Riverford Wicked Leeks

the cook, the farmer and the book

In the fledgling days of our box scheme, back in 1993, it became quickly apparent that most customers loved the idea of eating all those seasonal vegetables, but were sometimes defeated by the reality. Some were bemused by celeriac, kohl rabi, wet garlic and artichokes, while others grew bored of cabbages, swedes and kale. As a keen but amateur cook my response was a photocopied monthly newsletter of recipes and farm news. As my culinary knowledge was exhausted, I called on friends, family and some of those original customers for recipes and tips. My family were the guinea pigs, subjected each week to countless variations of borsch recipes or 101 things to do with a cauliflower.

The first version of our recipe book was put together in the early hours over several months (in the days when cut-and-paste actually involved scissors and glue), then photocopied and stapled together to give to new customers. As the years went by our booklet grew and was professionally printed and we were approached by publishers about a full blown cookbook. Did the nation really need another? I was sceptical that we had the culinary authority to sit alongside Jamie, Delia and Mrs Beeton on the nation