Week 3 - Veg Box
Welcome to the Week 3 of the Field 28 veg box scheme. Jan and I remain simply delighted with the positive reception that our produce has received. Your comments have been very kind. We promise to keep working hard to give you the healthiest, best quality produce you can find. The weather has turned back to blue skies and lots of sunshine which although bringing with it the constant challenge of watering brings on our field produce at a rapid pace! The tomatoes in the tunnel are swelling nicely and the courgettes are in full flower.
There has been lots bee activity which should ensure excellent pollination of our crops. As we move into the summer season more and more of the produce is home grown at our farm in Daresbury Cheshire which, as we are always proud to say, remains free from pesticides and biocides.
There are lots of people taking our box for the first time this week and I am pleased to say that despite increasing our numbers we have sold out each week so far. So, a warm welcome to those newcomers and a welcome back to those who are already regulars. In order to ensure our current customers retain their boxes on going each week, Jan would really appreciate it if you could indicate when you order if you wish to join our band of weekly repeat orders.
As you know we are not primarily a veg box supplier, our little business has focused on growing specific crops to perfection for high class restaurants across our region and will remain. However we have really enjoyed creating these boxes and we will continue to produce our boxes even after the current virus situation has settled albeit our numbers will be capped at a number that allows us to maintain the quality that we seek.
As we plan our growing patterns for each week, we have in our mind how the produce will combine in both our medium and large boxes. The boxes are by their nature seasonal and the box contents are not the same for each size although often we will have, for example radish in the medium box one week and in the large box the next.
Sometimes, dependent on how our crops mature we may need to swap out certain items within a box size just to ensure quality is maintained. At this point in our development, it is difficult to swap out items in each box, but we always do our best to try and help where we can.
The new Jersey potatoes will in both the medium and large boxes for the next few weeks simply because we enjoy them so much, boiled in minted water and served with lots of butter.
Jan’s special free extra for week three is our “famous” gourmet microgreen salad complete with edible flowers and herbs. It’s quite funny to hear some first-time flower eaters asking what they can eat and what they can’t. There is often more than a hint of disbelief when we say everything in the punnet can be eaten. Due to demand, we have decided to offer a flower wheel as an additional item to purchase to go with your box. This wheel is useful for either decoration of your own salads, to make things just look pretty or so I am told to freeze into ice cubes ready for your favourite summer-time tipples. This item will be available to order from next week which is Week 4.
We have also added a bag of our field grown mixed leaf salad, which is an interesting mix of mizuna, red frills, gold streaks, red Russian kale, tatsoi. Picked in the cooler air of the morning earlier today this salad has taste crunch and if you store in the poly bag in your fridge it lasts longer than any other shop bought salad. Having said that, our salad hating 16-year-old demolishes it the day its brought home.
Reseal by twisting the bag to hold some air before you store to retain maximum freshness.
We’re back to our young white onions this week and in the large box along with baby plum tomatoes and organic carrots we have the Holy Trinity of Italian cuisine.
Through the season we will supply you with Tropea onions which are traditionally grown in the Calabria region of Italy and Roscoff onions from the Finistère region of Brittany. Whilst the French and Italians argue over which onion is the best were just happy that our ground is ideally suited to growing both varieties.
Our Tokyo turnips are harvested when they are the size of radishes, they have a crunchy, juicy bitter-sweet flavour eaten raw in salads. Steamed or gently sautéed in butter, they become sweet and delicate.
Thank you Julie for your comments and photos of your turnips from last week…the mayo is just fine !
“Beautiful fresh produce with every care taken. I was barely home 5 minutes before I had to eat some. Just lightly pan fried baby turnips, asparagus and pine nuts. Excessive vegan mayo possibly 🤔Delicious, thank you 🙏🏼”
On site we have a tunnel packed with heritage varieties of tomatoes which are developing nicely. This early in the season we rely on our friends on the Isle of White to provide delicious sweet baby plum tomatoes in red and yellow. For the best flavour, remember not to refrigerate. These have been very popular with several customers asking for extras last week.
In some boxes this week we start to introduce our home-grown Chioggia beetroot and courgettes. The beets are small enough to eat raw in salads and of course cooked they soften beautifully retaining their distinctive ringed appearance. Don’t throw away the beetroot tops… use them as you would chard for a tasty addition to your meal.
In the small boxes we have a lovely orange Hokkaido squash. Cut into wedges and roasted with salt and drizzle olive oil…mmmm!
Jan’s favourite of last week Pak Choi makes its final appearance in the boxes for a little while. If you did not have any last week enjoy it.
JANS FAVOURITE OF THE WEEK.
This weeks favourite are the collard greens. These simple leaves have been handpicked for you. We pick at a young age to avoid the toughness of old stems I still recommend cutting out the large central spine of each leaf. That way you don’t need to cook the green for as long.
I like to use these cuts into strips and used as you would kale or even better crisp up on the BBQ and add your own BBQ sauce.
2 teaspoons bacon fat
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
5-6 medium leaf collards with tough stems discarded and leaves chopped
Chili pepper flakes, a pinch
Salt and sugar to taste.
Barbecue sauce (optional)