Vital Veg, organic farm, courgettes

Newsletter 9th September 2019

On the Farm
Soil – this is truly wonderful stuff. In fact without it we would be scuppered because we depend on it to keep us alive. And in fact healthy soil is not only the provider of our food (via the plants that grow in it and the animals that feed off plants), but it also plays a key role in regulating the temperature of our planet. It does this by absorbing great quantities of carbon dioxide from the air. These are two major reason why it is so important to look after soil so carefully. The significance of the slightly odd name of our organic certification body (Soil Association) might be a little clearer to some of you in the light of this information.

Despite the importance of soils, they are not well looked after on a global scale. In fact, some researchers suggest that 30% of the world’s soils suitable for agriculture have been destroyed or very seriously degraded over the last 40 years. This is a result of inappropriate farming methods that pay little respect to the soil. We are fortunate in Scotland that soil husbandry is generally good – but on a global level the picture is not rosy. Hence there is good reason to promote organic farming, which has the health of the soil at its very heart. This will not only provide sustainable food supplies, but also help to protect our climate. Given that scientists are warning that we are now unlikely to prevent a 1.5 degree global temperature rise, soil husbandry is becoming ever more important.

Recipe: Spiced swede fritters

Ingredients
swede (about 600g), peeled and diced into small chunks
5g plain flour
100ml crème fraîche 1 egg, beaten
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp crushed coriander seed
small handful coriander, chopped
sunflower oil, for frying
mango chutney, to serve

Method
Cook the swede in a pan of boiling water for 15 mins until tender, then drain well. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, crème fraîche and egg to make a smooth, thick batter. Stir in the chilli, onion, spices and coriander, then season generously. Very roughly mash the swede and stir into the mixture.

Heat a splash of the oil in a large non-stick pan and cook small, flattened spoonfuls of the mixture for 2 mins on each side until crisp and browned. Serve hot with chutney.