courgette cakes + easter bunnies

With the recent spell of warm weather it’s suddenly all go for the crops in our polytunnels. The spring onions and Butterhead lettuces are now being harvested to clear the way for the new plants coming in; first off it will be parsley, coriander and basil for April and May, and then chillies in June. Meanwhile, the chickens in the neighbouring field have been shuffled along onto fresh pasture. This happens every year as part of our crop and livestock rotation (which helps maintain the fertility of our soil), and they will be back in the same place in June 2012.

After another cold winter it appears that we have lost our rosemary again. Last year we put in 800 plants to replace those lost the year before in the snow and freezing temperatures. Armed with fleece and the good idea to keep the crops warmer we hoped they would survive – however, we failed! This is very frustrating as everyone I know manages to grow rosemary very successfully in their garden, normally next to the house where there is a bit of shelter and warmth given off by the house. Everyone’s garden plants have yielded more than ours!

One of the perks of working for Riverford is any fruit or vegetables that are not suitable to pack (due to damaged parts or being over-ripe) are offered to the staff to take home, and it is a great opportunity to get creative. Claire who works with me in the office is currently favouring the Riverford chocolate courgette cake. With an armful of courgettes she has successfully managed to bake cakes for the office and the pack house on a regular basis. We also have Verity our Riverford Cook, who comes once a week to cook what’s in season for my team from our ‘grade out area’. This is enjoyed by everyone at present as it is free (please don’t tell the taxman). Verity will be showing off her cooking skills at our Easter event, so make sure you join us on April 23rd on the farm. There will be farm walks, egg painting, a cake auction for Send a Cow, cookery demos and of course the Easter bunny on the Easter egg hunt. For directions and more info please visit our website.

James MacGregor

P.S. It’s business as usual for us over Easter so expect your box delivery on your normal day.