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!
The last few weeks certainly have been bountiful, so I’m just taking a moment to revel in the amount of produce on offer at this time of year: all the summer crops are still producing, and the autumn/winter crops are also getting going (I’m not even looking under the parsnip net until there’s been a frost next month though). So alongside tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, spring onions and peppers, I’ve got fennel, kale, PSB, pumpkins, squash (Crown Prince, Butternut, Uchiki Kuri, Black Futsu), leeks, turnips… plus the herbs (parsley, chives, coriander, dill, garlic chives, lovage, sage…).
What’s really lovely though is the flowers: during the busy summer, they provide a brief moment of colour while you’re working, but you don’t really have time to stop & smell the roses (I don’t have any roses, so more like calendula). Now things are starting to slow down growth-wise, you can enjoy the nasturtiums that will keep flowering until the first proper frosts, scented herbs, vobrant borage, bright shungiko and of course the sunflowers, which are brightening up the field by the polytunnels. I’ve mostly grown Ruby Eclipse this year, and they are gorgeous: a real vintage-feel, with a pinky red heart turning to pale gold outer petals. Hartley Farm florists Young Blooms are using some in their beautiful bouquets at the moment, and they really complement the mixtures. Gorgeous. Still, I can’t stop and stare too long: there’s all that veg to pick…
Look, it’s not often that veg growers get to be please about anything ok; so I’m going to throw caution to the wind, tempt fate, and be smug about how well the leeks & pumpkins have done so far. In fact, the leeks have done really, really well in the new field – pulling them out of the ground is proving rather difficult for these big bag boys, since the root systems are so robust. Still, nothing a good forking doesn’t sort out.
I’m also halfway through picking and storing the pumpkins in the Little Polytunnel, to help them finish ripening & protect against any frosts – I won’t even start on the squash until next week at the earliest, partly because their foliage is still green (the pumpkins have pretty much died back now), and partly because I have no room until some of the pumpkins have been shifted, and/or more tunnel veg is finished and space becomes available. The pumpkins have done so well again this year, hurrah for the weather (and slight smugness about getting the timing right for a change); a mixture of Baby Bear for the small pumpkins to bake whole, and Jack O’ Lantern for the bigger carving pumpkins – on sale now in the farm shop! It’s dead exciting though looking at all the Crown Prince, Uchiki Kuri, butternuts and few randow squashes peeking out from under the leaves. Happy harvesting!