Vital Veg, organic farm, rocket

Newsletter 7th October 2019

On the Farm
Lots of lovely seedlings in our tunnels waiting to be planted for winter salads!

Now that the weather is cooling rapidly we can at last reduce some of our outdoor vegetable work – all except harvesting of course! This goes on every week whatever the weather. We never drive the tractor through the crops to do harvesting (unless we are using the tractor-driven potato digger) because we don’t want to damage the soil. That means quite a lot of walking! No need to go to the gym when you work on a veg farm!

We will soon be trimming the hedges in the vegetable field. These were planted five years ago and are coming on nicely. The birds love them, and we are getting all sorts of interesting creatures living in them. Those of you who follow our Facebook page will have seen the photograph of the orange-legged wasp we took recently. Along with the birds, this wonderful creature is part of our caterpillar control! Of course, working with nature is not all plain sailing… and along with helpful allies we do live alongside some that are not so helpful. Our lovely woodland, now 15 years old, has trees large enough to support the tubby wood pigeons – and they are partial to cabbages. So, we need to have our crop covers ready in case they move in to our veg field.

Recipe – Braised white cabbage with bacon
This is a lovely, classic recipe from Jamie Oliver. One of many delicious ways to eat your white cabbage. This recipe takes 15 minutes to cook and serves 2-4 people.

500 ml organic chicken or vegetable stock
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
½ handful fresh thyme leaves, if available
1 white cabbage, outer leaves discarded halved and very finely sliced
1 small knob butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

An extremely simple method: place your stock, bacon and thyme in a pan on the hob, bring to the boil and then sprinkle in your finely sliced cabbage. Mix up, put the lid on and boil furiously for 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook until the cabbage is a pleasure to eat. Top up the stock a little bit if you feel it’s reducing too much. Add the butter, a good lug of extra virgin olive oil, season to taste and serve immediately.