the worst is behind us

The rain has abated, the ground has dried up well and it’s time to gather in and make the most of what has survived the deluge. No one will starve, indeed the carrots and parsnips are doing pretty well, but we will have only half the projected yields of potatoes.

Modern root harvesting machinery relies on planting crops in a pre-sieved, clod and stone-free bed. Six months later at harvest, the ridges rise onto the sieving web, the soil falls away and coils grab any weeds and haulm (dried residues of potato stems etc.), leaving just the tubers to be delivered untouched into a trailer running alongside. This year’s rain however, has defeated even the most sophisticated harvester, leaving no choice but to sort the potatoes by hand, slowing the harvest and adding to the cost.

With winter crops looking good and the lettuce and spinach rallying well, there is a feeling that we are over the worst. Bank balances have suffered but sales have been remarkably good (thank you all) so at least we will not have any problems selling what we have managed to grow. Last weekend we had our (twice rain delayed) 25th summer party which turned out to be a very jolly affair; the high point being a water slide lined with straw and old crop fleece, fed by the irrigation pump which fired willing revellers out into the reservoir. On one of my less elegant entries I hit the bottom only to find it too had been padded and lined. As a business we have got a lot more sensible but we still know how to have a good time.  
 Guy Watson

new seasonal recipe bookletYou may notice there are fewer recipes on this newsletter than normal. Many of you have asked for more quick tips and recipe photos. So we’ve put together a recipe booklet for September-October, and we’ll still give you a couple of recipes with every newsletter. We hope you find the recipe booklet useful. If for any reason you haven’t had a copy yet, you can order it for free at www.riverford.co.uk/usefulstuff or ask your vegman.