Riverford Wicked Leeks

festive roots + summer daydreams

Christmas is coming! Well it is December so you can’t say I’m jumping the gun, and it sounds so much better than ‘winter is upon us’. It’s time for a farm update so let’s talk about the seasonal vegetables first, all those lovely muddy roots. Swede, celeriac, carrots, parsnips and beetroot are coming in from the fields and cold stores right now. I hope some of you managed to catch us on the BBC’s Great British Food Revival programme with the chef Antonio Carluccio. He was championing British beetroot and trying to get the nation cooking creatively with it from fresh, and not thinking that it only comes out of a pickle jar. All I can say is take a look at our website if you are short of a beetroot recipe or two (the chocolate beetroot brownies are particularly good). Meanwhile the first sprouts are in and they are proving popular already…they aren’t just for Christmas.

For the last month or so we’ve been sending organic carrots and apples down to the bakery to make our Christmas puddings. It’s definitely a lighter, fruitier version, so if you are fed up with stodge, give them a try. We already have some in stock, along with our brilliant mince pies. A few other seasonal favourites selling fast include our fudge and chocolate brownies, and I’m afraid you are already too late for our Brussels sprouts advent calendar, which has sold out.

It may be dark and miserable outside but right now we are planning the contents of your vegboxes for the whole of 2012 and 2013, so we can think about all those spring and summer crops. After all the planning we start ordering the seeds and plants; not something to forget when growing seasonal vegetables. As for the winter crops, we’ve had a few problems with a slightly higher incidence of white fly than normal, due to the mild autumn. I nearly said due to the unseasonal weather, but last year was unseasonal at the opposite end of the spectrum. That’s typical for farming though - we moan when it’s cold, and moan when it’s mild. I suppose that’s growing vegetables for you. The chickens are loving it though. I’ve been watching them merrily grubbing around in the grass, while this time last year I think they were barely setting foot outside!

Gordon Twigg