Just checked the wildlife cam again after a few weeks: as well as many crows, jackdaws, pied wagtails, the local semi-feral grey cat, a speedy fox, streaking badger, many cheeky rabbits and a pigeon showing off to camera, there are also pictures of a very rude deer prowling the field not only at night, but also in the middle of the day. Seriously dude; 2.30pm?!
While we may well be into the hungry gap now, with winter crops finished and spring crops not quite big enough, there are still a few things around for a healthy meal. The overwintered salads are just about still going, although many have been pulled out now as they have bolted; perennial herbs such as lovage, chives and sorrel are tender and delicious; the overwintered chard in the tunnel has a new lease of life; and the early spinach planted in the tunnels a month ago is coming on well and ready to be picked.
I was given some dried elephant garlic bulbs just before Christmas, and we whacked the cloves in the small Acorn tunnel to see if it would do anything: and now it looks great! We will start picking and selling it as fresh stem garlic next week; it’s gorgeous milder flavour makes it perfect for using raw if you’re brave enough; otherwise lightly cooked or stir-fried, or used in pasta dishes. It’s also known as ‘wet’ garlic when picked this way and chefs love it – not to be confused with ‘wild garlic’ or ramsons, which are the broad-leaved plants with white flowers that adorn woodland floors and verges at this time of year, and have a less refined flavour. Try chopping fresh garlic into a salad with some spinach too for a feel-good spring treat: delicious with Tracklement’s mustard ketchup thinned with oil as a dressing, available from Hartley Farm Shop along with our produce!
It was really exciting to be part of the new Bradford on Avon Food Assembly launch a couple of weeks ago: this weekly Food Assembly is every Thursday now, and such an easy way for people to click and collect local food! You simply go online to https://thefoodassembly.com/en/assemblies/9325 and then order what you fancy, from veg, salads, fruit, meat, bread, eggs, fudge, wine, microgreens and more, before 2am on Wednesdays; then come along to Mount Pleasant on a Thursday evening from 5.30-7pm to collect your order from the producers! Nicer, easier and generally cheape than ordering from the supermarkets, woohoo!