New Season, New website for the Vale Grocer !

What is it they say about busy people getting things done?! Not sure being busy should be a badge of honour, anyway for some reason we decided to update the website at our busiest time of year! Never mind, there is never a good time.

We’ve known for some time that the website we had didn’t have the functionality we needed so we’ve made some changes. If have a look you may not think it looks much different but we’re hoping it will help us with some of the things we want to do (this is linked to the email changes we made a few weeks ago too, in theory everything now is a bit more joined up). In essence, it should hopefully be easier for us to update and, to be vaguely technical, hopefully drive more traffic and hence more sales. It’s still a work in progress – of course! – as we’ve just moved the content from one website to another and need to tidy it up but we know that tweaking can be done as we go. So far we’ve copied over some of the more generic blog posts but not every single one as it’s quite an effort copying them over and we’re not sure if anyone goes back to old ones.

In the field:

Harvesting has dried up for the boxes at the moment – two failed crops of turnips and broadbeans should have been at full production right now. Never mind, mice got the better of our poly tunnel broad beans, and not sure what happened to the turnips – but they all bolted! So much for a catch crop!

This last week we have been incredibly productive in the field – we’ve flailed mowed all the brassica beds that were flowering – annoying that the insects were loving them but there is plenty more flowers around for them as not everything has been mowed. Once mowed we then cover with tarpaulins for a couple of weeks.

Beds that have been covered for some time have been uncovered and planted out. So far this week we have planted out 2 beds of leeks, a bed of lettuces, 2 beds of beetroot, 1 bed of kohlrabi, 1 bed of cavalo nero, 1 bed of peas. We’re planting out again today so hope to neary double that.

At the same time in the green house we are potting on tomatoes and courgettes and getting the next successions of beetroot, kale, kohlrabi, beans all started. It is actually really exciting seeing it all happen and for what feels like the first time since taking over the business – 4.5 years ago! – we’re feeling like we are working to a plan (not that all plans work.. but so far so good!)

As far as UK produce goes the purple sprouting broccoli is coming to an end, UK leeks have finished as have the cauliflowers, but it’s not all bad the new potatoes are nearly here. We’ve ordered in a sack of organic Jersey Royal new potatoes for the shop next week.

In the kitchen:

If you’re looking for some meal inspiration, this Anna Jones herbed quinoa salad (with psb) looks good, and a bit fancy! We’ve been loving stewed rhubarb on our porridge in the morning and of course some rhubarb crumble. Sorry, that’s it for this week as the newsletter has been more of a faff than normal so running out of time!