Monday, March 28, 2016

Newsletter w/c 28th March 2016

Its been very busy over the past couple of weeks, which is my only excuse for having missed a couple of newsletters. Hopefully this is me back on track again now.
The poly-tunnel is now re-covered, repaired and we have seeds planted, though not germinated yet. It is still quite early, but soil conditions were ideal, so I've planted tatties and broad beans in the field under fleece to see if we can get them a good start and also just in case the weather isn't so good over the next month.
Finn and I have been working away at the dry-stane dyke in between times, but its a slow process. It is starting to take shape now though. All the outside jobs will be a bit easier now the clocks have gone forward and we're heading towards the longer days of Spring and Summer. The plants and I could just do with a higher temperature.
The standard bag this week contains: potatoes, carrots, onion, beetroot, celeriac, savoy and parsley.
The large bags also have fennel, swede and cauliflower.
Substitutions may occur.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Parsley Petroselinum sp.  This is the more traditional moss-curled type of parsley Excellent for flavouring all sorts of dishes or cut into saladsor, cut over boiled potatoes, with a little melted butter. If it’s looking a bit limp when you receive it just trim the base of the stems off and pop into cold water, shake dry and then pop into a jar of water, covering the bottom of the  stems by about an inch.


Celeriac  (1head). To prepare celeriac, treat it much as you would a swede. Peel it thickly and slice. As you slice the flesh drop it into a pan of cold water with a couple of drops of lemon juice to avoid discolouration. Here’s a recipe fpr Celeriac with mushroom stuffing: Prepare as above but slice crossways into discs 1 inch thick. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and keep the celeriac warm under a dry cloth. Meanwhile, take 250g (1/2lb) mushrooms, keep whole if small and slice thickly if large. Fry the mushrooms in 50g (2oz) butter for 5 minutes until golden. Arrange the celeriac slices on individual plates, top with the fried mushrooms and sprinkle with paprika. Serve as an appetiser.

Savoy Cabbage Brassica oleracea . To cook, remove any damaged outer leaves, cut into quarters and remove the central core. It can be cooked in quarters like this in boiling salted water or else shredded and boiled or steamed. Here’s a recipe for Cabbage soup which will use up a few items in the bag this week: Prepare and wash the cabbage and shred it finely. Prepare and roughly chop, 2 carrots, the leek and 1/2lb(250g) potatoes. Put all the vegetables in a pan with 3 pints(1.5l) stock and a bouquet garni, bring to the boil  as it has a big and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season to taste. 


Beetroot Beta vulgaris  Contains Vitamin C folic acid and potassium. Can be cooked in various ways, but don’t peel the beet until you’ve boiled it as this stops it ‘bleeding’. My recipe for you  this week completely disregards this, so have a pair of rubber gloves and newspaper handy. I’m going to tell you how to make Super Boost Juice – Put on the rubber gloves, spread out a newspaper and peel  your beetroot and cut it into chunks. Take 4 apples and quarter and core them. Take 4 carrots and trim and peel them. Take 1cm/1 inch of fresh ginger and peel it. This is easily done by scraping the skin off with the side of a teaspoon. Process all the ingredients through a juicer. Stir and serve immediately, adding ice if desired.

                               PLEASE REMEMBER TO RETURN THE NET BAGS 



Monday, March 07, 2016

Newsletter w/c 7th March 2016

The organic seeds have arrived so it's going to be a week of getting the poly-tunnel cleared up and re-covered, ready to protect the young crops as they germinate. the nursery area around the tunnel needs a re-vamp too so hopefully that'll get finished off at the same time. We have a couple of weeks to get that work out of the way before we really need to be getting seeds into trays.
In the field, I have sorted the gates that needed repaired and am halfway through building the new gates and dry-stane dyke into the yard area. The grubber will be run over the field tomorrow, followed by the dung and manure to feed the soil. The dykes are always a problem for me. i really enjoy building the walls and our land throws up plenty of stone so I'm never short of materials, but Its just such a slow job. I'm not particularly good at it and what looks like an afternoons work, in reality, takes a week. So, what happens is, I get started and I have a window of opportunity to get the job done. When I haven't completed the job in that time I have to move to another job and the wall gets left half built. I have 8 stretches of wall, either needing repaired or built, at varying stages of completion, around the field. One day they will all be complete.
I had my sword-fighting training day in the garden of a friend of mine at the weekend. This is in preparation for our trip to France for the festival celebrating Joan of Arc in Orleans in May. I have been asked to help represent the Scots Guard which accompanied Joan on her successful mission to lift the siege on Orleans. Sword fighting is not the only new requirement for the trip. After shaving virtually every day for the last 30-odd yrs, I have to grow a beard to enable me to look the part. The boys think this is hilarious.
they had a busy weekend too. Both boys were in try-scoring form for their respective age-groups at Currie Rugby Club. This Friday, they're both on the pitch at Broadwood in Cumbernauld for the Woman's and U20's international rugby matches between Scotland and France. Their playing Pipes and Drums as the pre-match entertainment with the Boghall and Bathgate Novice/Juvenile Band.

The Standard bags this week contain; potato, onion, carrot, savoy, beetroot, swede and parsley
The large bags contain the above plus parsnip, celery and kale
substitutions may occur.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Parsley Petroselinum sp.  This is the more traditional moss-curled type of parsley Excellent for flavouring all sorts of dishes or cut into saladsor, cut over boiled potatoes, with a little melted butter. If it’s looking a bit limp when you receive it just trim the base of the stems off and pop into cold water, shake dry and then pop into a jar of water, covering the bottom of the  stems by about an inch.

Beetroot Beta vulgaris  Contains Vitamin C folic acid and potassium. Can be cooked in various ways, but don’t peel the beet until you’ve boiled it as this stops it ‘bleeding’. My recipe for you  this week completely disregards this, so have a pair of rubber gloves and newspaper handy. I’m going to tell you how to make Super Boost Juice – Put on the rubber gloves, spread out a newspaper and peel  your beetroot and cut it into chunks. Take 4 apples and quarter and core them. Take 4 carrots and trim and peel them. Take 1cm/1 inch of fresh ginger and peel it. This is easily done by scraping the skin off with the side of a teaspoon. Process all the ingredients through a juicer. Stir and serve immediately, adding ice if desired.

Swede  Brassica napa (1 head) The staple of the Scottish winter vegetable garden. Just peel the tough skin off and chop up and boil the sweet, crunchy, orange root. Best served mashed with a dribble of cream and a dod of butter through it. A spoonful of this will partner mashed tatties wherever they’re used and, of course, you can’t have haggis without it.

Savoy Cabbage Brassica oleracea . To cook, remove any damaged outer leaves, cut into quarters and remove the central core. It can be cooked in quarters like this in boiling salted water or else shredded and boiled or steamed. Here’s a recipe for Cabbage soup which will use up a few items in the bag this week: Prepare and wash the cabbage and shred it finely. Prepare and roughly chop, 2 carrots, the leek and 1/2lb(250g) potatoes. Put all the vegetables in a pan with 3 pints(1.5l) stock and a bouquet garni, bring to the boil  as it has a big and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season to taste, sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RETURN THE NET BAGS 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Newsletter w/c 29th February 2016

It's a good feeling to be getting into the month of March. Spring should be on the way soon and we can look forward to longer days and warmer temperatures. Although the weather has turned a bit wild again, we managed to get quite a bit of work done in the last week, which is handy, as the seeds will arrive in a few days to allow us to begin the growing process for another season. All the netting and woody stems and long grass around the growing area has been tidied up in preparation for the spreading of organic manure. I've also managed to get a tidy-up in the holiday-cottage garden done and the window boxes have had the spring bulbs added to them. We planted those in the autumn and although they've just sat outside all winter (  the poly-tunnel cover was taken off to protect it) they've grown away well.

This week I'd like to get the grubber, a machine with tines that is pulled by the tractor, over the field to remove the stems and weeds from the surface. it also breaks up the top layer of the soil too, making seed-bed preparation easier. I'll also be able to stone pick the growing area. It's amazing how many stones work their way to the surface each year. I have a new gate installed which at the moment is unusable because there is about 10 tons of stone lying at it - so that needs moved too.

This week the standard veg bag contains: potato, carrot, onion, leek, celery, butternut squash and parsley
The large bags contain the above and also include: beetroot, spinach and cabbage.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Leek Allium porrum  Excellent source of Vitamin C. Particularly used to give soups a lovely creamy texture. As leeks grow they tend to lock soil into their leaf axils, so be sure to rinse them well after slicing them up. A nice idea for cooking leeks is to sweat finely sliced leeks in butter for 5 minutes, pour in a glass of red wine and simmer until reduced. Season and serve

Parsley Petroselinum sp.  This is the more traditional moss-curled type of parsley Excellent for flavouring all sorts of dishes or cut into saladsor, cut over boiled potatoes, with a little melted butter. If it’s looking a bit limp when you receive it just trim the base of the stems off and pop into cold water, shake dry and then pop into a jar of water, covering the bottom of the  stems by about an inch.

Butternut SquashCucurbita sp. The pumpkin in the bag this week is a very versatile vegetable. It can be roasted or cut into stews. It makes delicious and hearty soup, but can also make a dessert pie. We quite often make a curry with ours, so just google yourself a recipe. Cut the pumpkin into quarters remove the tough outer peel and the inner seeds and cut up the inner flesh to your desired recipe’s requirements.

Celery  Apium graveolens (1 head) This biennial veg is high in Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fibre. The stalks are generally eaten fresh or used in soups and stews. To cook it, boil it in a little salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes or steam it for 25-30 minutes. Serve in cheese or parsley sauce or smothered in butter. Waldorf Salad is quite simple to make. Take 85g of raisins and soak them for an hour, drain them. Peel and core 3 apples, slice them thinly, then put in a bowl with 50g of walnut halves that have been toasted lightly in a frying pan. Add 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced and half the raisins. Coat it with mayonnaise, season to taste and toss well. Arrange a shredded lettuce around the base of a salad bowl, then add the celery mixture. Sprinkle the remaining raisins over the top and a few celery leaves and a tablespoon of chopped parsley leaves.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Newsletter w/c 22nd February 2016

I have often found myself in ridiculous situations, so people who know me well will nod and say 'could only happen to him' once they've read the account of my most recent fiasco.
If you remember, last Tuesday was quite wild and stormy, however, I was working my way round my usual route without mishap. I stopped in Linlithgow, and leaving the engine running, got into the back of the van to retrieve a bag of veg. I had just got myself up and into the back when a gust of wind blew the door shut. There is no interior light in the back so it was instantly pitch black. I knew the side door didn't have an interior handle so I felt my way round to the back door and gratefully grasped the door handle. It fell off in my hand! Feeling around the area there was no bit of mechanism left to get a grip of to try to open the door. I had visions of being locked in for days, or maybe even, some opportunistic car thief jumping in and driving me off. The van could end up getting burnt-out or being sent onto a ferry. I do read too many books its has to be said, and have a vivid imagination. It didn't take long before I was thumping at the door, and I'm sure the van would have been rocking from side to side. A fine spectacle, I'm sure. Anyway, I managed to create enough of a stir that a passer-by, rather than running away in fear, crossed over and released me. A strange mixture of embarrassment and relief washed over me as I stepped down onto the road again and thanked him profusely. He did look slightly bewildered by the whole thing. In hindsight, with all that veg and fruit in the back I'm sure I could have lasted a day or two, but I'm glad it didn't come to that. I was still red-faced driving off and back to deliveries.
The calm weather this week, should mean that I can at last get on with some of the tasks that have been needing attention for months. we have sheds with storm-damaged roofs and a new gate to be built to keep livestock from wandering into, what I'd like to become, a hardening-off area for seedlings and various soft landscaping jobs to continue improvement and development of our working area. It's inspiring to be outside with the sun on your back, no matter what you're working at.

This week, the standard veg bags contain: potatoes, onion, carrot, broccoli, spring onion, celeriac and kale
The large bags also contain mushrooms, celery and parsnip.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Spring Onion Allium fistulosum.  Good source of vitamin C and A. Also, a good source of potassium. Wash thoroughly, dry, then slice up to use to add a little strong flavour to salads. Occasionally used in soups.

Broccoli Brassica oleracea Italica Group (1 head) Excellent source of Vitamin C, folic acid and phytochemicals and good for Vitamn.B6. Also contains Vitamins A, B2, B6 and phosphorus, fibre, calcium and iron. It is best eaten raw or quickly blanched in boiling , lightly salted water. Broccoli is also good in stir-fries as it has a lovely crunch to it if you don’t cook it for too long.

Celeriac  (1head). To prepare celeriac, treat it much as you would a swede. Peel it thickly and slice. As you slice the flesh drop it into a pan of cold water with a couple of drops of lemon juice to avoid discolouration. Here’s a recipe fpr Celeriac with mushroom stuffing: Prepare as above but slice crossways into discs 1 inch thick. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and keep the celeriac warm under a dry cloth. Meanwhile, take 250g (1/2lb) mushrooms, keep whole if small and slice thickly if large. Fry the mushrooms in 50g (2oz) butter for 5 minutes until golden. Arrange the celeriac slices on individual plates, top with the fried mushrooms and sprinkle with paprika. Serve as an appetiser.

Kale Brassica oleracea Acephala Group.. Some of the kale is still on its stalk so remove it before preparing. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and also a source of potassium, copper, calcium,  fibre and phytochemicals. To cook, strip the leaves off of the tough midrib, then shred and wash in cold, running water. Then steam for 10 minutes and serve with melted butter and season with pepper or ground cloves. You can make Colcannon by draining the kale after boiling then setting it aside. Take a finely chopped onion and put it in a pan with 150ml of milk. Bring it to the boil then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Blend about 375g of mashed potatoes with the finely chopped kale, then heat through gently, adding as much of the milk and onion mixture as it will absorb to give the consistency of creamed potatoes. Put in a serving dish, and pour in some melted butter.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RETURN THE NET BAGS. LEAVE THEM OUT ON DELIVERY DAY FOR UPLIFT.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Newsletter w/c 15th February 2016

Its been a bit nippy outside today, so I'm glad to say we've been making the most of the half-term break, and got ourselves down to Peebles for the long weekend. This also means I haven't got very far with the list of jobs I had lined up for the colder weather, but I think there will be plenty of time for those yet.
It was Keir's 12th birthday last Friday and the celebration of that continued right through the weekend too, with the snow an added bonus.
The cold snap will cause us a wee problem with the bananas in the fruit bags. they dont like the cold temps and the skins tend to darken quite quickly if they get affected. If you get a fruit bag from us this week I would recommend using the bananas within the first couple of days. Even if the skins are affected the fruit inside should be fine. if it isn't and you end up throwing them out - let me know and I'll compensate you for the disappointment with your next delivery.
The standard bags this week contain; potatoes, carrots, onion, swede, red cabbage, leek and garlic
The large bags contain the above plus, broccoli, beetroot and savoy.
We've had a bit of a glut of cabbages, of one sort or another, over the last few weeks, so I'll try to avoid them in the standard bags for the next couple of weeks.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Leek Allium porrum  Excellent source of Vitamin C. Particularly used to give soups a lovely creamy texture. As leeks grow they tend to lock soil into their leaf axils, so be sure to rinse them well after slicing them up. A nice idea for cooking leeks is to sweat finely sliced leeks in butter for 5 minutes, pour in a glass of red wine and simmer until reduced. Season and serve.

Red Cabbage Brassica oleracea Capitata Group..(1 head) Excellent source of Vitamin C and phytochemicals and also contains Vitamin B6, potassium, fibre and calcium. Here’s a recipe for Braised red cabbage which uses apples rather than the orange based gravy I gave you last time. Braised Red Cabbage: Remove the outer coarse leaves and cut the cabbage into quarters. Remove the  has contiutough coresand shred the cabbage finely. Peel core and grate 2 cooking apples and mix with the cabbage. Melt 2oz.(50g) of butter in a pan, add 5fl.oz.(150ml) white wine vinegar and mix in the cabbage; coat thoroughly; then cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over a gentle heat for 1 hour. Add a little more vinegar or water if the cabbage threatens to stick. Stir in 5fl.oz. (150ml) of red wine or blackcurrant juice, season to taste with sugar. The cabbage will have a fairly sharp flavour. Cover with a lid and simmer

Swede  Brassica napa (1 head) The staple of the Scottish winter vegetable garden. Just peel the tough skin off and chop up and boil the sweet, crunchy, orange root. Best served mashed with a dribble of cream and a dod of butter through it. A spoonful of this will partner mashed tatties wherever they’re used and, of course, you can’t have haggis without it.

Garlic  (1head). Use a clove of garlic to flavour savoury dishes. Split a clove off of the bulb, peel off the skin and crush or chop finely. Mix with butter and spread on bread or  toast to make a tasty snack.

Please remember to return the net bags




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Newsletter w/c 8th February 2016

The selection of veg in the standard bag this week is:
potato, onion, carrot, cabbage, kohl-rabi, parsnip and leek
The large bag also contains cauliflower, fennel and butternut squash.
Substitutions may occur and do let us know if there are any vegetables that you'd rather not receive again. We're happy to substitute them where possible.
Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.
Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .
Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.
Leek Allium porrum  Excellent source of Vitamin C. Particularly used to give soups a lovely creamy texture. As leeks grow they tend to lock soil into their leaf axils, so be sure to rinse them well after slicing them up. A nice idea for cooking leeks is to sweat finely sliced leeks in butter for 5 minutes, pour in a glass of red wine and simmer until reduced. Season and serve
Parsnip Pastinaca sativa. Source of Vitamin C and Folic Acid.  Peel the root thickly and slice the flesh. Boil in lightly salted water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, parboil for 10 minutes then roast for 20 – 30 minutes. Here’s a recipe I found for: Fried Parsnips; Trim the tops and roots off the parsnips then peel and cut in half lengthways. Put the parsnips in a pan of boiling water ( lightly salted)  and cook for 15 minutes. They should still be firm and not quite tender. Drain thoroughly. Lightly beat an egg and dip the parsnips in it before coating them with breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Melt 2oz(50g) of butter in a frying pan and shallow fry the parsnips until they are golden and crisp on both sides, turning once.
Savoy Cabbage Brassica oleracea . To cook, remove any damaged outer leaves, cut into quarters and remove the central core. It can be cooked in quarters like this in boiling salted water or else shredded and boiled or steamed. Here’s a recipe for Cabbage soup which will use up a few items in the bag this week: Prepare and wash the cabbage and shred it finely. Prepare and roughly chop, 2 carrots, the leek and 1/2lb(250g) potatoes. Put all the vegetables in a pan with 3 pints(1.5l) stock and a bouquet garni, bring to the boil  as it has a big and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season to taste, sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.
Kohl-rabi Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group (1 head) Excellent source of Vitamin C and of potassium. Peel the outer skin off of the swollen bulb then eat either raw or cooked. Here’s a recipe for Sugar-browned kohl-rabi Peel the kohl-rabi and cut into finger-wide strips. Blanch for 5 minutes then refresh in cold water. Return the kohl-rabi to the pan with a small amount of boiling lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly. Melt 1oz (25g) sugar in a heavy based frying pan without stirring, until it bubbles and is pale brown. Add 1oz (25g) of butter and stir until blended. Stir in the kohl-rabi strips and shake the pan frequently to coat all the strips evenly with caramel.



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Newsletter w/c 1st February 2016

We seem to have come through Storm Henry without too many problems, so hopefully we can now look forward to a period of slightly better weather. Deliveries will be as normal this week.
The field is pretty wet after all the rain and snow but there never seems to be any standing water. it all manages to drain off one way or another, which is excellent for growing. It results in the soil being a bit 'hungrier' as the feeding in the soil tends to get gradually leached away with the the draining water. If we get some frosty weather over the next few weeks we'll get some dung onto the growing area in preparation for the coming season.

We'll be getting the cover on the poly-tunnel shortly as well. A check to see how many more winter gales are due will be a determining factor in deciding exactly when that will happen.

On Saturday we head over to Kilmarnock to spend a day of sport viewing with my Brother and his family. It's the start of the 6 Nations rugby tournament with Scotland playing England at Murrayfield, which is a huge game. However, that is preceded by a Scottish Cup clash between Premiership strugglers, Kilmarnock (who haven't been doing well lately and have just sacked their manager), against Rangers, the re-formed team that are leading the division below the Premiership. Will it be victorious Killie and Scotland (personal heaven) or victorious Rangers and England (personal hell)? Anything can happen - it's just the beauty of sport.

The Standard veg bags this week contain: potato, carrot, onion, white cabbage, celeriac, pepper and leek
The large bag also contains mushroom, tomato and garlic

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Leek Allium porrum  Excellent source of Vitamin C. Particularly used to give soups a lovely creamy texture. As leeks grow they tend to lock soil into their leaf axils, so be sure to rinse them well after slicing them up. A nice idea for cooking leeks is to sweat finely sliced leeks in butter for 5 minutes, pour in a glass of red wine and simmer until reduced. Season and serve

Celeriac  (1head). To prepare celeriac, treat it much as you would a swede. Peel it thickly and slice. As you slice the flesh drop it into a pan of cold water with a couple of drops of lemon juice to avoid discolouration. Here’s a recipe fpr Celeriac with mushroom stuffing: Prepare as above but slice crossways into discs 1 inch thick. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and keep the celeriac warm under a dry cloth. Meanwhile, take 250g (1/2lb) mushrooms, keep whole if small and slice thickly if large. Fry the mushrooms in 50g (2oz) butter for 5 minutes until golden. Arrange the celeriac slices on individual plates, top with the fried mushrooms and sprinkle with paprika. Serve as an appetiser.

White Cabbage Brassica oleracea Capitata Group..  To cook, remove any damaged outer leaves, cut into quarters and remove the central core. It can be cooked in quarters like this in boiling salted water or else shredded and boiled or steamed. Here’s a recipe for Cabbage soup which will use up a few items in the bag this week: Prepare and wash the cabbage and shred it finely. Prepare and roughly chop, 2 carrots, the leek and 1/2lb(250g) potatoes. Put all the vegetables in a pan with 3 pints(1.5l) stock and a bouquet garni, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season to taste, sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.

Pepper Capsicum sp. (1 head) Good source of vitamin C. Wash the pepper, then slice off the top. Scoop out the seeds and membranes. Can be eaten cooked or fresh in various dishes including pasta sauces, pizza, salads. Peppers can also be stuffed with various fillings.