Vital Veg, organic farm

Newsletter 1st February 2021

On the farm
Here at Vital Veg HQ in Midmar we have been experiencing sub-zero conditions for days. This week has been particularly cold, with nights dipping below minus 8 °C. This means that we have had to stop harvesting our root veg because the soil is absolutely solid, and we have more or less sued up all the roots that we dug up in anticipation of the frost! Fortunately other areas are not quite so cold – especially those closer to the sea. So, this week we have bought in carrots, green kale and leeks from another organic grower near Dundee and one near Berwick (there is a shortage of larger scale growers, so sometimes we have to go further afield).

We have been told that some of the tops of the bought in carrots might be frosted. We will grade out anything bad, but if it just the top that has been frosted we’d like to ask that you cut this off and use the good part of the carrot – we have added as much extra weight into the carrot portions as we can to cover any squidgy bits. As always, if anything is not acceptable just let us know. Our own carrots should be OK (fingers crossed) because we took our tractor and ridged them up (covered the tops with soil) a few weeks ago. We will find out when the ground eventually thaws! You can see photos of us ridging on our Instagram and facebook pages.

Our store of harvested parsnips is running very low. We have just enough this week for special orders and a few of the small boxes. We have failed to find another organic farm with parsnips for sale – ours will be available again as soon as we can dig them out!

Spare a thought for the birds
While the ice makes our lives awkward, with difficulties in harvesting, and with just getting around, it is nothing to the effect that it can have on the creatures that live on our farm, particularly the birds. The pigeons are beginning to congregate in ever larger flocks and will soon be turning their attention to some of our crops. We use bird scarers (basically windmills with shiny parts and big “scary” eyes) to deter them from eating veg intended for your table. Currently they are in amongst the flocks of chaffinches, bramblings, linnets and yellowhammers in our unharvested crop (a specially sown mix for winter wild bird food). Fingers crossed that lasts long enough!

Cardboard shortage
Our box supplier has alerted us to a cardboard shortage caused by the swing towards online shopping and the lack of recycling. The price of the boxes that we use to deliver your veg is going up (unknown amount as yet) and there is an extended lead time for manufacturing. So please, look after the boxes, give them a good clean and fold them carefully. The tops and bottoms stick up and down respectively when folded – please don’t try to force them inwards in the hope of making a neat rectangle! Put one hand on each of the short ends and push your hands together – the box should fold naturally (unless someone before you made one of those neat rectangles ).

Potatoes This week’s potatoes are Orla. These are a general purpose potato that can be boiled, baked or roasted, and will taste lovely whichever way!