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NEWSLETTER – 17th JANUARY 2017

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January newsletter.  Christmas is already a distant memory as we work our way through the dark, damp days of winter.  We coped particularly well with the blizzards we were threatened with last week, and generally with the 120 days of snow we were promised this winter!

Anyway, the green feathery-leaved item in this week’s box is mizuna.  We have grown green ones and red ones again this year, although not so many of the latter.  It is Japanese mustard, but has a mild flavour (although the red ones are hotter!) and can be used like a lettuce in a salad or cheese sandwich and can also be stir fried.  The squash is Crown Prince.  It can be roasted or baked, or made into soup.  I like to roast a strip of it to have with a jacket potato.  My wife is more adventurous and dices it, roasts it and adds it to rice or pasta dishes.  Yum!

We still have plenty of apples left – eaters and cookers.  We will be juicing again next week, just to make sure we don’t run out before next autumn.  It has sold really quickly over Christmas!  Unfortunately, the most expensive ingredient of the apple juice is the bottle, so please don’t put it in your recycling!  If you could just swill it out and return it to me I’d be very grateful, thank you!  Buy one now, to help you get through “Dry January”!

The sheep are now mostly inside ready for lambing (except for the ram-dodgers which are staying out, with hay!).  They don’t lamb until the end of February, but are better off inside, so I can keep an eye out for any complications as they near their due date.  Also on the livestock front, I will have some pork for sale soon (mid/end Feb ish). Each year, I fatten a litter of pigs, to root out the perennial weeds and to start my ploughing.  It is not organic, but is outdoor reared, free range and fed on GM-free feed from a known family source!  I sell them in “quarter pigs”, which is around 10kg to 12kg of meat, comprising of leg joints, shoulder joints, belly pork and pork chops, all for £6/kg.  If you are interested, I am already taking orders!


NEWSLETTER – 29th NOVEMBER

Hello and welcome to the December newsletter.  Firstly, here are the Christmas delivery dates:  Deliveries will be as normal on Tuesday 6th and Tuesday 13th, but there will be no box on Tuesday 20th.  It will be on THURSDAY 22nd instead to ensure that the green items in the box remain fresher for your Christmas meal.  There will then be no delivery on Tuesday 27th, but we will return as normal on Tuesday January 3rd 2017. 

If you are a fortnightly customer and you wish to change your week, or if any customer wishes to change the size or frequency of their box to ensure they have enough veg to feed all those visiting relatives, then please let me know in good time (Saturday night for the following Tuesday, and Saturday night for the Thursday week too, please, as it will be a very busy week!).   An order can never be in too early, especially over the Christmas period!

Yes, there will be sprouts and parsnips in the 22nd December box and extra sacks of most of the items will be available throughout the month (see prices below), but nets of sprouts only on the 22nd, please!  I don’t want to run out of them early!  This week (29th Nov) sees the end of the pepper crop.  It has done well, nearly making it to Christmas, but I need the space now for the next crop, so I’ve cleared them.  If you haven’t got a pepper, then you’ve got parsley instead.  It’s also the last week for the turnips, but you may have got beetroot instead!  The parsnips are waiting in the wings!

I hope you have enjoyed the Sweet Dumpling squashes in the boxes the last two weeks.  More of them soon, but this week there are some more slices of pumpkin.  These are best made into soup.  Be fairly generous with the seasoning as otherwise it may be a bit bland!  Coming soon will be some butternut squash, a few Red Kuri and then Crown Prince in the New Year. 

NEWSLETTER – 1st NOVEMBER 2016

Hello and welcome to the November newsletter.  The mornings are darker, the sun has gone on holiday, we’re surrounded by permamist and the clocks have gone back.  This can only mean that autumn is now definitely here!

So, with it being Halloween, we have got slices of pumpkin in the boxes this week.  Pumpkin can be a bit bland on its own, so treat it as a blank canvas to which you can add your own flavours.  We made some great pumpkin soup this week, thickened with lentils, and added a bramley apple, which gives it a great flavour.  I have put Bramleys in the boxes this week in case you would like to do the same.  I’ve even put in a bunch of parsley for you to use as a garnish.  These boxes aren’t just thrown together, you know!

On the subject of apples, I have nearly finished picking them all at last.  If you would like a bag of eaters or cookers with your box, the prices are below.  I have had another juicing day this week to make sure we don’t run out of juice over Christmas.  If you haven’t tried some yet, you really ought to because it tastes delicious!

We are now coming into the Chinese cabbage season.  Sometimes known as Chinese leaves, these can be cooked like a cabbage, but can be a bit anaemic done this way.  I prefer them either in a stir-fry or used raw like a lettuce in a salad.  Also this week we have some turnips.  These can be grated into the afore-mentioned salad, or can be added to your pumpkin soup!

NEWSLETTER – 4th OCTOBER 2016

Hello and welcome to the October newsletter.  Well, the mornings are now definitely autumnal, but some of these turn into quite pleasant days.  My main job is getting the tunnels planted for winter with things such as pak choi, mizuna, onions and garlic in between bouts of apple picking.  I have picked nearly half a ton of bramleys today, and these are now for sale in 3lb (1.36kg) bags, as are the eaters.

In this week’s boxes, the leaf is rainbow chard.  It is the same as swiss chard except prettier!  You treat it the same way as spinach.  Also, we have plenty of Cavolo Nero and there will be some green and red kale in due course.  Now, I’m not a very good sweet corn grower but I persevere because it is something I think most people will be expecting in their boxes at this time of year.  Well, this year we have got a fairly good crop, but not all of it has formed completely, so if you get two sweet corn in your box, they will have been put in as a bogof, so you get the equivalent of one decent cob! 

Coming soon, there will be some marrows in the boxes.  These are huge, so I cut them in half.  They are a bit bland on their own, so the best thing to do with them is to stuff them with something delicious!  There is a simple recipe on www.bbcgoodfood.com for Stuffed Marrow Bake, and a slightly more adventurous one for Spanish Stuffed Marrow, if you are interested.  Later in the month, there will be some red kuri squash and some slices of pumpkin.  The latter will be in a poly bag and is best made into soup.

Last month, I promised bulk carrots would be available, but I’m holding off for a while longer until I’ve had a proper look at what the crop is like.

NEWSLETTER – 6th SEPTEMBER 2016

Hello and welcome to the September newsletter.  We have had a pretty good summer, but the rain over the last couple of days has been most welcome!  I have harvested all the potatoes in the dry spell and am now making a start on the apples.  Discovery are now available in 3lb (1.36kg) bags for £3 – please order with your box!

In the veg boxes, summer is fading too!  While there are still plenty of tomatoes and peppers, the cucumbers have come to an abrupt end and the lettuce supply is becoming erratic.  To replace them, we have plenty of swedes coming on, but can’t imagine that you would want them yet, but if you get a strange cauliflower in your box in the next few weeks, it will be a Romanesco type – just treat it like a normal cauliflower!

Also coming soon are a couple of different types of leaf crop.  You all know and love the new crop spinach, but soon there will be some rainbow chard, which you treat the same as spinach or chard, but it’s prettier!  The Cavollo Nero (black kale) is also ready.

The first lot of lambs are now ready.  They are supplied in “half lambs”, which is about 8-10kg @ £8.50/kg, and size-wise should just about fit in a carrier bag, or on one shelf in the freezer.  They are supplied fresh, rather than frozen, and are cut into the usual joints i.e. legs, shoulders, breast (de-boned and rolled, or minced if you prefer) and chops.  They are bagged and labelled, ready for the freezer.  If you would like some, please let me know asap and I’ll add you to the list.  Delivery is expected to be the last week of the month.

Now we are in the plentiful season, bulk sacks of the staple crops are available to supplement your veg box if required.  Prices for potatoes and onions are below.  Carrots will follow next month (when they’re a bit bigger!).  We still have apple juice available from last year’s crop.  It was made in Feb 2016, and keeps for at least a year from bottling in ambient temperatures and only needs to go in the fridge once it is opened.

NEWSLETTER – 9th AUGUST 2016

Hello and welcome to the August newsletter.  We seem to be having a decent summer now, after an iffy start, but I’m afraid to say, dear reader, that my lake is a bit low and we need some rain!  Quite happy for it to happen overnight, though!

I’ve spent most of the last few weeks hoeing and weeding the summer plantings.  Happily most of that is now finished so I can rest my back and knees doing something more interesting before stretching upwards for the apples at the end of the month!  Gym membership not necessary with this job!

In the veg boxes, we are now on new season outdoor onions.  They are still a bit green as they are being harvested on the day of packing, but soon I will harvest them all and dry them properly!  The potatoes in the tunnel are nearly finished and the outside crop is looking good.  The changeover will be seamless as the variety is the same – CAROLUS!  Coming soon will be some home grown grapes.  They are not seedless, but you can always juice them!

There’s a bit of a lettuce shortage this week, I’m afraid, but there are plenty more in the pipeline for next week and beyond.  It is a fine line between growing enough for a continuous supply and growing too many and having to waste them.

In the tunnels, for some reason the courgettes are not producing this year.  I’m only getting a handful each cut.  The cucumbers which are in the same bay, same irrigation etc are running rampant, though, so it’s a bit of a mystery.

We also have a few non-organic hens eggs available if anyone is interested.  They are free range and fed on GM free corn from my brother-in-law’s farm.  They are £1 per half dozen and are medium sized with the odd smaller one from a younger hen!  Please let me know if you would like some, but availability is sometimes a bit erratic! 

In the orchard, the apples are well on their way.  We still have apple juice available from last year’s crop.  It keeps for at least a year from bottling in ambient temperatures and only needs to go in the fridge once it is opened.  A nice refreshing drink in the summer!  It is £2.50 per 750ml bottle

NEWSLETTER – 12th JULY 2016

Hello and welcome to the July newsletter.  Well, I guess this is summer now!  After a balmy beginning of June, it went very wet and soggy.  This made planting quite difficult towards the end of June.  Since then, it has settled somewhere in the middle.  At least it is dry enough to get things done!

The main job in June was planting all the veg for the winter – swedes, cabbages, caulis, sprouting, kale, squash and so on.  Since then, I have been through and hoed around the plants and done a mechanical weed kill down the rows, so hopefully they will stay reasonably weed free this year.  The plants are all covered by fleece as they are planted.  This is mainly to stop the rooks pulling them up and the pigeons eating them.  However, it doesn’t stop the slugs from having a go underneath.  They love the microclimate under the fleece and have celebrated by ruining a batch of caulis planted in the wet, which they also like.  Not many left to hoe around in that bed!

The veg boxes are now very much “new season”.  Although there haven’t been many cucumbers so far, in about a couple of weeks we will be awash with them as the second batch start to produce.  The tomatoes have got a lot of fruit on them, but none of it quite ripe yet.  It’s always frustrating in the salad season to have to wait for them!  Can’t they see that we need them on our plates?!  The lettuce are also doing well this year, but there may be a gap towards the end of the month due to a failed batch.  All the rest are coming along nicely, though.  The new season potatoes are CAROLUS, the same variety as the majority of last year.  They are being dug in the polytunnels which can be a hot job unless you get your timing right!  Any old season potatoes are variety REMARKA.

We also have a few non-organic hens eggs available if anyone is interested.  They are free range and fed on GM free corn from my brother-in-law’s farm.  They are £1 per half dozen and are medium sized with the odd smaller one from a younger hen!  Please let me know if you would like some, but availability is sometimes a bit erratic! 

In the orchard, the apples are well on their way.  We still have apple juice available from last year’s crop.  It keeps for at least a year from bottling in ambient temperatures and only needs to go in the fridge once it is opened.  A nice refreshing drink in the summer!  It is £2.50 per 750ml bottle

NEWSLETTER – 14th JUNE 2016

Hello and welcome to the June newsletter.  We’ve had some decent weather since the last newsletter and I think that summer may well now be here!  We’ve had our first thunderstorm, anyway, and I wouldn’t complain if we had another one!  I have got the irrigation working properly now, though.  Earlier in the season it was down on pressure due to a split in the pipe from the pumps, underwater where I couldn’t see it.  When the water level went down, it revealed itself and has now been mended!

So, the hungry gap is coming to an end now.  There are a number of new crops finding their way into the boxes at the moment with plenty of spinach, Swiss chard (whiter stalks), parsley and lettuce.  There are courgettes, but not as many as I would like yet.  The same applies for the cucumbers.  A lot of the plants got frosted soon after planting, but the survivors are just coming into fruit now.  I have sown a second batch that is just about ready for planting – with no frost risk!

In this week’s boxes, some of you will have kohl rabi, a purple sputnik-like root.  It can be grated into a salad, pan fried, or generally treated like a turnip!  Some of you will have some Mooli – large white radish, also known as Daikon and used a lot in Asian cooking.  You can just treat them as a radish, though if you prefer!  There are also some climbing French beans coming on.  These only need to be topped and tailed – not gone around like a runner bean.

Of the overwintered crops, the broad beans are coming thick and fast, but the eagerly awaited cauliflowers are being grazed off by an army of slugs, so unfortunately not many of them will be good enough to put in the boxes.

The potatoes this week are REMARKA.  They are still “old season”, but I have had an exploratory dig to see what the new ones are like.  They are mainly egg-sized, so could do with growing a bit really, but I will put some in the next couple of weeks’ boxes along with some old ones, by which time they should have grown a bit more.


NEWSLETTER – 17th MAY 2016

Hello and welcome to the May newsletter.  At last, the weather is more seasonal, but after a mild winter, the temperatures up till now have been on the low side, meaning that crops like the white sprouting have been later than usual. 

Whatever happens, we are going to get the hungry gap at some point, and that point is now!  Most of the winter crops – squash, roots etc – are finished, but the new season’s crops are not yet ready.  Having said that, by careful planning and use of the polytunnels, this period can be kept to a minimum. 

We are very close to having courgettes ready, and the radish and cabbage have been coming out of the tunnels for several weeks now, as have the lettuce.  The outside lettuce will be ready as soon as the tunnel ones have finished.  Also outside, we have a crop of cauliflowers, which usually comes in June, and the broad beans are starting to pod up.  Last year’s spinach has also started to regrow at last.

Under the fleece, I have all the new season’s plantings coming along.  During the dry period a couple of weeks ago, I managed a mechanical weed kill on them. Then I irrigated them, and naturally it rained for a few days!

My main job at the moment is seeding all the brassica crops for next winter – kale, cabbages, caulis, sprouting, swedes and so on.  Also, I have sown next year’s squash plants, and potted them on.  In between, I have to do the muck spreading and plough it in ready for the planting onslaught in June.  Beginning to get busy, but at least I don’t have to make any hay this year – still got some left from 2014!

We have a few weeks of old potatoes left and will probably need them as the new ones don’t look too advanced, but, don’t despair!  They are now beginning to flower, so with copious irrigation, they should be ready asap in June!  The apples have now finished, but we will have apple juice available right through the summer - still £2.50 per 75cl bottle.  Bulk sacks of potatoes, carrots and onions have now finished for a while as supplies are tight, and they won’t keep very well either.


NEWSLETTER – 12th APRIL 2016

Hello and welcome to the April newsletter.  Firstly, a change to our delivery dates for your diary:  In the last week of April, I will be delivering on the MONDAY (25th) rather than the Tuesday.  Delivery will be as normal in the Bank Holiday week (Tuesday 3rd May).

Another date for your diary: The lamb I mentioned in the last newsletter will be delivered on Wednesday 4th May.  If you would like some, please could you order it by Thursday 21st April at the absolute latest, or now if you know you want some!!  As usual, they are supplied in “half lambs”, which is about 7 to 8kg @ £8.50/kg, and size-wise should just about fit in a carrier bag, or on one shelf in the freezer I am told!  They are supplied fresh, rather than frozen, and are cut into the usual joints i.e. legs, shoulders, breast (de-boned and rolled, or minced if you prefer) and chops.  They are bagged and labelled, ready for the freezer. 

In the boxes, the pak choi have come to an end now, but I have some red lettuce to take on the salad mantle.  These will hopefully last until the outdoor ones are ready at the end of May.  Also coming soon are some nice pointed cabbage from the tunnel, replacing the last of the Tundra cabbage.

The kale in this week’s box is Red Russian kale.  I put some in a few weeks ago, then the pigeons attacked it, but now it has resurged in its quest to go up to flower! Before then, I’ll cut what I can!  There should also be a batch of white sprouting ready now, but whereas all the other batches were early, this one is late!

The apples have now finished, but we will have apple juice available right through the summer, still £2.50 per 75cl bottle.  Bulk potatoes are still available, but please make sure they don’t shoot!  It’s best to keep them cool and dark.  You could keep them in the fridge but that may be a bit extreme!  If they do sprout, you can still eat them – just remove the sprouts!  What you mustn’t do is let the sprouts get too long as they will remove moisture from the potato and it will shrivel and become unusable.


NEWSLETTER – 15th MARCH 2016

Hello and welcome to the March newsletter.  Well at last it has dried up!  There’s not even much wind at the moment either which means hopefully I will have re-clad my polytunnel (last year’s potato tunnel) by the time you read this.  I will put some photos on Facebook of it being done.  Once this one is done, I’ve got to order one for another tunnel that went in the recent storms.  Yes, it’s this year’s potato tunnel!

So with all the recent new seedlings growing on in the prop tunnel, I have to do some ploughing soon as they’ll have to be planted out at the end of the month, along with the maincrop potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions, and the new season will be well under way!

While this is going on, the sheep are lambing in the shed.  Very slow start this year.  I’m afraid they’re all going to come at once while I’m not looking, but at least I’m getting a lot done in the dry weather while I’m waiting.  On the subject of sheep, there will be some hogget lamb available in April or May.  I’ve moved them onto some better grass to bring them on a bit, but I’m not sure exactly how long it will be until they’re ready at this stage.  If you would like half (8kg – 10kg @ £8.50/kg as usual) of one of these for your freezer, please let me know and I’ll keep you updated! 

I hope you’re enjoying the Pak Choi in the boxes at the moment.  In case you are unsure what to do with them, you can eat raw in a salad or cheese sandwich or you can stir fry them - pretty much the same treatment as for the mizuna.  Hopefully, there will be a bit more spinach again soon.

The apples have nearly finished, but there are still a few Kidds Orange Red if anyone is interested.  We’ve got plenty of apple juice, though, if you want to stock up for Easter!


NEWSLETTER – 16th FEBRUARY 2016

Hello and welcome to the February newsletter.  There I was getting all excited about it going cold and drying up for a few days, and now it’s reverted to type again with the incessant rain.  They say it’s going cold again this week.  It’s about time it dried up properly as I’m going to have to do some ground working soon and I’m due to sow some carrots on 1st March!

Anyway, I have now done my first inside sowings of veg for the coming season – lettuce, salad onions, parsley, cabbage, kohl rabi, aubergines, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and climbing beans.  The leek seed also have to go in this week.  These all germinate and grow on in the polytunnels before being transplanted, so it’s something I have been able to get on with while it’s raining! I have also chitted the early potato seed. 

On yet another rainy day, we did our third batch of apple juice for the season, using up all the outgrade Kidds Orange Red and some more Bramleys.  There are still some good ones available if you would like them as an extra to your box, and I intend juice to be available all year round now.

In the veg boxes, apart from the standard winter veg, there are still some more red and green mizuna, which I think you’ve all got to grips with now, then towards the end of the month, there will be some pak choi.  These are green leaved, white stalked trumpet shaped things that you can eat raw in a salad or cheese sandwich or you can stir fry them - pretty much the same treatment as for the mizuna.  This week, there is some Red Russian kale in the boxes.  This is said to be sweeter than the green and black kale, but you treat it in the same way.


NEWSLETTER – 19th JANUARY 2016

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January newsletter.  At last, some weather to match the season!  Now, hopefully I can finish my hedge trimming without rutting the fields, and possibly start some ground preparation for the new season!

The green feathery-leaved item in this week’s box is mizuna.  We have grown green ones and red ones again this year.  It is Japanese mustard, but has a mild flavour (although the red ones are hotter!) and can be used like a lettuce in a salad or cheese sandwich and can also be stir fried.  The squash is Crown Prince.  It can be roasted or baked, or made into soup.  I like to roast a strip of it to have with a jacket potato.  My wife is more adventurous and dices it, roasts it and adds it to rice or pasta dishes.

We still have plenty of apples left – eaters and cookers.  We will probably have another day’s juicing in February, just to make sure we don’t run out before next autumn.  It has sold really quickly over Christmas!  Unfortunately, the most expensive ingredient of the apple juice is the bottle, so please don’t put it in your recycling!  If you could just swill it out and return it to me I’d be very grateful, thank you! 

By the time you read this, I will have got the sheep inside ready for lambing.  They don’t lamb until the end of February, but are better off inside so they aren’t rutting up the wet fields, and so I can keep an eye out for any complications as they near their due date.  Also on the livestock front, I will have some pork for sale soon. Each year, I fatten a litter of pigs, to root out the perennial weeds and to start my ploughing.  It is not organic, however, but is outdoor reared, free range and fed on GM-free feed from a known family source!  I sell them in “quarter pigs”, which is around 10kg to 12kg of meat, comprising of leg joints, shoulder joints, belly pork and pork chops, all for £6/kg.  If you are interested, please let me know!

EATING APPLES (KIDDS ORANGE RED)   £3.00 per 3lb (1.36kg) bag

COOKING APPLES (BRAMLEY)                   £2.50 per 3lb (1.36kg) bag

APPLE JUICE                                                    £2.50 per 750ml bottle

NEWSLETTER – 8th DECEMBER 2015

Hello, and welcome to the December newsletter.  Firstly, I would like to say that deliveries will continue all through the Christmas period, on Tuesdays as usual. The “Christmas box”, with sprouts and parsnips, will therefore be on the 22nd December.  If you are a fortnightly customer and you wish to change your week, or if any customer wishes to change the size or frequency of their box to ensure they have enough veg to feed all those visiting relatives, then please let me know in good time (Saturday night for the following Tuesday delivery latest, as always please). An order can never be in too early, especially over the Christmas period!

I expect most of you know that we have solar panels on the roof of one of our sheds (picture on website!).  The cold store and irrigation are the heaviest users of electricity, and use most when the sun is out, so the panels save us a lot of power.  I record how many units they produce each week, and in the four years we’ve had them, last week was the joint lowest, and November was the lowest (ie darkest!) month!  The temperatures have been high, though, to the extent that the white sprouting is starting to crop.  This is not good news.  It is meant to crop in February and if it comes now, we won’t have it in February.  OK, the second batch, due late March, may come in February, but sooner or later there is going to be a gap!  So much for crop planning!

There are several varieties of squash in the boxes this week.  I’m clearing up all the smaller varieties, then it will be Crown Prince (grey/blue skin).  If you have a red/orange skinned squash, it is a Red Kuri.  If you have a tan coloured squash, it is either a butternut squash or it may be an Autumn Crown.  You treat all of them in the same way – bake, roast like a parsnip or turn into soup!

The apple juice we made in October is selling fast, so we are having another day juicing this week.  I have designed – with help! – a proper label for the bottles.  I think it looks really good.  You’ll have to buy a bottle and let me know if you like it – and the contents!  The most expensive ingredient of the apple juice is the bottle, so please don’t put it in your recycling!  If you could just swill it out and return it to me I’d be very grateful!

NEWSLETTER – 10th NOVEMBER 2015

Hello, and welcome to the November newsletter.  The weather now seems to have reverted to type with lots of rain, although the temperatures are still high for the time of year.  In the dry spell, I managed to get nearly all the apples picked, the potatoes in and then finished the squash this week in the rain!

The squash harvest has produced a lot of Crown Prince, which keeps well into the New Year, but most of the early varieties had a bit of a light crop – maybe poor light levels in the summer?  This also seems to have affected the sweet corn which has produced some great looking cobs with not much in them!  Anyway, this week’s boxes have another slice of pumpkin – best made into pumpkin soup.  Soon there will be more Red Kuri squash – darker orange skin and denser flesh.

When we make our own pumpkin soup, we add a Bramley apple to help the flavour.  The Bramleys are available in 3lb bags if you would like to do the same, as are the eating apples – current variety is Fiesta, although we will be going onto Spartan soon.  The juicing day was very productive and the unanimous verdict is that the juice is delicious!  If it sells quickly enough, I may have another session before the end of the season to make sure I have enough to last until next autumn.

I will be delivering some more lamb on, or around Tuesday 24th November.  This will be the last delivery before Christmas, and I will need your order by Saturday (14th Nov) please if you would like some (apologies for short notice!).  As usual, they are supplied in “half lambs”, which is about 7 to 8kg @ £8.50/kg, and size-wise should just about fit in a carrier bag, or on one shelf in the freezer I am told!  They are supplied fresh, rather than frozen, and are cut into the usual joints i.e. legs, shoulders, breast (de-boned and rolled, or minced if you prefer) and chops.  They are bagged and labelled, ready for the freezer.


NEWSLETTER – 13th OCTOBER 2015

Hello, and welcome to the October newsletter.  Well, we have had some really nice weather the last two or three weeks, and this has enabled me to get all the potatoes harvested at last.  Now, I’m in the middle of picking all the apples.  I’ve picked about 2 tons in the last week, of which ¾ ton are Bramleys.  I’ve got about 2 tons more to pick.  The cold store is filling up!

At the end of this week, I am having a day juicing apples, so from delivery date 20th October onwards, apple juice will be available again at £2.50 per 750 ml bottle.  There is absolutely nothing added, or taken away, from the apple juice – it is just the juice from the apples!  It will be pasteurised, though, so will keep unopened for a year at ambient temperatures.  Once opened, it is best to keep it in the fridge and use it within 3 to 4 days.  Please return as many of my bottles as possible for re-use!

The last batch of lettuce is now ready, and when these are gone, there will be some Chinese Leaves.  These can be used “raw” in a salad like a lettuce, or can be steamed and stir-fried.  The spinach is now coming to a temporary end for the winter, so this week we have some curlygreen.  We still have some more Cavolo Nero, and some Red Russian kale to come.

Some of you will have half a marrow in your box this week.  They are a bit bland on their own, so the best thing to do with them is to stuff them with something delicious!  There is a simple recipe on www.bbcgoodfood.com for Stuffed Marrow Bake, and a slightly more adventurous one for Spanish Stuffed Marrow.  Usually, I recommend www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk but I couldn’t get on their site just now.  Hopefully it’s just a temporary problem as it is a really useful site.  At the end of the month, there will be a slice of pumpkin (in a poly bag) in the boxes.  This is best made into soup using any soup recipe.


NEWSLETTER – 15th SEPTEMBER 2015

Hello, and welcome to the September newsletter.  After the wettest August on record, we are enjoying a few sunny days before what looks like being unsettled times again.  Now the BBC has sacked the Met Office, you’ll have to rely on my newsletters for your weather forecasts! 

The main problem caused by the wet weather is that it has produced an army of slugs, munching everything that comes before them.  The batches of lettuce I promised you in September have been entirely devoured.  There are still some to come in a couple weeks if they can survive that long!  I harvested the outdoor onion crop last week, and they had even eaten some of those.  Never seen slug damage on onions before!

With the onset of autumn, the other salad crops are now winding down, to be replaced with more autumnal fare.  We are already cutting the autumn cabbage, and there are swedes ready for when the weather gets a bit colder, along with the squashes.  The leaf in this week’s box (other than spinach, which you know well!) is Cavolo Nero, a black version of kale.  It is a foodie favourite, so I hope you enjoy it! There are a lot of cobs on the sweet corn, but very little inside them yet.  Fingers crossed on that one!

We have been picking Discovery apples for a while now.  I sell these as an extra to the boxes at £3 for a 3lb/1.36kg bag.  If you would like some, please just let me know!  There are other varieties to follow – Worcesters, Pearl, Spartan, Blenheim and Queen Cox in the near future.  I have several tons of apples to pick before the end of October, as it looks like being quite a productive year.

The first lot of lambs are going out at the end of this month.  If you have missed this delivery, there will be some more in a few weeks.  To recap, they are supplied in “half lambs”, which is about 8kg @ £8.50/kg, and size-wise should just about fit in a carrier bag, or on one shelf in the freezer I am told!  They are supplied fresh, rather than frozen, and are cut into the usual joints i.e. legs, shoulders, breast (de-boned and rolled, or minced if you prefer) and chops.  They are bagged and labelled, ready for the freezer.  If you would like some, please let me know anyway, in case I get a cancellation.

I had an exploratory dig in the potato patch this week. The variety is still CAROLUS, and the results look pretty good.  I can now offer bulk bags of these for those of you who would like some more, along with carrots and onions.


NEWSLETTER – 18th AUGUST 2015

Hello, and welcome to the August newsletter.  It’s been a funny summer – not the best!  Although the rain has been welcome, in between there have been far too many overcast “nothing” days, which are not sunny enough, or wet enough to be useful!  Still, the best of the summer is quite often in September and October, so let’s hope!

Next week will see the end of the tunnel onions.  These have grown well, but a lot went to seed and have had a core.  Good flavour, though!  The outside crop is far better and will follow on immediately.  The climbing beans are having a rest.  Theoretically the runner beans should be filling the gap, but they are not being very productive yet!

The tomatoes are, though – at last!  This is the same variety that I grew last year, which everyone loved!  They are a plum tomato, so are unusually shaped, but it is all about the flavour!  Peppers are starting to produce now, and it is a good year for the aubergines, but I’m afraid there will be another gap with the lettuce.  I’ve got plenty planted, but they won’t be ready for a couple of weeks or so. 

Good news – the Discovery apples are now ready.  I sell these as an extra to the boxes at £3 for a 3lb/1.36kg bag.  If you would like some, please just let me know!  People have also been asking about the lamb – the first ones will be ready in the last week of September.  Please let me know if you are interested in having some.

About a year ago, I mentioned that I was updating my website.  At last, it is ready, so please have a look (and report any glitches!).  There are a lot more photos and information than on the old site.  There are also some “Miranda’s Kitchen” recipes on there.  I hope you find them useful – the ingredients are all things that are in the boxes at this time of year, albeit not necessarily in the same box!


NEWSLETTER – 14th JULY 2015

Hello, and welcome to the July newsletter.  Well, summer would appear to be here now, although it has been a bit unsettled this week.  This rain has been welcome as everything is very dry at the moment.  It has helped establish the recent brassica and leek plantings.  This year, I am trying to hoe them all to keep the weed down.  It is quicker than weeding, but the timing is more critical.  In any case, I’d rather stand up hoeing than bend over/kneel weeding, although both are acceptable jobs to do while the cricket is on the radio!

The boxes are now full of fresh new season produce.  This week sees the first beetroot of the season and also the first fennel.  The latter can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. There is a recipe for braised fennel on my website.  We also have a good crop of climbing French beans this year, grown in the tunnel.  You only have to top and tail these – not go around them like you would a runner bean.

I’m afraid there weren’t enough lettuce for all the boxes this week.  There was a period of hot weather when this batch was sown, causing high temperature dormancy in the seed, stopping it from germinating.  Hopefully there will be lettuce in next week’s boxes, but if not, definitely the week after with hopefully no more gaps until the end of the season.

The potatoes in the boxes are now CAROLUS.  They are a new blight resistant variety, and have been grown in the tunnel which had it lid blown off during the spring.  They taste really nice and are yielding quite well.  At least with no polythene on the tunnel, it’s not too hot digging them, as this has to be done by hand.

Coming soon – there are a lot of tomatoes coming, but they are still green!  I was selling them by this time last year, so they can’t be too far away from ripening.  I have weeded the peppers and aubergines in the tunnels (good job to do while it was raining!), and there are some of these on the way soon too.  A bit later that day, when the sun came out, I weeded the sprouts outside, so things are looking a bit tidier now.  A quick walk through the orchard also revealed some small apples coming on the trees.  By the time of the next newsletter we will almost be in the Discovery season!

A quick reminder before I sign off – the order/cancellation deadline is Saturday night for the following Tuesday’s delivery.  Please don’t leave it to the last minute if you are going away as it is a waste to have to throw away produce – especially if it is something we are short of, that someone else would have liked.

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Stoneage Farm, Cothelstone, Taunton 01823 432488 keith@stoneage-organics.co.uk