Tag Archives: Guy Watson

What’s what in the box – 8th November 2010

In this week’s video, Guy talks about parsnips.

what’s what in the box – 8th november 2010

parsnips

We’ve just started harvesting these this week. You can start lifting them in September but as it gets colder, they get sweeter. They’re at their best around January and are in season until around March. Toward the end of the season they start to get a bit ‘woody’ as they re-grow from the top so the core starts to get a bit tough. If you find them to be a bit tough in February or March, it’s worth quartering them and taking out the core.

Parsnips have a sweet flavour and the simplest and best way to use them is to roast them. They also make a good purée and sweetness goes well with spices.

order parsnips from Riverford Organic

The white stuff

My father never got on with sheep (“always looking for a new way to die”), so every morning and evening he milked 30 Ayrshire cows on our farm. In the 60 years since, the rule of farming has been to get bigger or get out, so my brother and sister now milk 250 cows at Riverford. When the local dairy stopped bottling organic milk, Oliver and Louise partnered up with some of the old dairy staff to pasteurise and carton the milk on the farm and to make yoghurt, cream and more recently, butter. I now have 250 words to convince you to buy the stuff. Here goes:

1.It tastes great. Maybe that’s because it is fresher; we go for a seven day shelf life compared to big dairies’ 14. Maybe it is that the cows have a more natural diet of forage (grass, clover etc.), not grain and soya. You can taste a cow’s diet in the milk, as we discovered recently when the cows ate waste apple pulp during cider making season. Not everyone liked it.

2.It’s better for you. Cows that eat more forage have substantially higher levels of Omega 3 in their milk. Most milk is homogenised to break up fat globules to nano-sized particles and stop them from separating out. There is some evidence that these can be absorbed into the blood directly across the gut wall, with potential health implications. We don’t homogenise, leaving you to decide if you want to give the milk a shake or not.

3.It is better for the cows. Our cows suffer less mastitis, less lameness, less infertility and live for much longer. Some super-intensive herds get fewer than two lactations per cow; the average is perhaps three or four. We get five.

4.It’s better for the environment. Our pastures get no synthetic fertilisers or sprays and are seldom ploughed, resulting in more biodiversity, lower use of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide being sequestrated in soil organic matter.

5.You know where it comes from. The milk is all from our cows, 200 yards from the dairy and delivered straight to your doorstep, without being transported unnecessarily or mixed with milk from hundreds of different farms.

Guy Watson

order milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy from Riverford

What’s what in the box – 1st November 2010

In this week’s video, Guy talks about kale and cabbage.

what’s what in the box – 1st november 2010

red russian kale

This is a sweet and tender kale. You can cook the whole thing including the stem, especially if you finely chop it at the bottom. Steam briefly and serve.

cavalo nero

This is robust with an earthy, almost bitter iron flavour. Cavalo nero has tough ribs. Grip the rib with one hand and with the other, pull the leaf away. When you get to the centre leaves, they’re tender so you can chop these without stripping them.

If you’re going to boil greens you need to have quite a big pot with plenty of water and a little salt. Plunge them in and get them boiled quickly. When they have been going for a couple of minutes, take them out and refresh under cold water to stop them cooking. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can with your hands. Cavalo nero goes great with a knob of butter, a squeeze of lemon and a bit of pepper.

order cavalo nero online

What’s what in the box – 25th October 2010

In this week’s video, Guy talks about radicchio and gives tips and ideas on using it.

what’s what in the box – 25th october 2010

radicchio
These grow really well in Autumn, after the lettuce season is over. The cannon ball like Chioggia are most commonly sold in the UK but we prefer these tall,  cos shaped radicchio known as Treviso.

It does have a really bitter flavour, so can be used raw in salad, but in a small quantity with a sweet dressing or with fruit or roast squash. If you do find it too bitter to use in a salad, it can be cooked.

Try our recipes for grilled radicchio, radicchio and red wine risotto and radicchio pasta or order radicchio on our website.

what’s what in the box – 18th october 2010

In this week’s video, Guy talks about squash and gives tips and ideas on using it.

what’s what in the box – 18th october 2010

Summer is over and we’re still cutting lettuce and fennel but are starting to get more into the winter produce so lots of leeks, squash and swedes are in the boxes.

squash
Mid October is when we’re busy getting the squash in from the fields. We have to get them in before the first frost comes and this Autumn has been fantastic. We’ve had good sunlight so the squash have ripened well.

storage
Squash hate being cold so never put them in the fridge. Keep them at room temperature and dry, so a shelf in your kitchen is suitable.

sugar pumpkins
These keep for a month or so, are not too strong in flavour so are good for soups and pumpkin pie.

butternut
These keep for 2 or 3 months. To prepare it, peel with a potato peeler and the skin will come off easily. But both ends off, chop it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

kabacha
These should keep for around 3 months.

crown prince
These have a tough skin and will keep for 5 or 6 months. They have a strong flavour compared to the others.

To prepare them, knock off the stem and push a sharp knife into the centre. Work it around and split the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds. You can roast it in an oven as it is, brush it with olive oil and roast it again, then scoop out the flesh and use in a soup or risotto when soft.

If the recipe you are using calls for chunks you’ll have to peel it. The skin is too hard for a peeler, so use a knife by placing the squash half face down on a board, working round with a knife, cutting the skin off.

Make sure you never put a whole squash in the oven, it will explode. Cut it in half and de-seed first.

Box amnesty

Environmentally, there is no such thing as good packaging; only some that is less bad. Recycling can help but it is a poor substitute for reuse or, even better, not using the stuff in the first place. So why do we use any at all? Some leafy veg, like spinach and lettuce, dehydrates so quickly that not using bags results in pointless waste. Similarly, tomatoes and mushrooms need protection and potato bags retain the mud and exclude light to prevent greening. We have done a lot of work with Exeter University to find the ‘least worst’ option for what to use, with some surprising and counterintuitive results. You can read more at www.riverfordenvironment.co.uk.

The veg boxes themselves are designed to be reused many times. If they were all returned we would get around 10 trips per box, but we currently only achieve four because so many are not. If you can reuse them, we are happy. But if not, we want them back, even if they are damaged. If the boxes were all returned, we could more than halve their environmental impact. This is what we would like you to do:

  • Veg boxes: fold flat by pushing the ends in so the bottom goes down (not up into the box) and leave out for collection. This is the single biggest thing you can do to help.
  • Plastic bags: leave out in your veg box for us to recycle.
  • Paper bags and punnets: reuse as seed trays, lunch bags, compost bin liners etc, then compost, or put out for recycling with your paper (if clean).
  • Meat box packaging: we’d like the box, gel packs and insulated liner back for reuse. Anything that has touched the meat must go out with your rubbish.
  • Plastic punnets: we use few of these so do not have a recycling route. Please put them out with the rest of your rubbish.

Thanks for your help.

Guy Watson

What’s what in the box – 2nd August 2010

Every week we give you tips on using the new season or unusual veg in the boxes. In this week’s video, find out what to do with cabbage, salad pack, courgettes and artichokes. This week the video is in two parts.

what’s what in the box – 2nd august 2010 (part 1)

what’s what in the box – 2nd august 2010 (part 2)

 

onions:
In the spring they were fairly small. This week we have bunched onions in the boxes but in 3 weeks or so we’ll have dried onions.

salad pack
We grow a lot of salad leaves in Devon. We put a mixture of them in the salad pack including pak choi, mustard, rocket and other baby leaves but it depends on what has grown well this week. The idea is to get a good blend and balance of flavours, colours, and textures.

hispi cabbage
These sweet cabbages have been growing well this year. Try chopping up and washing them then blanching in hot water with lemon juice, a knob of butter and pepper. In the Field Kitchen we’ve been quartering them, steaming them and putting them with chorizo sausage, capers and parsley.

courgettes
Courgettes have been in season for around a month now and they generally run until the end of August. Try to eat them fresh. Slice them thinly lengthways, add a little bit of oil and salt and pepper, then chargrill them.

What’s what in the box – 26th July 2010

This week Guy talks about spinach, broad beans, turnips and the rain we’ve had on the farm. 

 

what’s what in the box – 26th july 2010 

true spinach
This tends to be small leaved and succulent. We also grow spinach beet  and swiss chard and you can use them all in similar ways. 

True spinach can be washed and cooked as is but if you’re cooking swiss chard or spinach beet, pull the large stalks off. Wash it quickly and cook in a pan over a moderate heat with a lid on. 

After 2 or 3 minutes it will collapse on the bottom so you can then turn it over and cook again for another 2 or 3 minutes and then it’s done. 

When it’s finished cooking, put it in a colander and run some cold water over to refresh it. 

broad beans
We’re coming to the end of the broad bean season now but the later ones are usually better quality. If you have the time, you can boil them for 5 minutes then slip them out of the skins. 

turnips
These summer turnips are very succulent and sweet. It’s usually better to peel them and then you can roast them with carrots.

What’s what in the Riverford box – 19th July 2010

This week Guy talks about sugar snap peas, tomatoes, spinach, hispi cabbage, carrots and kohl rabi.

Sugar snap peas
To prepare, break the end and strip it down and it will take the string out. Take the string off each side and then you can steam or boil (for 3-5 minutes). You also can eat them in a stirfry or raw.

Tomatoes
We’ve just come into the tomato season and have had good sunlight so they taste really sweet. Try making your own fresh salsa by chopping them, adding red or fresh onions and a green herb and well as a squeeze of lemon, vinegar and a bit of sugar, salt and pepper. It’s great with tortilla chips or on a courgette fritter.

Bunched carrots
They are tasting fantastic. Don’t bother peeling them. If you want to cook them, theyre great if roast them with kohl rabi. Peel and chop the kohlrabi and roast with the carrots for around 30 minutes.

Spinach
True spinach has fine and succulent leaves. Wash it, leave the water on and cook it in a pan, turn it over, take it out push it into a colander, chop it up finely and then you can use it in all sorts of ways.

Hispi cabbage
Shred these finely, blanch and drain. You could add a squeeze of lemon as well as a little bit of butter and pepper.

What’s what in the Riverford box – 12th July 2010

This week Jane talks about bunched carrots, radish and cucumber, cherry tomatoes and french beans.

bunched carrots (0 mins, 12 secs)

Rather than peel bunched carrots, you can just wash them. Try roasting them in the oven with a bit of cumin and then mashing them before adding olive oil and feta.

radish + cucumber (0 mins, 39 secs)

Try thinly slicing the radish and cucumber and mixing it with a bit of smoked fish. You can bind it with some creme fraiche and horseradish.

cherry tomatoes (1 mins, 1 secs)

You don’t have to do too much with these. They go well with mozzarella, so you can slice them up with mozzarella, olive oil and basil.

french beans  (1 mins, 42 secs)

The season’s just started so you’ll see a lot more of them over the coming weeks. Top and tail them and blanch in boiling salted water for a couple of water. They need to have a squeak when you bite into them. Try tossing them with shredded slow cooked tomatoes, diced olives and fresh basil.