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.


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