Riverford Wicked Leeks

warm enough to plant but not to grow...

It has been a bit warmer this week so planting has started in earnest with onions, cabbages, potatoes, carrots, and if all goes well, the first of the outdoor lettuce. While the sun remains fairly low in the sky, our south facing fields are much faster to warm than the richer, deeper soiled, valley land, and will be the first to be planted.

You might feel that the boxes have been a bit on the rooty side recently with not enough greens. The problem we face is that the greens are just refusing to grow in the cold and dry North and East winds, which have been sweeping across the farm for the last two months. The kale, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and over-wintered spinach, which should be in your boxes, are just shivering in the field rather than sending out the new spring growth we would expect. I would guess that we will be buried in greens next month and the balance will be reversed. In the meantime we have started stealing from the cows; the winter greens in the small boxes are the tender new shoots picked selectively from a field of greens grown for Mr Alderman's cows. Try them before ruminating about being sold cow food; they taste pretty good. Should you be passing a greengrocers, and getting tired of my excuses, you might like to glance at the green veg; everyone is struggling and many items have doubled in price as a result. Never has a humble cabbage been so prized.

School Dinners

For many years we have been showing schools around the farm and more recently supplying some of them with veg for their school dinners. I have been ranting about my children's dreadful school dinners for sometime so we have signed on the dotted line and, from next term, we are taking over the catering contract at our local primary school. The meals will be prepared, in our kitchens, mainly from the food we have grown on the farm. I am a bit surprised that Jamie Oliver, with all his charm and the persuasive power of celebrity, has had so much difficulty getting children to try things, perhaps I am in for a rude awakening. Most of the children we show around the farm, after some initial bashfulness, want to devour the place. Therefore I am hopeful the majority of the children will try our school meals. I will let you know how we get on.

Guy Watson