Week 37: What's happening
Updated: May 11
We've been feeling the change of season this past week - it's really starting to look and feel autumnal, despite the lovely sunshine over the last day or so. In one way it's a relief as we know things calm down a bit from a growing perspective, but in another we're suddenly feeling like there's lots to do before we fully move into the next season! Think we might just have to get used to that feeling, suspect it never actually goes away.....!
This month it's Organic September - a campaign spearheaded by the Soil Association, who provide organic accreditation for the fab farms we get produce from. It's to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming, which include:
Supporting biodiversity and wildlife
Helping to combat climate change
The highest standards of animal welfare
Reduced exposure to pesticides
Food as it should be, and food you can trust
'Organic farmers aim to produce high-quality food, using methods that benefit our whole food system, from people to planet, plant health to animal welfare.'
One of the things that strikes us about our organic suppliers is that they are all trying to do the right thing by the planet, whether that be in how they grow, pack, deliver. A few of the farms are starting to use home compostable bags - they're currently around 7 times more expensive than the standard plastic but the farms believe they are important enough to spend that money on. As we mentioned earlier in the year, this packaging has to be right to make sure the produce keeps well, so it's a hard one but so far these bags seem to be doing the job.
On the same theme, we also came across this charity Garden Organic who are trying to encourage more people to garden using organic methods so if you haven't heard of them you might like to check them out and see what they're up to. They also have some information on why they believe organic food is better for you. We've actually been planning to write a blog post for a while now on the whole 'why organic' thing so we'll share that when we do. Also ConsumerNotice.org have got in touch to tell us they have published a guide with organic, homemade, and agricultural alternatives to pesticides which you can check out here.
Thanks for all the lovely feedback last week on Chris's video and the abundance of veg in the field. Lots more harvested* this week, as well as planting out lettuces, and inter-planting cavalo nero below the tomato plants (so when the tomatoes are done we pull them out and have the kale still growing).
French beans have come to an end, and runners we'd planned to put in the boxes next week but they are showing signs of slowing down so we may struggle and have to sub them with something else. Still waiting on more tomatoes to ripen. But Guy from Riverford (the big organic veg box guys!) says they have had a disastrous growing year - especially with potatoes - so we're grateful we've done as well as we have.
*Harvested: 9kg tomatoes, 3kg french beans, 7 kg salad, 20kg runner beans, 10.5kg patty pan squash, 1.6kg courgettes, 14kg chard, 9kg marrows, 10 lettuces, cucumber 1 kg.
Eat Your Greens veg boxes:
Chantenay carrots (grown in Ormskirk) in the boxes this week for a bit of a change -they aren't orange radishes in case you were wondering, although some of them look like they could be!
Pretty full boxes again. As per last week's note, don't feel overwhelmed if you can't get through it all in a week - make soups and sauces and freeze them, blanch beans and freeze them, use beetroot, kale, courgette in smoothies (yep!).
We've got a few new customers - welcome / croeso- if you weren't aware, we can get you extra potatoes in your box (£1.50/kg), eggs (£2/half dozen), and lemons (£3.40/kg).
Also if you want to look through past newsletters they are all on the website here.
Finally, an especially big thank you again to anyone who went away this summer but didn't cancel their box. It really made a difference to us, and we've even got some new customers as a result from boxes that were donated to friends or neighbours and who have decided that they now want a box themselves!
The Vale Grocer shop:
Plenty of: onions (including Roscoff), dirty carrots, chantanay carrots, Uchi Kuri squash, chestnut mushrooms, red and gold beetroot, garlic, ginger, potatoes, sweet potatoes, palermo red peppers, chillis
Limited: some courgettes and cucumber (the last of them), runner beans, corn on the cob (5), marrows, tomatoes, little gem lettuces (6), leeks, kale
Fruit: lemons (green / early), Victoria plums, bananas, apples (Scrumptious)
+ hens eggs (+ maybe quails eggs)
+ Bryn Cochyn apple juice
Sorry, no sourdough from Nant y Felin this week as they are closed.
If there's anything particular you really want please let me know by end of today and I can put to one side for you so you aren't disappointed when you get here.
A couple of sweetcorn recipes here if you want something different to just slathered in butter, salt and pepper.
If you are looking for inspiration for your rainbow chard, try this pasta recipe.
I was also inspired trying to make a last minute meal this week and remembered courgette pesto - super easy and tasty. Just use courgettes instead of basil and throw in food processor with pine nuts, garlic, some chard or other leaves if you have, basil if you have, lemon juice, parmesan, salt, olive oil.
This is also the season for lots of tomatoe-y based things, we cooked up some beans with tomatoes and had with jacket potato yesterday.
Last week an eagle-eyed customer noticed that the Anna Jones recipe I'd included was only half complete (serves me right for not typing out in the first place!) - apologies, here it is in full.
Finally, just a heads up that we are probably going to need to add a new round in on a Tuesday morning to meet demand for the boxes. It won't be for a month or so but might mean we need to shuffle a few of you around to make the rounds as efficient as possible - we'll let you know if you're affected. And, on a different note entirely, if you're a reader and struggle (as I do!) with remembering what you've read, here's an article that might help.
One more thing...if you wanted a reminder that change starts with one single step, here it is (4 min watch).
have a good week