make like a plant

Hurrah, the shortest day is past. Combined with some bright and dry weather, I feel better already. This will be our busiest week of the year as the nation prepares to feast on some good wholesome, and for once, largely seasonal, food. Jane and Kirsty have put together lots of recipes overleaf to help you on the day and with the leftovers afterwards.

Out in the fields you can almost feel the plants shutting down as the shorter days, a lower sun and sudden drop in temperature finally snuff out the last half-hearted attempts at late autumnal growth. Plants and beasts should pause before rushing on with 2010. Even in mild Devon, nothing much happens out there now until late January. It is a strange phenomenon that even in Southern California or the South of Spain, where winter temperatures and light levels are similar to our summer, there is always a brief period when plants virtually shut down. Experienced growers seldom sow at this time even in a heated greenhouse.

I say this in the hope that at some point over Christmas you will find the time and inclination to make like a plant or a sleepy bear; sit back, lie back, even join the youth and kick back to get some commerce- and goal-free hibernation time of your own. Having worked as a sales assistant in Harrods at Christmas many years ago (the worst sales assistant ever to be afflicted on Suede and Leather), I witnessed the waves of heaving, bargain-hunting, traumatised sales season shoppers. An abiding aversion to the abomination of the evermore premature January sale has stayed with me. Give your credit card a rest. The nation will survive a week without it. We will anyway; I hope you have gathered that apart from keeping an eye on our cauliflowers, we finish on the 24th so no more boxes until the week of 4th January.

Enough subversive, leftward leaning, anarchistic pontification for 2009. May your turkey be tender, your nut rissole delicious and your sprouts cooked to perfection. May you find contentment, happiness and convivial company to share it with. In short, Merry Christmas from us all at Riverford.

Guy Watson