Vital Veg, organic farm, BBC1 Countryfile with Anita Rani

Newsletter 6th May 2019

On the farm

They say that you can experience four seasons in a day in Scotland.  Well that is certainly true today.  First thing there was ice in the water troughs, and there was a proper snow storm, with settling snow.  By lunch the sun was out with a good hint of warmth, and the polytunnels (I know that’s cheating a bit!) were toasty.  But it will be on with the horticultural fleece for the tender seedlings tonight because another ice-cold night is forecast!  We are keeping a very close eye on the forecast to protect our precious cucumber and courgette seedlings, both of which hate frost.  And while we are very thankful for the rain (and snowmelt!), we are hoping for a dry interlude so that we can get onto the field with the planting machine to put in the red cabbages, early savoys and summer cabbages, and the first of the cauliflowers.  As always in this job it’s a case of “we’ll see what happens”!


Leek, ricotta & gruyère tart

We are almost at the end of the leek crop… they are beginning to flower and soon we will need to prepare the ground that they are growing in for the next fertility building ley.  So, enjoy the leeks while they last.  The new ones will be planted in about two weeks, but it will be August or September before they are ready to eat!


500g pack all-butter shortcrust pastry (or make your own)

knob of butter

2 large leeks, sliced

250g ricotta 100ml double cream

2 eggs

2 tbsp chopped tarragon

100g gruyère or vegetarian alternative, grated


Heat oven to 200 °C/180 °C fan/gas 6. Roll out the pastry and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Prick the base with a fork and line with baking parchment and baking beans. Sit the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins, then remove beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further 5 mins until pale golden. Reduce oven to 180 °C/160 °C fan/gas 4.


Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan and gently cook the leeks for 10 mins until softened. Beat together the ricotta, cream, eggs, tarragon, a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir in the leeks and all but a handful of the cheese.


Pour the mixture into the tart case and scatter over the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and set. Leave to settle for 5 mins, then carefully remove from the tin and allow to cool a little on a wire rack. Serve warm. Serves 6


Vital Veg on Countryfile

If you would like a peek at our veg field (as it looked two weeks ago!) and hopefully our beautiful woodland too, then tune in to Countryfile at 7pm on BBC 1 this coming Sunday J