abundance at last

The boxes are looking great with most crops in abundance giving a wealth of choice from which to select the best contents each week. The french bean picking machine has been working beautifully and has hardly been sworn at at all. There will be plenty of beans, french and runner in the boxes over the next few weeks. "Bean time is lean time" as any old timer in the vegetable trade would tell you. The reasoning being that there is just so much around that prices tend to be on the floor. Actually, as most vegetables are imported these days it doesn't make much difference. All year is lean time for most growers.

Calabrese is the one crop we are struggling with. Conditions have been good and the crop has been well irrigated in a fertile field so we are at a bit of a loss as to why it is producing such a poor crop. The heads are small and looking tired and in danger of yellowing even before they are cut. To compound matters we have a plague of green catapillars, the result of small whites (butterflies), which can be a bit unsavoury (rather bitter). They have an annoying habit of migrating from the leaves, where they feed, to the head as a safe haven for pupating into a butterfly. You may find that blanching them in salted water helps to get them out before they reach the plate.

A twenty slab business...

We have just about finished planting which marks the turn of the summer work and gives a bit of time to relax before we start the Autumn harvest. To celebrate we had a BBQ by the river last Saturday with swimming, boats, volleyball and the normal game of "Riverford rules" football. Some companies asses their progress through logging turn over, others through profit or awards. One mental note I make each year is how much beer my staff consume at a party. I used to measure it in barrels, but over the years allegiance has moved to lager with most of our pickers preferring to clutch a tinny these days, so my measure has moved to slabs of 24 cans of Stella. I'm not sure how proud I should be to be presiding over a twenty slab business but there is some satisfaction in seeing so much dispatched in such a congenial way.

Guy Watson