Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Newsletter w/c 20th June 2011

The holiday season is almost upon us. Should you need to cancel 1 or 2 deliveries let us know on the delivery prior to the one you want to miss, or send us an e-mail. We are going away in two weeks time, on the 2nd July, so there will not be any delivery on the week commencing 4th July. This means that every customer will be a week later getting their deliveries, whether the next delivery is due on the week of the 4th or the week of the 11th. We’re staying in Scotland this year, heading over to one of our favourite haunts, Crail. We all love the seaside and with the old harbour and long walks to enjoy, we’re all really looking forward to it, The boys have the added excitement of living in a house in a town , with shops and other amenities, its like a theme park to them.

The wet weather is bad news in some ways and good in others. Wet weather means its hard to work the soil and when we hoe around the vegetables, the broken weeds re-root again like cuttings. Their growing progress is checked though, and we buy ourselves a bit more time, because the upside is, that everything, weeds and vegetables, are growing well in the conditions, even though it’s slightly cool. We’ll have our own baby spinach and radish in the bag next week so, with a sigh of relief, I won’t need to order in quite so much veg from the organic wholesaler. The first salads won’t be far away either. We’ve picked a bit for ourselves and it feels’ like summer shouldn’t be too far away.

We didn’t make it to Gorgie on Saturday, there was just too much work to be done and family stuff going on. I apologise, as I didn’t update the blog to let you know. This Saturday we’ll be at Juniper Green from 9am til 1pm.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Newsletter w/c 13th June 2011

The weather is still not being very kind. We have chill breezes and rain for far too much of the time. It almost makes it hard work to encourage myself down to the field. Almost, but not quite. We’ve been planting salads and brassicas whenever we could over the past week and the field is starting to fill up. The bad weather has kept the pest population pretty much at bay so far, I just hope they’re not just waiting in the wings to hit us when we’ve got plants growing well. The weeds are also starting to green up the field, so every morning I take my hoe for a walk along a couple of rows and bit by bit, I work my way round the field. The idea is that every row gets hoed once per month, but I never usually manage. The field is just too big for me, when I’ve got so many other ways to fill my time. So a couple of local youngsters came up to help this weekend and they seem to want to come back, so they may help me keep the field cleaner than ever.
We’re at Gorgie City Farm this weekend. We’ll be there til 1pm so please come and support the market if you can. It’s a great setting, especially for kids. They’re not often catered for that well at farmers markets, so its good to have the farm facilities and play areas and a great café on site as well, every farmers market should be like this one.
As a family, we had a busy weekend. On Friday and Saturday morning I helped a friend with some log splitting, then took Finn along to Uphall Gala day. The weather was pretty grim to start with and just got worse and worse. When we got home we had a quick turn around as we had organised to go hiking and camping in the Pentlands on Saturday night. Three adults and 5 boys. We set off at about 6.30 after a BBQ dinner and left the rain and the midgies behind almost immediately. We walked up to the top of East Cairn and pitched our tents in the clouds. When we woke to blazing sunshine the next morning, the views over the Forth and Edinburgh to Fife were stunning. It was a cold night, but the boys all coped really well, and surprisingly for all their excitement, and sweets, managed to sleep most of the night. Then on Sunday, it was work in the field with the new start youngsters.
Here’s a list of the veg that should appear in the standard bags this week, if substitutions haven’t been required:

Potato Solanum tuberosum. It’s new potatoes for everyone now, so the upside is that you get the lovely taste of tatties which are straight out of the ground instead of the stored ones from last years crop. The slight downside is that they are expensive to buy in just now so we have to half the amount that goes into the standard and large bags. This will continue til our own tatties are ready near the end of July. 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. I don’t like having washed carrots in the bags as they don’t last as long and I think, lose some of their flavour. I will get back to dirty carrots again as soon as I can. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Aubergine egg plant Traditionally used to make vegetable lasagnes or moussaka, the aubergine has more versatility than that. For example, they can be great barbequed in stacks as follows: Cut the aubergine into 1cm thick slices and score across with a sharp knife, brush with olive oil and roast at 170oC for 15 minutes. Spread the aubergine slices with a tomato sauce and then a slice of mozzarella, roughly the same size as the aubergine slice.repeat the process til you have a stack of three or four aubergine slices and skewer. I’ve heard it done with rosemary twigs but kitchen skewers will do. Place on a tray over the BBQ and heat through untilt he cheese is beginning to melt but not collapsing and serve with basil leaves and salad and some nice fresh bread.

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 as an accompaniment to grilled fish or roast meat.

Cucumber Cucumis sativus (1/2 head) Source of Vitamins A and C and also a source of potassium. Cucumbers are generally eaten fresh in salads. Just give them a wipe over and slice or cut into chunks. For an alternative to this, try peeling the cucumbers thinly, then slice crossways into slices 0.5cm thick. Cut the seeds in the centre out to form a ring. Melt some butter in a frying pan and add a little salt and the cucumber rings. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the cucumber is tender but still crisp. Serve hot.

Fennel (1 head) This stem base can be chopped raw into salads or simmered in a stock. Here’s a recipe for Buttered Fennel: Trim the root base and cut in half lengthways and rinse in cold water. Put the fennel in a pan with a minmal amount of boiling, lightly salted water and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Overcooking reduces the sweet aniseed flavour. Drain thoroughly in a colander and keep warm on a serving dish. Now, melt the butter. Season the fennel with pepper, then pour the melted butter over the top and serve. Your cress would be a fine garnish for this dish. Goes particularly well with grilled fish or roast

Monday, June 06, 2011

Newsletter w/c 6th June 2011

This will be the last week that we’ll have last years tatties in the bags. Hooray! I here you say, although I think some of you really enjoyed having the really dry varieties for a change. Anyway, New potatoes from now on. This means one slight drawback. The new potatoes are bought in, and they are more than twice the cost of the maincrop potatoes so until the Scottish organic crop is ready, we’ll give you half the amount of potatoes in both standard and large bags. Customers who regularly get Half amount of potatoes will get thesame amount that they are used to, but without the extra item that we usually put in to replace the missing potatoes. Hope that makes sense. Our crop should be ready by the end of July.
We’re still planting and hoeing constantly in the field just now. My ridging job on the potatoes wasn’t a great success but should keep the weeds down a bit. Carrots and onions are looking great. Brassicas in the polytunnel are getting hammered by caterpillars, but the growing tips seem to be surviving so I think they should be fine once they’re out in the field. Skye is going ot concentrate on planting them this week, while I will work on the salad rows. We’re well into second sowings now. Th efirst batch of everything has germinated – it makes weeding them a lot easier when you can actually see the plant you don’t want to take out!
I think I had one of my busiest weekends ever this weekend. On Friday I started work early so that I could help a friend chop up some logs. We started at 4pm and I didn’t get back home til 11pm. Finn and I had to get up to get to Bathgate on Saturday morning as the Pipe Band were playing at Bathgate Gala Day and he managed to march the whole procession, playing all the time. It must have been over an hour of piping and marching – he did really well. Then Jose came over on Saturday night to cook us Paella and had a good chat and a few glasses of wine. On Sunday I was up at 7.30 sorting ou the logs that had been cut then getting some planting and weeding done with Robbie, who’d comeout to help eat the Paella nd to help me in the field. Great weekend! Exhausted now though!
Here’s a list of the produce, which barring any need for substitution, will be in the standard bags this week.

Potato Solanum tuberosum. The variety this week is Axona. It is a very dry potato and a little harder to cook than some of the other varieties we grow, They are great baked or roasted or made into chips. Steam them rather than boiing as they tend to break up in water..Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre. We will run out of axona at some point this week and as the maincrop supplies are depleted, we have bought in new potatoes from Wales to see us through until the Scottish cropis ready. If you get new potatoes the variety is colleen and will need very little preparation to be ready for the pan. Just scrub offf the loose skin and pop in boiling salted water and you’ll have the firstof the fresh organic crop.

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.

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.

Garlic Allium sativum (1 head) Good source of vitamin C and A, calcium and iron. Adds heightened flavour to any savoury dish and crushed and sauted in a pan with butter, is an excellent base in which to cook the mushrooms for a simple Garlic Mushrooms.

Calabrese Brassica oleracea Italica Group (1 head).. Calabrese is an excellent source of Vitamin C and phytochemicals and also contains Vitamins A, B2 and B6, Phosphorus, fibre Iron and calcium. Here’s a recipe for Roast Calabrese with Chilli and Soy:
Toss 350g of Calabrese, broken into florets, in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cut the stalks into thick batons. Spread them all out on a baking tray and roast in a preheated oven for 10 mins at 200oC/Gas Mark 6 for 10 mins.Add 2 thinly sliced cloves of the garlic, ½ a red chilli, finely chopped and ½ a tablespoon of sesame seeds and mix through. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, sprinkle with soy sauce and serve.