organic leeks at Vital Veg Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 16th April 2018

On the Farm
It is almost feeling like spring now – hurrah!  The cucumbers are germinating, which is always a fine sign.  We have sown these a little later than usual on account of the unseasonably cold weather – but they are here now, and we will be planting these in the tunnels in May, ready for cropping in the summer through to late autumn!

The nursery tunnels are looking very busy now, and we somehow have to squeeze in a lot more plants this week, as we will be sowing our major autumn and winter brassica crops (cabbages, kales, cauliflower, broccoli and romanesco) this week.

Outside, we are awaiting the drainage contractor, yet again.  One of the “joys” of farming is looking after the field drains.  Ours are a mix of modern perforated pipes, older clay tiles and very ancient stone drains.  The three technologies don’t always mix well, especially if they have been joined (or not!) by less skilled contractors.  We are very fortunate to have a wonderful drainage contractor who has been gradually sorting out our fields for us.  Very wet years, such as this, always put pressure on the drains and any weaknesses show up clearly.  We have a few new wet areas that need urgent attention before we can start thinking about planting brassicas.  And with the first cabbages and broccoli due out in about three weeks’ time we need to get going.  Fortunately the drains in the area planned for potatoes seem in good condition, so with luck it will be dry enough at the end of this week for us to get the tatties planted.  This will be two weeks later than last year, but fingers crossed they will catch up!

Recipe: Leek and potato soup
An oldie but goodie!  Serves 4-6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
225g/8oz potatoes, cubed
2 medium leeks, sliced
1.2 litres/2 pints vegetable stock
150ml/5fl oz double cream or crème fraîche
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, potatoes and leeks. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.

2.Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Season well and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

3.Whizz with a hand blender or in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean pan, stir in the cream or crème fraîche, heat through and serve.