Riverford Wicked Leeks

a forward year

As autumn finally seems to be settling itself in after a nice bonus bit of sunshine last week, our thoughts are turning to Christmas veg. Overall it’s been a forward year, best illustrated by the fact that we’re cutting cauliflowers now, when normally they are not ready until the end of October, or through November. They are really good quality though. We staggered the sowings with a 10-14 day interval, and used two varieties (one of which is called Sky Walker, great name) to get them to mature at different rates and give us a steady flow of the veg. Once they are ready we only have a day-and-a-half-long window to get them into your boxes, so you can see why it takes some careful planning.

Brussels sprouts meanwhile are more forgiving when it comes to timings; they’ll happily stay in the field for a couple of weeks once they are ready for harvesting (as long as the temperatures are not too extreme), with no negative effect on their flavour. We planted an acre of them this year, and they are looking good so far. The late warm spell should not have pushed them forward so much that we’ll miss the boat for Christmas. The parsnips, another must for the Christmas table, are also looking very good. They too are early, so much so that we could go in and harvest them right now, they are certainly big enough. You’d be able to taste the difference though, as they need the first good frost to give them the sweeter taste most people are after. This normally hits us any time in October, so we’re not too far off. Overall things seem to be going well, though all this good work can be undone if we have another hard winter like last year, so I’ve still something to worry about. I’m not sure I’d know what to do with myself otherwise!

Peter Richardson

pumpkin day, sunday 30th october, 11am-4pm, free entry
Join us here on the farm for our autumn celebration. Carve your own pumpkin, have a go at apple skittles, enjoy some tasty organic food and drink, and take a peek at our Christmas range, all in a family-friendly atmosphere. There will be lots of children’s activities, cookery demos and farm tours with Peter. Entry is free, all are welcome and there’s no need to book. See our website for more details.