Week 28: What's happening
School's nearly out - hope everyone with kids has a lovely summer holiday, and those without managed to avoid places with too many over-excited children!! Looks like we're going to get a bit of a heat wave over the weekend, so the veggies are going to need a lot of tlc.
We've been harvesting our carrots this week - amazing that all the work that's gone into watering (daily), weeding and then harvesting them gives us a cost price of £1.50 per kg of carrots - that's before we make any profit or take into account the risk that the crop could have failed. Makes you think! But still very satisfying to know we've grown some lovely tasty carrots, even if they are wonky and quite small. We also harvested one of our beds of potatoes, and have planted cabbages there. We've done a good bit of tidying up of various seed trays which had old plants we no longer need, as well as potting on our herbs. We've got a big job to do on the strawberries - need to take the runners off our old plants and plant into new pots, we've made a start but lots to do. And the weeds!!! - we turn our back for a moment and there they are, running amuk. Lots of weeding to be done, as always.
Eat Your Greens veg boxes
Regular boxes have got Jersey Royals for a bit of a treat (although we're still fairly underwhelmed by them given the price tag). You'll have some of our peas, broad beans, beetroot and/or courgettes - depending on how much we have of each we do need to mix and match a bit but across the weeks you will get a good amount of each thing we're growing. Small boxes have got our kohlrabi this week - some are quite small but we're still proud of them! If you have no idea what to do with kohlrabi there's some inspiration below.
We've been enjoying some organic halloumi cheese and have some to sell if anyone is interested - £3.15 for one pack (or £22 for 8 packs!). It keeps a very long time unopened, but once opened needs to be used within a few days. Recipe idea below.
The Vale Grocer shop
Plenty: dirty carrots (& some small Prion carrots), red palermo peppers, new potatoes - Jersey Royals & Maris Peers, courgettes, fresh ginger, Prion kale
Limited: cauliflowers, cabbages, vine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red onions (we're low on onions this week), peas*, lettuce*, kohlrabi*, basil / rosemary / lemon balm*, pea shoots*
Fruit: oranges, bananas, a few apples, blackcurrants*
+ free range chicken eggs & quails eggs
+ Bryn Cochyn apple juice
+ sourdough (v limited- if you'd like in future weeks best to pre-order)
+ organic halloumi cheese
One thing I think is really important for us to stress with the shop is that it is very much an add-on to the boxes for us. We are first and foremost market gardeners, whose focus is on growing and harvesting veg to go into the boxes we deliver as this is something we really believe in, and are passionate about, having had a box ourselves since before we took the business on.
The 'shop' on a Friday morning has come about because we wanted both to help more people have access to local and organic veg (who can't have or don't want to have a box) and to reduce our wastage / increase our ability to sell produce which we had in smaller quantities and so were unable to put into the boxes. We are not a green-grocer, and do not have the variety or selection that a green-grocer would have. We can only open on a Friday because we spend the rest of the week on the veg boxes and in the field, and we don't want to shift our focus to the shop when the boxes are what make the business sustainable.
So, what we find is working well, is when people using the shop come in with a mindset of buying as much as they can from us, and then if there's something they particularly want that we don't have, getting that from elsewhere. We appreciate it's hard if you're planning your shopping not knowing what we'll have in, but the thing with local produce is that it's not necessarily predictable! Much like you might go into your garden or allotment and see what's ready, and use that in your cooking, the same with our shop -what we have in is what's available / what's ready and if you can then create your meals around those ingredients you won't go away disappointed. There's a mindset shift that has to happen, much like the one that happens when you start getting a veg box and use that as the basis for meals rather than going out to choose the veg you want - if you choose to come in and buy from what we have, rather than deciding beforehand what you want to cook, you may find you get more from it. Try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens! ;)
Still on the salad theme, we had this halloumi, green bean and potato salad yesterday - really tasty. And I have to say I was sceptical about having a soup in summer, but Chris made this and it's a really lovely way to use the courgettes and broad beans. If you need help with kohlrabi - Riverford is always a good place to start.
have a good week #enjoythattastyveg