Organic beetroot harvesting at Vital Veg Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 19th March 2018

On the Farm
Another mixed week weather-wise – but at least we have been spared the deep snow!  The good news is that the leeks are all sown, and we have just about finished grading the potato seed.  We hope to be planting the potatoes in the next two weeks – but as with everything on the farm, it is going to depend on the weather.  Right now the soil is far too wet to contemplate doing any preparatory outside at all.  Nice dry days with a bit of warmth is what we need…

Indoor sowing is going apace now, and in addition to leeks we have sown red cabbages, spring cabbages, some kales, early cauliflowers, chard, early beetroots, lettuces and lots of other salad leaves.  The nursery tunnel is looking very full.  This week we’ll be planting some of the young plants that we sowed in November, and this will free up just enough space to allow us to start on the next batches!

In the pack shed, we are testing out new processes on our packline.  We are always on the lookout for techniques that help us keep our error rate to a minimum.  We are also always striving to make the process as comfortable as possible everyone who tackles the task of packing boxes.  It can be pretty chilly in the shed since there is not much overlap in the optimal temperature for vegetables and people.  Amongst the most successful innovations over the years have been rubber mats to help keep toes warm! Simple pleasures 

Last of the homegrown beetroot
This week sees the last of our homegrown beetroot heading out to customers.  There is a mix of our own and bought in from other organic growers this week, so you may receive one or the other if there is beetroot in your box.  Beetroot is amongst the most popular vegetables on the farm.  13 years ago, when we first started selling our vegetables, beetroot was amongst the least popular – along with kale (another current favourite!).  Both beetroot and kale have been hailed as “superfoods” in the intervening period, with various studies showing the benefits that they bring to health.  This, along with better access to recipes that make use of these delicious vegetables, has made a big difference and we find ourselves planting more of them every year to keep up with the demand.

As always, we do try our very best to screen for quality.  This this time of year we worry about vegetables that may have had too much frost in the field and which may slip past us in the pack shed...  If you do receive anything with unacceptable frost damage or blackening on the inside do let us know and we will happily credit your account or deliver extra veg next time.

We are entering the time of year when we will have to buy in more organic vegetables from other growers because the “hungry gap” is heading our way.  We never know quite when this will start because it depends on how good our harvest is and how quickly you eat the vegetables.  We always have some homegrown vegetables, thanks to our polytunnels, and we are constantly exploring ways to extend our growing season so that more comes from our farm 12 months of the year.