autumn bounty + kitchen plenty

The schools are back, the first September storm is raging outside and it feels like the summer that never was is over. My sympathy to those of you who found yourself in a damp tent. The veg however, is loving it. A dry spring and early summer allowed easy planting and weed control and kept fungal disease at bay, and the rain came in time to grow some big summer crops and get the winter ones off to a good start. Looking around the farm, you’d almost think we knew what we were doing. All we need now is for you to settle back into your kitchens, stop going on holiday, say no to the veg from neighbours with bursting allotments and get back into cooking ours. We do well when you all live dull and predictable lives.

Barring catastrophic weather or uncontrolled pestilence, I’m confident the vegboxes will be brimming and varied through the autumn and winter. We’ve plenty to go round so if you could persuade a friend to try us, you’ll both get a tenner on your account on their second delivery. Visit www.riverford.co.uk/friend for details.  

I’m a restless soul, constantly in search of vegetable stimulation, and while the bell peppers were destroyed by hail on our farm in France, I developed a mild chilli obsession. After some good crop trials and cooking experiments, next year we’ll be offering the mild Padron chillies for frying whole as tapas, and suggesting you string your own jalapenos for drying; they look so great hung up in the kitchen I could almost be inspired to paint. My brother Ben has been busy in his kitchen with this year’s chilli crop too, so look out for some creative new concoctions on the extras list soon. Meanwhile we’re also working on tomatillos (picture a large cape gooseberry) to make your own salsa verde, and my beloved artichokes are loving the rain; the smaller heads are wonderful quartered and fried in olive oil with some lemon. They will be on the extras list for a brief period this month but for enthusiasts only; it’s not a quick or easy meal.

abergavenny food festival 17th-18th september
Say hello, bring a friend and join us in the buzz of this special food event. Catch Guy’s talk at 2pm in the The Castle, and sample some lovely seasonal dishes on our stand.