Week 21: What's happening
It's been nice to feel a little bit of warmth and see some sun. No doubt before long we'll be doing another rain dance but for now this is lovely.
We went for a little visit to the beautiful spot that is Cae Main orchard last weekend - Nigel and Marion have supplied most of our apples through the autumn and are responsible for the lovely apple juice we've been selling (they also make a mean cider, would have been rude not to sample it whilst there, obviously). So fab to see how much produce comes from a relatively small number of heritage trees, and we're looking forward to continuing to get produce from them in the future. Unfortunately I managed to not take a photo of the amazing view down the valley!
Forgot to also mention that a couple of weeks ago Chris hosted children from the local primary school (Ysgol Pant Pastynog) whose theme this term is farm to fork - they came to see what we're growing and ask about the veg boxes. So lovely that they could walk down the road and visit a market garden - as follow up work they did some adverts for veg boxes to practice their persuasive writing and we were blown away at how impressive these were. Will share some of them in a separate post.
Here's a video from another of our suppliers, Strawberry Fields. Amazing to think they started growing veg on a housing estate and now have 50+ acres of amazing produce! We may not quite be at that size yet (!) but here's Chris talking about our new drip irrigation system in the polytunnel - frustrating to install but hopefully all worth it! We'll have a few more of our strawberries in the shop on Friday - super sweet and super tasty.
Eat Your Greens boxes:
Well, once again these aren't looking amazing as we still wallow in the hungry gap and not quite into all the lovely new veg yet. We also had a problem with the order and didn't get enough cabbages for the regular boxes so have had to top up with other things (which means less for the shop, sorry). We are doing asparagus in the regular boxes again next week - normally we only put asparagus in once a year but there's so little of anything else around we didn't have much choice. We figured we should put in the best of UK veg even if it's smaller portions / pricier.
The Vale Grocer shop:
Limited: potatoes, onions, garlic, cucumber, carrots, red palermo peppers, green palermo peppers, asparagus, white cabbages, chestnut mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, courgettes. Fresh greens we've got salad leaves and pea shoots.
Fruit: oranges, apples, rhubarb, bananas, apricots, strawberries
+ eggs and apple juice
If you missed the post on eating during the UK hungry gap, here it is. We are really noticing that we're relying on our tins and frozen stuff, so much less inspired by the veg at the moment.
If you've got excess rhubarb at the moment, try making rhubarb cordial.
Spring greens in the small boxes this week - these taste so much better than they look, don't give up on them! We love them just cooked in olive oil with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of salt. The Riverford Farm cook book suggests chopping them crossways into strips, and:
adding some to an omelette or frittata
cooking them gently in butter with chopped bacon
stir-frying them with garlic and soy sauce
Fennel in the regular boxes - try this with some olives (we can get olives from our wholesaler if you fancy trying some organic ones).
have a good week