Riverford Wicked Leeks

seeded vs seedless

As I arrived at the farm at 7am today, everyone was rushing around frantically. The darkening mornings seem to have taken us all by surprise, and what is normally a prompt start to the day turned into a rush as we had all grabbed an extra few minutes under the duvet.

There is other rushing about to be done, namely getting the winter butterhead lettuce in the tunnels in the next couple of weeks, as we hold on to the parsley and basil to eke out the last out of the crop. A week late in planting from the beginning of September accounts for a month later in harvesting, so timing is critical for the butterhead. It will do most of its growing in October and we’ll hope for some sunny days in November to keep the crop fit and healthy and allow it to bulk up before harvesting. We plan to harvest it in the last weeks of November and beginning of December, to provide some much needed freshness to winter meals.

Longstanding customers may have noticed that over the last few years we have moved away from seeded grapes onto seedless varieties for the boxes and our extras list. This was as a result of customer requests (and occasional gripes from staff) about having to pull handfuls of seeds out of your mouth each time you reach for the fruit bowl. However, for a couple of weeks now we have been using seeded grapes in the boxes. They come from Jacques Vernet, a grower in the South of France we’ve known for more than ten years. His season starts with a variety called Lavalle, a large grape that has been in the boxes for the last two weeks. This week we move onto Muscat, a well-known, traditional French variety that has soft, small fruit and a relatively short shelf life compared with most seedless varieties. Muscat grapes can be hard to find in the UK as our buying habits and preferences seem to put convenience ahead of flavour. But in my opinion they are a far superior grape with a strong, scented flavour; well worth trying. If you really can’t abide the seeds, you can order seedless grapes from our extras list.

James MacGregor, General Manager