Week 19: What's happening
OK we'd quite like some warmth back now please. Just a little bit more sunshine would do us nicely. Hopefully we've had the last frost of the winter, but feels a bit like anything could happen at the moment - talk about 4 seasons in one day! We've been loving the rainbows though.
We had a visit this week from someone who is hoping to set up a veg box business (near Wrexham) and wanted to see the nuts and bolts of how we operate. It's really exciting that we might be able to continue to help more veg box businesses start up, and enable more people to have access to great veg.
Chris hasn't had time to do his blog post yet but there's a video here. In summary it's mainly been about weeding, planting out and harvesting.... bit less watering required at the moment!
Eat Your Greens boxes
So, this is it - this week and next week are likely to be the two worst weeks for us in terms of produce. We're properly in between what we sowed in autumn and what can be harvested - as is most other veg grower in the UK. This is the depths of the UK hungry gap we keep talking about. Everything is more expensive and not as good quality (hence you may find the odd dodgy bit of veg in your box at the moment). So we don't feel hugely proud of the boxes in one way but in another at least we're still getting you veg, as local as possible. We're doing our best! ;) You won't see much evidence of a hungry gap in the supermarket, they'll just buy in more from overseas.
The result is that we need to just use what we have more creatively - for example, you'll notice the carrots arent keeping as well as normal and so less good raw and better in root veg curries and soups. This is the time to finish off anything you have in the freezer and use lots of dried/tinned/pantry items like pulses, rice, tomatoes, coconut milk.
Asparagus is a pricey treat for the regular boxes, hence fewer items. We can't justify putting asparagus in the small box as it would mean we'd only be able to put in a couple of other items! So if you are keen for some organic asparagus it's in the shop on Friday. Pea shoots in the regular box - if you want some ideas on how to use, have a read of this.
As we were packing the boxes we found a bit of extra protein (ahem, slugs) on a few of the lettuces. So big apologies if any have snuck into the boxes, we do try our best to get them off beforehand. At least you know they're fresh!
Thanks to those of you who've come back to us about interest in a fruit box - we just need to find the time to sit and work out how to do it! But if you're on the list we'll keep you posted.
The Vale Grocer shop
Plenty of: potatoes, carrots, onions, red palermo (sweet) peppers, tomatoes (some heirloom and some Spanish), cucumbers, white cabbages, sweet potatoes
Limited: chestnut and white mushrooms, aubergines, fennel, courgettes, asparagus
Fruit: Gala apples (UK), bananas, kumquats, oranges, nectarines, rhubarb, lemons
Free range eggs and local apple juice.
We may have some pea shoots - know I promised some a while ago to a few of you, if not this week then soon!
If you can get past just cooking asparagus in butter and lemon, then this looks tasty: Raw asparagus and fennel salad - recipe here
For new customers who might need help with swiss chard - more info here. The leaves are great just sauteed in olive oil with lemon juice, salt and garlic, super easy and tasty.
I also put radishes (sliced) into a slow-cooked goat stew this week (high welfare goat from here - highly recommended) - and they were suprisingly good, soaked up the juice in a similar way to celeriac and potato.
Finally, we've come across this podcast - 'Rock & Roll Farming' - worth checking out if you enjoy hearing people's stories and want to know a bit more about some of the farmers who produce the food we eat, and others who are involved in some way in the farming industry/agriculture. James Rebanks also features :)
have a good week