Vital Veg, organic farm, cabbage

Newsletter 23rd August 2021

On the farm
Anne and I are returning to the farm after two weeks away. What a difference those two weeks make at this time of year. The rain has helped swell the crops and we have returned to a proliferation of veg! The boxes always reflect what is best in our field on harvest days. Some of the vegetables won’t wait to be harvested – the summer cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli and lettuce in particular need harvesting as soon as they are ready at this time of year. Later in the season, when the temperature drops and the light levels are lower, we can safely leave crops “standing” in the fields and they will remain in good condition right the way through until late spring. But these summer crops grow fast and die young, so they need to be picked, eaten and enjoyed! They are also very sensitive to changes in water – so the recent deluges have caused some cabbages to split, but this does not spoil their eating quality.

So – you may well find that your box has two cabbages and/or two lettuces this week, and maybe next week too! Summer cabbages are super versatile and you can eat the crunchy parts raw in a salad, or you can cook them as usual (stir fry, steam, soup…). Or, you can make wonderful sauerkraut with the crunchy parts. Simply shred finely, salt lightly and pack tightly into a large jar. Cover with water if there is not enough juice from the cabbage. Put the lid lightly on the jar and place in a warm but not hot position. Watch for bubbles forming, and let these out by loosening the lid every now and again. Taste the sauerkraut after a week or so, and once it is as you like it you can stop the fermentation process by moving the jar to the fridge. You can vary your sauerkraut recipe by adding shredded carrot and ginger (particularly good!). Fermented foods like sauerkraut are excellent for your gut. If you don’t fancy making your own we do sell jars of sauerkraut.

If you find that two lettuces are a bit overwhelming remember that you can cook these as well. Lettuce soup is a classic, but a raw lettuce accompaniment or starter (with shredded cabbage perhaps!) to your main meal will soon use these up.

Customer favourites
***Remember that broccoli is a head of tiny flowers and these open quickly at this time of year – so eat your broccoli soon after delivery*** Our broccoli and cauliflower crops are now in full flow. These, along with the fabulous Romanesco (a cross between broccoli and cauliflower which will be ready soon) are customer favourites. Because of our northerly site we have a short season for these. They fit into the late summer and autumn before the frosts. We do buy some in from more southern growers after Christmas to add variation to our own late season greens. We plant a succession to provide the longest home-grown supply possible, and try our best to spread this out so that it is not all ready at once, though Mother Nature has the last word! If you love these crops and want to be sure to get some we offer them as special items in our online shop. For the veg boxes it depends on how much is ready on harvest day as to which boxes they go in!