Newsletter 6th September 2021

On the farm
Part of me was hoping for a cool week this week. Another batch of broccoli is ready, and it travels better from our farm to your plates when it is cool. Even a short period of warmth shortens its shelf life considerably. We don’t have refrigeration on the farm, as we so rarely need it. Broccoli is the one crop that we would use it for. Instead we harvest very early in the morning, and pack in our insulated shed, so that the broccoli heads never have the sun on them when they are harvested. And of course they go out to you on the same day that we cut them. Even so, they can still run to yellow in these conditions.

The other part of me is thoroughly enjoying the late season warmth. I am not alone in this of course, and the number of bees and butterflies, and other insects buzzing and fluttering about on the farm shows just how many are making the most of the warmth. The swallows, fattening ahead of their imminent trip south, are enjoying the bounty. At the end of last week I mowed our clover ley (fertility building phase for our soil), and flushed lots of insects into the air. I was treated to a remarkable swirling display of acrobatic flying by perhaps 50 swallows. One of the benefits of a tractor without a cab is that the birds swoop right past you, and almost invite you to be one of the flock!

Mowing our ley helps maximize the goodness that goes into the soil for the crop that will follow. Mowing does have its downsides of course. It uses energy, and it can be damaging to creatures living in the ley. We mow quite high to give frogs and toads space, and our mower is at the back of the tractor, with a bar in front of the tractor itself so that bees and other insects are flushed upwards into the air and not into the mower. This way we can reduce the amount of damage we do, and the swallows certainly approve!

The first of our short-season Romanesco are in the boxes this week. Romanesco is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. It is one of the most amazing looking vegetables, with its lime-green florets arranged in perfect Fibonacci spirals. Have a look closely and see just how beautifully it is made! In terms of cooking, treat it as a cauliflower, and don’t overcook it.

It really helps us keep our own prices level if you can return our boxes regularly and in good condition – please wipe them clean and leave them out for us to collect when your next delivery is due. THANK YOU