In the field:
We are well and truly in the Hungry Gap - there's very limited UK produce and our own winter produce is all starting to go to seed - some of the lettuces in the boxes are just starting to bolt - sorry, the Chard is starting to bolt, the kale has already bolted and we are now just waiting for the new little seedlings to come good in a few weeks. This is the same across the UK and so we are now having to buy in Summer crops from Europe at quite a lot of expense, hence over the next few weeks the boxes may seem a little less full than of late.
In the field we have planted out a couple of beds of leeks and chard and beetroot and also done the same inside. We spent the weekend pricking out moer leeks, onions, kohl rabi, tomatoes and about 300 lettuces... makes your eyes go funny and your back hurt! (but we love it...)
In the boxes:
A reminder for any (new) customers, whilst we have a packing list each week for our boxes and do everything we can to make all boxes the same, inevitably there are weeks when we have to make last minute changes or perhaps substitute something in some of the boxes. Across the year you will get the full range of seasonal produce we put in the boxes, but on any one week there's a chance your box may very slightly from what we have planned for the boxes. This is the nature of a very local/small/seasonal veg box business! We do the best we can with what we have on any one week.
Also, the small and regular boxes tend to be different from each other on any one week so we can avoid relying too heavily on one particular crop/item/farm in case there is an issue. In the 5 years we've been doing the boxes this has stood us in good stead, especially given we are always planning at least a week ahead . For example, a delivery of cauliflowers for all 100+ boxes that gets cancelled last minute means we have to find 100 portions of something to use a sub. By having cauliflowers in the small boxes one week, and regular boxes the following week we're splitting the risk. Our boxes are seasonal which means that if something is in season, it will go into the boxes whilst in season - it may be in the small box one week, regular the next but you don't miss out by having one box size or the other! That said, obviously there are more items in the regular boxes....!
Small - potatoes, onions, carrots, swiss chard, broad beans, cucumber, spring greens, clementines
Regular - potatoes, onions, carrots, spring greens, courgette, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, apples.
In the shop:
We sold a LOT last week which means quantities are a bit down this week, but still plenty to keep you going/top up supplies.
Potatoes, onions (brown and Roscoff), carrots
Cabbages - red only
Palermo red peppers limited
Cucumbers (UK & Spanish, different prices!)
Tomatoes - cherry and vine, including the first UK ones from Isle of Wight!
Mushrooms - chestnut and white
Purple sprouting broccoli
Spring greens limited
Salad* (and maybe some heads of lettuce)
Fresh garlic / turmeric / ginger
Fruit: Oranges, lemons, apples (Gala again), grapefruit, clementines, blueberries, kumquats, bananas (not many! we sold a lot last week)
Also Pentrefelin milk, free-range eggs and Nant y Felin sourdough. And Tusw Tlws flowers!
New in the shop we've got the jumbo Pimhill oats (organic since 1949! - wow) as well as the normal oats.
In the kitchen:
Not tried this Ottolenghi barley risotto but looks worth a try - recipe here.
One of our lovely customers sent us this note this week which made me smile as I definitely took a long while to enjoy chard....
'We still love our box and you are doing so well getting it all organised.
It makes me look for some really delicious recipies, and its taken some trial and error over the months with some veg, we actually get excited now when chard arrives cos we know its Nigella’s anchiovy and chard linguini on the menu, I use to dread it arriving in beginning.'
The recipe looks fab - here it is.
Also there's another interesting chard recipe that came through in a newsletter from Sam Lomas (began his career with Hugh F-W and apparently youngest chef to reach the finals of BBC2's Great British Menu):
1 small bunch Swiss chard 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 small shallots, peeled and sliced 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and sliced 1 small handful of oregano or marjoram 1 tsp best quality cider vinegar Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper
Begin by separating the bigger stalks from the leaves of the chard. Slice the leaves in half down the middle of the stalk and then slice the stalks into manageable chunks.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the chard stalks for 3 minutes and the leaves for 1 minute. Cool the cooked leaves down quickly in iced water.
Prepare the marinade by sizzling the sliced shallots in the olive oil until they have softened but not taken on much colour. Add the garlic and chilli and continue to cook for another few minutes.
Take the pan off the heat, add the chopped oregano and cider vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper.
Drain the chard from the iced water and dry thoroughly with a teatowel. Place in a baking tray and pour over the aromatic oil. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before eating.
'I served this chard with some fried fillet of lamb and a little goats cheese but it would be equally delicious tossed through some spaghetti with a load of parmesan or on a bruschetta with a ball of torn mozzarella.'