Week 32: What's happening
Hands up if you can't believe we're already part-way through August! Such is the life of a market gardener - summer is busy but we know that the winter months bring time for recharging and evenings in front of the fire. If you get eggs this week, they've been packed by a very careful egg-box-packer (yes, in a woolly hat, don't ask).
In the field, we've got lots of green beans and we're hoping runner beans are on their way (1st one harvested this week but we've planned for them going into the boxes next week so fingers crossed!). Courgettes still going strong but slowing down a bit. If anyone wants a marrow from the shop, we might be able to bring some down so let us know if you do. Tomatoes are ripening slowly - but this seems to be the case with even the best gardeners this year so we're trying to be patient, although this time last year we had heaps. We've got 160 kale plants going to replace the ones which bolted.
Here's Chris talking about the onion experiment we did this year - we harvested 36 kg / 40 portions from the multi-sown bed (grown in clumps), and 36kg / 42 portions from the single sown bed. The difference in portions was that the singly sown were much bigger than the multi-sown. But the big difference actually was that the multi-sown was from 11 feet of bed, and the single sown was from 13 feet of bed. So, Charles Dowding was right when he said you get higher yield from multi-sown bed for a given area...
Eat Your Greens veg boxes:
Prion onions in the regular boxes! First time we've ever grown onions successfully so hope you enjoy them.
Not much else to mention this week but let us know if there's anything you're not sure what to do with. Cavalo nero (kale) in the small boxes - this is SO good (arguably the premier league of kale!) -if you're new to getting a box, make sure you separate the leaves from the stalk, anddon't overcook it. It's fab with pasta - or as a side dish for meat - just cooked up in olive oil with salt and lemon (and maybe chilli flakes and/or garlic). Here's a Riverford veg hacks video which might also help.
The Vale Grocer shop:
Plenty: Marfona potatoes, carrots, pink onions (!), courgettes, ginger, garlic
Limited: Purple Bunched carrots x 6, fresh onions, heirloom tomatoes & Prion tomatoes, cavalo nero, leeks, yellow & red onions, Prion green beans, chestnut mushrooms, red palermo peppers, aubergines, Prion lettuces (would be good to know if you want one of these before we harvest on Friday morning)
Fruit: water melons
+ hens and quails eggs
+ Bryn Cochyn apple juice
+ sourdough from Nant y Felin
Anna Jones talks here about a couple of ideas for food to take on the road.
Steph Hafferty (no dig gardener) has this recipe for making cucumber pickles.
She used 2 1/2 large cucumbers because that’s what she had and it made 2 jars. The recipe can be adapted according to how many cucumbers you have.
You need: Cucumbers, onions, mint, sea salt, cider vinegar, turmeric powder
Thinly slice the cucumber/s (peeling is optional) and place in a bowl.
Thinly slice half a medium onion per cucumber, add to the bowl and sprinkle the veg with 1 tsp sea salt per cucumber. Stir and cover.
Leave for 6 - 24 hours, then drain through a colander, leaving it to drain for about 20 minutes. Return to the bowl.
Finely chop the mint, as much or as little as you fancy.
Pour 200 ml cider vinegar into a jug, add 1/2 tsp turmeric per cucumber and the mint. Stir.
Pour over the veg and mix together.
Place into clean jars, packing the veg down carefully.
Divide the turmeric vinegar (in the bowl) between the jars (if using more than one)
Add more cider vinegar to make sure all of the veg is submerged.
She places small glass lids on top of the veg to make sure it’s under the vinegar.
Replace the lid and put in the fridge.
Leave for 24 hours before eating to make sure it’s pickle-y.
This keeps in the fridge for up to a month - it's a refrigerator pickle & not for storing long term. After eating the pickles, use the vinegar to make salad dressings
If any of our new customers - or older ones who've missed previous emails - are interested in buying high welfare meat direct from a local farm focused on regenerative agriculture, check out the Glanllyn Farm website here. Sam is doing brilliant things on her farm and can do with all the support she can get. Her newsletters are fab and worth signing up to.
Finally, why is it that it's often the negative stories that seem to have the most impact and spread the fastest? Here's a positive one for you that has apparently been around for a whilte but new to us, and maybe to you too - 'The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa.' Read more about it here.
have a good week