September update: Apples, Greens & Herbs
Autumn has arrived, or at least it feels that way. The Swallows and Martins seem to be already gathering on the wires, it is getting dark earlier and there is a distinct nip to the air in the morning. The huge volumes of courgettes have been used and they are now going short in the markets and squash are ripening nicely with their beautiful oranges, golds and patterns. We are still flat out at the farm with the added burden of planting over-wintering veg plants on the horizon, meanwhile the first pears are coming off the trees this week.
On the subject of apples & pears it was disappointing to see the usually well informed Raymond Blanc sounding off about there being no English apples or pears on the shelves. It is probably because growers have only just started picking the early varieties like Discovery but more will come on stream in weeks ahead! Still, its good to hear him championing English produce as he often does. There are some other earlier varieties like Worcester but they are not considered commercially viable for farming.
As the days shorten the other green leaves alongside our Collard Greens come into their own, the spicy Mustard Leaf, Curly Kale and Cavolo Nero in particular. Our spring onion season should usually take us into October but the end of the month may see the start of our winter leek season. We hope to add Baking Potatoes as add on for customers and to be able to add both cropped and wild mushrooms. Unfortunately we called time on our strawberries as the shelf-life had diminished and the quality wasn’t as guaranteed as we would like. Having grown very fast in the heatwave and then subject to morning dews and cold nights its not surprising.
Our herbs are also coming along well. Our carefully selected range of laminceae include favourites like mint and thyme and are making their way into our boxes (and hopefully will be available as 'optional extras' soon). One lesser know example is Hyssop, a Mediterranean plant with bitter / minty type leaves is a key ingredient of Chartreuse for those drinks experts amongst you, however it is good as an ingredient in stuffings and soups but is perhaps more familiar to modern chefs as a component of Zataar alongside Sumac. Perhaps like Sumac it will soon feature on the brilliant ‘Appetite’ newsletter from local foodie authority @anyapeach .
As ever we are always looking at new products we can bring to your table. For example Fairifields Crisps, Hodmedods etc this month. We are still trying to master the logistics of bringing you local milk and cheese so watch this space as we are getting closer. While we are all about championing local Essex and Suffolk producers we are also planning to introduce you to a handful of old friends. These are people or companies who we have close personal relationships with or who we work closely with. They may be from out of the area but we think you would still be pleased to sample their products if you were wandering around a local farmers market. They will bring some exciting, delicious, unique and very special flavours to youu.