Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Newsletter w/c 10th December 2012

Apologies for the lack of newsletters lately. I better make my New Years resolution to have a weekly newsletter sorted out in plenty of time . Things have been very busy, but they always are, so that’s no excuse. I just need to knuckle down and get it written each Sunday.
Anyway, you’ll all want to know what’s happening over Christmas and New Year. This year we’re not going away anywhere, so I’ll deliver right through instead of taking our usual winter week off. Days obviously will change. On Christmas week, I’ll deliver the bags I usually deliver on Tuesday on Monday instead. The bags normally delivered on a Wednesday will be delivered on Thursday and the bags usually delivered on Thursday will be delivered on Friday. The same thing will happen on New Year week with the exception that the Tuesday deliveries will be made on Wednesday that week. Hope this all makes some kind of sense. Everyone will get Brussels sprouts and parsnips with the last bag before Christmas.
We had a couple of days in Peebles last weekend. We bought tickets for a local childrens’ theatre group production of Oliver. It was really well done and we had a great time – the boys are still singing their favourites from the show. They’re pretty high with the impending Christmas season ahead of us and the calendar seems to be busy with Christmas party dates for the different clubs and groups they’re involved with.
On the farm we’ve gone from being waterlogged to being completely frozen, but I think I prefer it like this. You can get about without getting completely caked in mud.  I’m still struggling to get fit enough to train regularly but am definitely improving, so hopefully the marathon could still be a possibility in April.  I’m also still sticking at the chanter practice and although it’s a struggle when you’ve as little natural talent as I have, it’s still enjoyable and still see an improvement each week.
This is a list of the vegetables included in the standard bags this week. Substitutions may occur.
Potato Solanum tuberosum. We’re onto our own new potatoes now. The variety for the most part is Pentland Javelin. If I came across any ‘volunteer’ plants (potatoes left in the ground from last years crop) I dug them too so there may be one or two different tatties in your bag. It’s such a nice change when we move to new potatoes from the previous season’s stored 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.