Vital Veg, organic farm, celery and seedlings

Newsletter 15 June 2020

On the farm
There are never two weeks, or even two days the same on the farm. We have been hoping for rain. And we have had some, thankfully, but we are now in constant gloom and damp, which is hindering our weeding programme. There is a price for everything, as they say, and the price of rain or dew for us is extra weeds which are difficult to deal with in wet weather. This adds to our costs and can impact on our yields, so we are hoping for the return of the sun.

Being a Grower instills in you the importance of balance in all things. The effects of even a fraction too much, or too little or anything are visible very quickly. Plants are very sensitive beings, especially short-lived ones such as vegetables, and they show imbalances in the blink of an eye. Hence life as a Grower is one of constant vigilance and attention to detail – plus a good deal of intuition and nail-biting! Our growing season here in Scotland is very short, and second chances for most crops don’t come until a new year begins. Windows of opportunity to carry out critical jobs can be very narrow, and with our increasingly unpredictable weather, they can occur at rather unexpected and inconvenient times. So, like Growers everywhere, we are on high alert!

Recipe: Courgette and Lemon risotto
A recipe for 2 people, from the BBC Good Food Website

50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
180g risotto rice
1 vegetable stock cube
zest and juice 1 lemon
2 lemon thyme sprigs
250g courgette, diced
50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
2 tbsp crème fraiche

Melt the butter in a deep frying pan. Add the onion and fry gently until softened for about 8 mins, then add the garlic and stir for 1 min. Stir in the rice to coat it in the buttery onions and garlic for 1-2 mins. Dissolve the stock cube in 1 litre of boiling water, then add a ladle of the stock to the rice, along with the lemon juice and thyme. Bubble over a medium heat, stirring constantly. When almost all the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep stirring. Tip in the courgette and keep adding the stock, stirring every now and then until the rice is just tender and creamy. To serve, stir in some seasoning, the lemon zest, Parmesan and crème fraiche.