Vital Veg, organic farm, purslane

Newsletter 22 March 2021

On the farm
The lovely weather has brought on a flush of germination in our nursery tunnel, with leeks, beetroots, salads and early cabbages all now beginning to show. This is my favourite time of year. It holds such promise, and hope for the coming season! The birds and the bees clearly think so too. We have heard our first peewit, and have fingers crossed that they, and perhaps the wonderful curlews, will find a spot on our farm to nest. For those birds which nest in trees we have over 30 nest boxes of various types around the farm, and these are all being prospected and some are already reserved for new feathered families. The bees are enjoying the crocuses and snowdrops in our orchard, and the goat (pussy) willows in our woodland and hedges are thrumming with happy bees. The bats are out too, in the warmer evenings, taking advantage of the flush of insects.

All this activity helps to boost us along, and we will soon be working the soil in the veg field for potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beetroots. It is quite astonishing how quickly each year comes around full circle. One of the best things about being a Grower is that you feel so closely linked to the natural beat of the world – you have to go out every day and feel the temperature of the air on your cheeks, put your hands into the soil and feel if it is sleeping or waking, and take note of all the little changes that take us from one season to the next.

Soil Association inspection
Of course running a farm comes with its share of paperwork and formalities. One of those is our annual inspection by the Soil Association for our organic certification. We had this last week, and have passed with flying colours. We wondered how it would work in these COVID days, but it was fine! The inspection is a very thorough examination of all our processes to check that we adhere to the organic standards, and also involves lots of audits to follow the vegetables from seeds through to your tables. While inspections are not top of our list of things to look forward to, they give great reassurance – every grower who is certified organic goes through the same process to make sure that you, the customer, can be confident in what you are eating.

Carrot tops
You might find that the tops of your carrots are cracked. This is where they have been sticking out of the ground and have been frosted. The cracked bits can be somewhat dry and not great to eat. The lion’s share of the carrot has been safely in the ground and will be fine to eat. We have increased the weight of carrots the boxes and for any special orders to cover any bits that you need to cut off. As always, if you discover anything below standard just let us know.

This weeks’ potatoes
The potato in this weeks’ boxes is Ambo. This is an all-rounder in the kitchen and another one of our favourites.