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  • Writer's pictureLiz Kameen

Week 36: What's happening

Hope you've all been enjoying the sunshine this week - the polytunnels were not a good place to be, we've been going out early and trying to get stuff done before it gets too toasty. Not a bad problem to have though, especially when we're still waiting expectantly for some of our rather large beef tomatoes to ripen.

Chris has managed to do a video update this week where he shows you round the field. I'm going to say 10/10 for enthusiasm, perhaps a little less for video quality - not sure I ever caught sight of the patty pan he was trying to show us! That's ok, he's a veg grower not a videographer. You can certainly see how much is growing though.

Really at the moment it's all about harvesting*, as well as planting for the winter/spring and staying on top of the last weeds. Chris has done himself a fancy plan for the field in Excel (don't ask me how!) which shows what will go in each individual bed.

*this week harvested: 7.5kg cavalo nero, 4.5kg rocket, 40kg leeks, 24kg runner beans, 500g cucumbers, 6kg courgettes, 10.5kg patty pan squash, 12kg tomatoes, 9.5kg french beans, 1.5kg aubergine.

Eat Your Greens veg boxes:

Most (if not all) of the onions this week are ours. In fact, some of the boxes this week have pretty much all produce grown by us which we're so proud of. If you've got a squash it's either Uchi Kiri or Patty Pan. The apples are Katy or Scrumptious.

Finally we're happier with the potatoes this week (phew) -hopefully we're back on track now.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of veg coming your way, don't worry! There's just a lot of produce around at the moment but it won't always be like this. When you get your box it's worth going through it and putting to one side things that will keep - squash being one of them. Focus on the perishable stuff first. Don't forget the freezer is your friend! - beans are coming to an end so if you like beans, blanch and freeze them for later in the year when you're missing them.

We have to keep harvesting the veg that's there so what we have has to go out - this means that if people cancel their boxes and we have lower numbers then everyone who does get a box ends up with slightly bigger portions as a result! (a massive thank you to everyone who hasn't cancelled over the summer, regardless of whether you went away or not - it does really help us).

The Vale Grocer shop:

For this week only.....(we think)....local greengage plums. These have a really short season and are really tasty, let's not let them go to waste - so many things to do with them if they don't get devoured straight away. Make jam or crumble, freeze them for later in the year. There aren't many so let me know if you'd like some.

We've also got some organic Roscoff onions from France - some of you may remember these from last year when Rosie sailed over to get them. Apparently, 'famous for their unique, mellow taste since the 17th century, these pearly pink onions from Brittany can be enjoyed raw, in condiments or cooked. Not only are they versatile, they have a very long shelf life so store in a cool dark place and use as and when you need.' We were blown away lasty year by how good these were, worth a try. We won't be getting any more in.

Plenty of: green beans (but then that's it until next Spring!), runner beans, red palermo peppers, squash (Uchi Kiri and Patty Pan), potatoes, carrots, onions (including ours), fresh ginger, garlic

Limited: cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn (on the cob - really tasty), courgettes, aubergines, lettuces

Fruit: Scrumptious apples, lemons (new season -green), bananas

+ hens eggs (no quails eggs this week)

+ Bryn Cochyn apple juice

+ sourdough from Nant y Felin (note: none available next week as they are closed)

I know we've said it before, but thank you so much again to everyone who's been supporting us on a Friday, whether you're in every week or just as often as you can make it. We're really blown away by the positive comments (and how patient everyone is waiting their turn - sorry it's a little old fashioned and slow but always lovely to hear people chatting outside the door!). It's just great we can get veg to people who don't have a box.

Recipe inspiration:

We cooked Nigel Slater's very simple aubergine curry this week - very satistfying that pretty much all the ingredients were grown by us! Aubergines, onions, garlic, tomatoes. Happy days.

Anna Jones's frying pan squash and cavolo nero pie sounds pretty good. She says it's a cheat's pie that uses a frying pan instead of a tart tin. I was going to type it out from my book but then found it online - albeit on a website that sells cookware. So no, I'm not promoting the cookware, just wanted to save some time! Here it is.

A bit different but this article about someone creating an edible forest reminded me a bit of our garden in Prion right now! - there is so much growing in there at the moment, from various berries to pears to apples to plums of different varieties, as well as a wall of sweet peas and lots of cheery sunflowers (ok so we can't eat those but they certainly add to the look and feel of the place). We've also got the odd potato plant and squash coming through from other years when we've grown more veg, and some perpetual kale which is just so handy for last minute meals. The hen area is full of willow trees which offer the girls protection from sun and wind.

It's incredible that when we moved in 4.5 years ago the garden was just bare rocky soil, with very little vegetation to speak of. Using permaculture principles (including using edges, integrating rather than segregating, obtaining a yield) and by focussing on building up the soil but by bit, we've created an abundant (slightly wild!) little patch of green. Our friend's 4 year old pottered round at the weekend foraging and finding all sorts of goodies to eat, but he had to work a little bit to find them. No chemicals or pesticides have been used so the bees are happy. This year, in particular, we've actually paid very little attention to the garden - and yet it has flourished and provided us with so much produce. Really incredible.

Finally, Denbigh Plum festival is on Sat Oct 2nd and we're hoping to be there (well, Liz is - Chris has a prior engagement at the back of a sailing dinghy). It's always a lovely event and would be fab to see some of you there.

have a good week


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