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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

That autumnal feeling, spaghetti squash and much needed rain

I always find it amazing at this time of year how much I enjoy the transition to autumn and the change of pace it gives us with the business - when I worked in an office (in that big old corporate world) I just craved summer and summer holidays, whereas now the seasons are everything - with autumn and winter comes a natural 'hibernation' ie evenings in front of the log burner and more sleep! We're happy with that, knowing that in just a few months we'll already be back into pre-Spring prep.

Just saw a post from Stephanie Hafferty (a big no dig gardener) talking about the caterpillars munching away at half her kale plants - the perpetual kale in our garden has been totally stripped by these little critters (fortunately in the field we cover with mesh) and love her take on it all - this to us is what growing organically is all about.

'It isn’t easy seeing some of my brassicas disappear into the tummies of cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, but it’s all part of getting the biodiversity here so that predators and prey are in balance. Many of my brassicas are under butterfly netting in cloches and frames, protected from these little munchers, whereas others are out in the open. I planted twice as much as we need, to allow for losses. Without the caterpillars the wasps and other predators won’t know that my garden is a lovely place to live. And the butterflies are of course a valuable part of the ecosystem. So, my garden doesn’t look perfect. There are munched leaves and some things have bolted, but it is full of wildlife sharing the garden I’m creating here, and that to me is perfection.'

In the field:

Lots of harvesting - tomatoes, curly kale and cavalo nero, the last of the courgettes.

Clearing more beds for winter. Planting winter salads.

Good to have Rosie back after she was away during August (sailing the high seas). Martin and Jenny - our super volunteers - have been an amaing support during the summer.

In the boxes:

Boxes look really autumnal this week. If you got an oval-shaped orange squash it's a spaghetti squash - don't cook this like a regular squash, tips below. The green-skinned ones are Harlequin and these are fine to just use as you might a butternut - chop into chunks and roast / use in soup or risotto, etc.

Small: Spaghetti or Harlequin squash, pears, cauliflower, tomatoes, curly kale

Regular: Apples, kohlrabi / courgette, sweetcorn (know we had this last week but it's a relatively short season), runner beans, tomatoes, cavalo nero, leeks.

In the shop:

Potatoes, carrots, onions, Roscoff onions and garlic, mushrooms, cauliflowers, broccoli (don't often have this in so make the most of it, it looks fab), leeks, palermo peppers, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes, squash, golden beetroot, fresh turmeric and ginger

From Prion: marrows, purple beans - some of these are quite big but the beans inside can be used regardless (and frozen - that's on my list for this week!), the last of the cucumbers and courgettes, radishes, lettuce, curly kale and cavalo nero, tomatoes, garlic

Fruit: apples, pears, bananas, damsons*, lemons

*from Graigfechan (these looks amazing, very appreciative of friends who picked these for us)

Plus free range eggs, Nant y Fein sourdough, Pentrefelin milk and other organic pantry bits.

Recipe inspiration:

I spotted this Marmite risotto the other day and am looking forward to trying it (I guess it's a love/hate type recipe, hahaha).

Also the lovely Sarah who helps us out on a Tuesday recommended this recipe (another Meera Sodha) - we haven't got mushrooms in the boxes this week but there'll be some in the shop (or go foraging for some if you know what you're doing - our local farmer picked a bucket-full of field mushrooms the other morning).

Spaghetti squash - we only tend to put this in the boxes very infrequently as it's not as versatile as the other types. Quite fun though as it separates into spaghetti like strands when it cooks - recipe here.

Marrows - these aren't around for long and you can do so much with them, so don't disregard them straightaway! Stuff them, put them in curries and chutneys. Amazing value too.

Finally, I mentioned the book Divide (by Anna Jones) months ago now, but realised I hadn't followed up. It's a brilliant read and we both highly recommend. Gives a really well-rounded discussion on key themes: animals, community, food, and more. I have no idea how she wrote it as it's all inter-linked and yet she manages to tell a really cohesive 'story'. I think one of the things I like about it is it doesn't tell you what's right / wrong, it just pulls apart and mulls over all the things we hear about what we should eat / how it should be grown etc and gave me some clarity on what I think without telling me what to think. If that makes sense! If anyone wants to borrow our copy we can lend it out.

have a good week


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