Vital Veg, organic farm

Newsletter 5th April 2021

On the farm
It’s looking like another week of wild wind and temperatures tipping all over the place. The tunnels have been up to 35 °C in the sun, with the vents and doors open, and down to minus 2.4 °C at night so far this week. We have been using horticultural fleece (a blanket for vegetables!) at night to try to reduce the scale of the temperature swings.

Even so, some of our true spinach leaves have gone crinkly with all the stopping and sudden starting of growth over the last few weeks. The first of our spinach is in some of the boxes this week. Apologies if some of the leaves look a bit funny because of the temperature swings. The leaves taste fine in spite of their looks!

The first of our over-wintered lettuces are heading out in a few boxes this week too. Perhaps not the return-to-winter comfort food! But maybe a hopeful sign of better days to come. These are less temperature sensitive than the spinach and look more “normal”!

With the renewed arctic blast, needless to say our seed tatties are still in our shed. There is little to be gained planting out into a chilled soil with frosts in the forecast. So we wait. Waiting does become a little nerve wracking though. This is because we are acutely aware that growing days are limited this far north. It won’t be long before we reach the longest day, and we need to get a lot of plants established and well into growth by then. Roll on a gentle spring!

Mystery salad
Some of you have been asking the identity of the little bright green leaves with a long stalk. These are Winter Purslane. They are a very hardy winter salad that we grow to provide some fresh green young leaves for our boxes. They are sweet and crunchy (if somewhat tricky to eat gracefully with their long stems!). Eat raw, with or without your favourite salad dressing.

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 most of this weeks’ boxes is the two-tone Pink Gypsy which is good for baking and mash. We are also sending out Setanta in the Jumbo boxes. With its red skin, this is an all-rounder in the kitchen. We also have bags of baby Bambino in the large and Jumbo boxes. Bambino is slightly more waxy and is great for boiling.