Welcome to Week 6 of the Field 28 veg box scheme. We have had some superb growing weather over the past week mixed in with torrential downpours, high winds, thunder, and lightning! Our field grown crops are now in full flow and it’s wonderful to see the site transition from freshly tilled earth (no digging to strengthen and improve the soil biology and structure) to an oasis of green. Fortunately, the investment we made in rabbit proof fencing seems to be earning its keep! It’s been a busy week all round with The Dental Academy finally emerging from its long break to open the doors on Monday 15th June
Its meant that for the past couple of days I have had to change out of my customary field 28 attire of shorts t shirt and a hat back into my white scrubs. I mentioned to Jan that it feels like we haven’t had a day off over the past twelve weeks that the Practice has been shut so she kindly found this photograph taken on my Birthday in June to prove me wrong. Naturally, I was celebrating it with a healthy field 28 salad along with a beer or two! We feel very fortunate to have been able to spend our lockdown working out in the field especially with the kind weather we have had.
Given the opening of the Practice and that the new entrance to Field 28 is not yet complete, the PICK UP DAY AND TIME HAS NOW CHANGED to WEDNESDAY evening between 6-7.30pm. We hope that for those going back to work the revised time makes things a little easier for you.
The past week has been the most positive in a while for Field 28 as chefs are now contacting us to tell us of their exciting plans for reopening. We are in awe at the way these guys are handling the most horrendous situation that the lock down has put them in. They are without exception hard working and capable of finding the best way forward to ensure the survival of their businesses. We are committed at Field 28 to working with our colleagues and friends as they reopen, many in different guises. We look forward to supplying the very best quality of produce to you and then watching and sampling that produce after you have worked your magic!
Our box scheme members benefit from that same commitment to quality. We search out the best varieties we possibly can some of which you will recognize and others possibly not.
We attempt to take you through the seasons in the box contents hence the changing types of potato as the weeks go by and the reason for us changing varieties of say beetroot at the season progresses. We look to respect the traditions and methods of growers past as we look for the very best flavour. In the large box this week we include a bunch of our heirloom varieties of beetroot, a golden and red and Chioggia the candy cane appearance variety first grown all the way back in the 1800’s.
The first carrots of the season have been harvested for the medium boxes this week. Our carrot “flight” starts with the variety Paris Market. This carrot is a 19th Century French heirloom early variety that is short and stubby in appearance. The carrot has a great flavour, is crunchy when raw, so good for a lunch box snack and roasts nicely. It stores well in a fridge but never store any carrots alongside fruit. As fruit ripens it emits ethylene gas that the carrots absorb rendering creating a bitterness to taste. As we pass into Summer, the Paris market carrots will give way to our rainbow baby carrots that our sandy soil allows us to grow so well.
A sad event this week is the coming to the end of the British asparagus season. To mark the event, we have placed organic asparagus grown on Claremont farm in both boxes this week. Our future plans include the establishment of our own asparagus beds at Field 28… we can’t wait!
Our tunnel courgettes are hitting their stride now and the field courgettes which include the yellow and round varieties are just coming into fruit this week. It shouldn’t be long before we will be able to provide a variety mix into the boxes.
If anyone is interested, we can also pick to order courgettes complete with flower for a special treat. If you would like these please message Jan to order as they will be individually picked for you.
The microgreen salad this week is a punnet of mixed radish shoots. The shoots quite apart from having a remarkable flavour burst are incredibly high in goodness. In fact, they are like a bottle of multivitamins containing A, B, C, E, and K. They also deliver calcium iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. For those addicted to Jan’s Gourmet salad, we will ensure there are some made up for sale separately on day along with pea shoots.
Red Russian Kale is our Brassica for both boxes this week. This variety also known as ragged jack or sweet red is another heirloom variety dating back to 1885. It works well in coleslaw combined with strips of cabbage or cook as normal either steaming or sautéing. It cooks a little quicker than green Kale especially if you remove the thicker stems.
Our site is very forgiving in nature, allowing us to grow a large range of crops to a high standard, however we have been given a reminder that growing is not an exact science. This is our planting of aubergines in one of the poly tunnels. Following planting out one of the varieties has completely failed to thrive! On the job list this week is to clear these beds. It’s a good job we have some spares to replant.
As I write Marcus Rachford the footballer has been in the news with his support for a continuation of free school meals throughout the Summer holidays. It brings home the importance of good nutrition especially during the current virus pandemic. What a wonderful role model that young man is.
Kind regards, see you Wednesday.