Vital Veg, organic farm, curly kale

Newsletter 2nd September 2019

First signs of autumn.
It is that time of year already. The woods are starting to fill with mushrooms and the leaves on the trees are beginning to take on the first hints of their autumn colours. The winds are getting up (which makes us nervous as the crop covers can take off), and the temperatures are going down. It was hovering around 5 °C on Sunday night, rather close to chilling for our courgette plants outdoors.

Indoors things are a little warmer. The cucumbers are still cropping well, thought they too will begin to slow as the temperatures fall. The next batch of winter/spring salads are ready for planting in the tunnel. These will provide some variation from the staples of cabbage and kale that form such a key part of the local north-east winter greens.

We will soon be thinking about the plans for next year’s crops. It is hard to believe that it is almost that time already. Each year seems to go faster than the one before it, and each year is completely different – filled with its own unique challenges!

Heritage beetroots
If you have beetroot in this week’s box it may be either cylindrical red beetroot or our Italian beetroots (Chioggia di barbietola). This old Italian variety has alternating red and white growth rings, so that when you slice it at 90 degrees to the shoots you will see lovely rings.

Sometimes we put the beetroots in your boxes complete with tops, as long as the tops are presentable – giving you two veg in one. Try to use the tops early in the week to get the best from them. Cut them off the roots and store separately if you have trouble fitting them in your fridge.

If you are wondering what to do with the beetroots then here are a few ideas:

• Slice or dice and marinade in a lovely dressing made from a good oil and a wine or fruit vinegar and fresh dill.
• Soup
• Juice (good mixed with apple juice).
• Slice or dice and mix with a dressing of yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice (inspired by Turkish cuisine).
• Roast with a mix of other root veg.