. These consitions really put a big dent in the kale and general brassicas throughout the UK - we'd got used to these being prolific at this time of year but not so at the moment.
In Prion, we grew in twice as many beds this year as we did last year and have produced the same amount.. so we can say production is roughly half. At the moment we are unable to buy UK cauliflowers or kale, and the savoy cabbages and spring cabbages aren't looking great so our advice is to enjoy the UK greens while they last, even if they look a little bedraggled - we used up some spring greens last night that really didn't look amazing but tasted fab when sauteed in olive oil and lemon juice. The yellowy leaves turn a vibrant green and suddenly you have an amazing side dish that is so nutritious and came from apparently nothing.
With the temperatures creeping up this week we've now had to switch the fridge on at the unit - this uses 10kwh a day and means a sizeable increase in our electricity bill from this month now until we switch off again in November. Eek! Exciting because signals the very start of summer, but slightly nerve-wracking too, as it always is when money is involved.
Talking of nerve-wracking, we were a bit miffed to be sent a fine out of the blue for using an image off the BBC website in one of our recent blogs - 'only' £79 (when we first got the email we were a bit nervous it was going to be an amount we couldn't afford!) - it seems the whole world of IP is pretty murky and hard to fathom, so any IP or copyright experts out there we'd love some advice as it's not something we know anything about and are now treading very carefully! Slightly frustrating when we are suich a small business but there you go.
In the field:
Everything is growing! The weeds have definitely been unleashed as you'll have noticed in your own gardens - having let them germinate we now drag the tarpaulins over them to try and kill them, before we plant out our seedlings. In the polytunnels and around the existing plants - it is all hoes on deck - catch them when they are small.
In the green house we have been pricking out leeks, we've now done half of them (about 2000!) we have pricked out chard, cavalo nero and sown more kale, brussel sprouts for Christmas and more purple sprouting broccoli for this time next year! In our living room, the chillis and basil have germinated - now time to get the tomatoes started.
In the field we have sown peas, mounded up our new potatoes in the polytunnel and been barrowing compost on to the former leek beds. We've had our first delivery of compost from Tanyards for the year.. these will now be pretty much monthly deliveries with the associated cost that incurs. We've also laid out black fleece around a new bed of rhubarb that we planted over winter.
This week we've also harvested a lot. 14.5kg kale, 11kg chard, 1.5kg purple sprouting broccoli, 4.5kg salad and still more to go. The cavalo nero that we planted last year is now starting to flower and the last of our leeks are just starting to send up flower stalks - so we will get all of those out before next week.
In the boxes:
Small - potatoes, carrots, onions, kale/spring greens/Savoy cabbage, leeks, chard, purple sprouting broccoli, bananas
Regular - potatoes, carrots, onions, salad, mushrooms, kale, courgette, cauliflower, flat Helda beans, kiwi fruit
Carrots for the next few weeks won't be covered in soil -these have been cleaned and stored in cold rooms over winter so as soon as they come out they don't last very long. We recommend eating them quickly. You won't be getting as many carrots in the next few boxes until we're back to the first of the new carrots of the season.
Also, you may find some of the mushrooms in your box are older than others so it's worth checking if you have mushrooms to make sure you eat the older ones first.
Don't forget you can add eggs (£2/box), sourdough (£2.50 small/£5 large), lemons (£3.40/kg), fresh turmeric/garlic/ginger, and/or any of the extras from the online shop here - just reply to this email and let us know if you want anything.
In the shop:
We're open as normal this week - so Thursday and Friday 10-1. We're also hoping to have some limited edition sourdough hot cross buns in from Rob at Nant y Felin! - not many of these so let us know if you want some (they come in packs of 4, no idea yet what price).
Plenty in for you this week, remember that the more consistent you can be with coming in (whether that be weekly/fortnightly.monthly or whatever suits) the better we can plan and avoid wastage. We'll do everything we possibly can to get you your produce so just shout if you can't get in but still want some and we'll work something out:
Cabbages - white and red
Red palermo peppers
UK mini cucumbers and full-size cucumbers
Flat Helda beans
Tomatoes - vine and cherry
Mushrooms (please help us with these -some weeks we sell out but last week we had to throw away mushrooms which just didn't keep, we really do everything we can to avoid wastage but mushrooms are tricky)
Purple sprouting broccoli*
Salad* (and maybe some heads of lettuce)
Fruit: Bananas, oranges, lemons, apples (a few), kiwi fruit
Also Pentrefelin milk, free-range eggs and Nant y Felin sourdough as well as the hot cross bun Easter specials!
In the kitchen:
Chris was in Dublin last weekend visiting an old friend, he came back feeling desperately in need of vegetables and reflected (again) on how hard it is when you're out and about to get good food that isn't ultra processed - unless you really look hard and put the time in to searching for places to eat that source local ingredients, cook from scratch, etc. Meanwhile I was at home but too busy to make use of all our amazing produce so didn't cook enough and relied too much on bread/toast which had a real impact on my energy levels and mood. We find when we're out of our routine there are so many barriers in the way of eating well even when we actually really want to because we love how it makes us feel compared to processed options. We both feel so much better when we eat from our veg box, it's quite incredible and we feel very lucky to have it.
One thing we're trying to get better at is our lunches - just throwing together lentils or chickpeas with any of the following - roasted veg / cherry tomatoes / raw pepper / feta - and then adding a dressing (we did tahini and harissa yesterday - harissa recently been recommended so am trying it before we see if we can stock it). Yummy, full of protein and definitely helps with afternoon graft.
Finally, this is a book on our reading list if anyone is looking for more info on the food system - Ravenous by Henry Dimbleby. Let us know if you've read it!
have a lovely week
#enjoy that tasty veg