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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

UK flowers and the last Spanish oranges

I'm noticing it's definitely harder to write a long newsletter in the summer months! Just too much going on. Many thanks to all of you who give us such great feedback on the newsletters, glad so many of you enjoy reading the newsletter.

This weekend I'm off to meet a very old friend who's visiting from abroad, and leaving Chris to hold the fort and represent The Vale Grocer at the Gwyl Ty Gwyrdd community event on Saturday in Denbigh. There's heaps of events throughout the day and music in the evening plus the People's Assembly in the afternoon when Chris will be one of the speakers giving his thoughts on 'How we can strengthen our local food networks'. We'd love to see you there. It's running across a few venues - the Town Hall, Eirianfa, Y Ty Gwyrdd (Back Row) and the Guildhall Tavern. There's free parking all day. Some of the events are ticketed so use this link to see what's on.

In the field:

Weeding, weeding, wedding. Did we mention weeding? - although it's amazing how much better the weeds are than last year, and the year before. The beauty of no dig! Our two volunteers - Martin and Jenny - really make a big difference here, so can't thank them enough for their hard work.

Strung up the tomatoes. Built the bean structures - one more to do (thanks Rosie!).

Planted out rhubarb, more cucumbers, more red carlin peas (and hopeuly today basil, courgettes, squash). Harvested cavolo nero and lettuces -the pak choi we ordered for the boxes this week didn't come in so how amazing we could supplement with our own top quality cavolo nero.

For some reason about 50% of our runner beans haven't germinated, and it seems that the beans themselves have just rotted in the compost (?!) so more to sow today as we want the glut we had last year....we don't ask for much!

Also Rosie cleaned the polytunnel sides to let more light in.

In the boxes:

Small - potatoes, onions, bunched carrots, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, kale

Regular - potatoes, onions, bunched carrots, vine tomatoes, Prion cavalo nero (which we had to suddenly harvest when we realsied we had failed to order the pak choi we had planned- oops), kohlrabi, celery, courgettes, apricots

In the shop:

Plenty: bunched carrots, old & new potatoes, white & chestnut mushrooms, palermo peppers, tomatoes - cherry, vine and heirloom, garlic, fresh ginger

Limited: celery, courgettes, cucumber, kohlrabi, a few lettuces from Prion

Fruit: apricots, lemons, loquats (more here on these little fruits), oranges (the last now till the autumn as we don't buy when the Spanish season is over).

Plus: eggs (hen and quail) and other organic pantry staples - we've been getting really good feedback on these products in terms of ingredients and taste so do ask if you're not sure what we have or want to know prices - eventually we'll be set up with shelves and a proper display but, as ever, other things take priority! Pentrefelin milk and organic beer too, as well as the Nant y Felin sourdough.

Recipe inspiration:

Found a tin of green lentils that were getting in the way in the drawer, and turned them into a great quick and easy meat-free (we didn't have any meat in!) bolognese - sauteed chopped carrots, celery and palermo peppers in olive oil until soft, then added some chopped mushrooms. When no liquid left from mushrooms, added some Italian herbs and minced garlic, then tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce (secret ingredient!). Let the mixture bubble and reduce for a few mins, the add either fresh or tinned tomatoes, and the lentils. Let it simmer for about half an hour whilst cooking the pasta (actualy Chris had his with new potatoes!). Cheap, easy, tasty,

Finally, we love the flowers from Meinir at Tusw Tlws (Gellifor), you may have see them in Siop y Pentre in Llanrhaedr. Meinir posted this week that it's British Flower Week and I wanted to share something she wrote this week: 'Why buy British flowers? Well, British flowers are super fresh, seasonal and have a low carbon footprint (no air miles). Here at Tusw Tlws, we grow everything outdoors, we don’t use any chemicals or pesticides, and we let Mother Nature do the rest. We may not always like what Mother Nature throws at us, but we have to deal with it as best we can! If you would like to buy some locally grown flowers, check out to find your local flower grower or if you’re local to me, do get in touch!' You can contact Meinir via her website here but we are also going to be stocking some of her flowers in the shop in the coming weeks, again like the bread it will be on a first come first served basis as we'll just have a couple of bunches.

have a good week


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