Vital Veg, organic farm, summer savoy

Newsletter 3rd August 2020

We are now packing our veg into our lovely reusable cardboard boxes again. We are glad to say goodbye to the bags. We will quarantine them each week before sending them out. Please remember to give these a good wipe out and to leave them for us when we come with your next delivery – thank you!

On the farm
It has been a wet week on the farm. Last Monday saw the harvest team soaked to the skin!

The wet weather has also hastened the progress of blight in the potato leaves (a fungus that starts in the leaves and can make the tubers rotten). Blight is very common and affects all potato crops in most years. As organic farmers we can’t spray our crops with fungicides, so to protect the potatoes we take the tops off them when about 30% of the leaves show blight. Removing the leaves stops the fungus in its tracks and prevents it from getting into the tubers. It also stops the tubers from getting any bigger because we remove the supply of carbohydrates that are generated in the leaves. Fortunately the tubers are generally big enough by the time we remove the leaves. Different varieties of potatoes have very different degrees of susceptibility to blight, and it can vary year to year. This year we have topped Casablanca (the ones in your veg boxes at the moment) and Maris Baird already. We will top the remaining 10 varieties over the next two to three weeks. The tubers will stay safely in the ground until we harvest them.

This year has really suited our pollinator strips, and they are starting to look magnificent. We have sown poppies and other flowers in amongst clovers and phacelia, which we sow to enrich the soil and feed the bees. Have a look on our Instagram page to see photos.

This week sees us (Wendy and Anne) taking our first few days holiday since the new year. Your orders will be packed and looked after by the rest of our lovely team, but since we do the administration ourselves there might be a delay in us getting back to you if you send an email or need any help with your order. We will be looking in on orders before next Monday though, so please just leave us a message in the email if you do have a question or need any assistance.

Summer cabbages
Lots of boxes this week will feature our lovely summer savoys again. The growing conditions have suited this variety this year. Summer cabbages is very versatile, and this one has a nice sweet, crispy centre, so why not consider using this raw in a salad – either chopped and mixed with lettuce, or shredded together with carrots and beetroot (excellent with raw ginger chopped very finely!).

Mini kohl rabi
Some boxes have bags of mini kohl rabi this week. Try eating these like radish, and cook the tops like spinach.