Good afternoon Organic Northerners,
I’ve had the chance to speak to a few prospective customers this morning and be them from Manchester, Abersoch or way up north in Aberdeen, the one thing I heard again and again the dreaded ‘hungry gap’. Folk are all correct insofar as up and down the country this is the time when domestically-grown produce is thinnest on the ground. However, this is not our first rodeo as they say and slowly over the years, as and when demand has allowed, we’ve gradually been able to strike-up new relations with growers and at least make it so that there’s invariably something of interest that you can dig out from our list all year around.
These growers might be like Francis Sampson who down in Penzance grows in somewhat of a micro-climate and is able to provide us with spring greens, caulis and PSB at this time of year. Another example is Stephen Haslum (Tewksbury) who using heated greenhouses is able to provide us with some early crops of courgette, cucumber and aubergine. Add to these our selection of local polytunnel growers who currently have albeit limited amounts of spring onions, spinach, rocket, salad leaves etc and the landscape certainly doesn’t look as bad as it could.
The quality of produce that we receive from our smaller-scale polytunnel growers like Ward & Thompson and Brookhouse is second to none and it’s always apparent the love and eye to detail that has clearly gone into growing their various crops. That said, as we ourselves grow as a business (and we’ve done a lot of that in the last 5yrs!), our weekly demand sometimes outweighs what is available. This is why we were particularly pleased to begin working more closely with some larger-scale farms like Foskett’s (Suffolk) last year and we’re thrilled to welcome them back again this week. Those who were on with us last year will fondly remember the bunched carrots, beets, French beans and radish that we enjoyed from these guys last year and we’re chuffed to be listing the radish again this week. There’s loads of it available so feel free to fill your boots : )
Lots of exciting veg news this week so some bullet points below…or if you’re already tired from all my guff above, skip to the bottom to see a teaser from our recent visit to see Faye Leagram and her legendary, Bob’s knob!
- As mentioned above in case you missed the waffle, Foskett’s are on with lots of lovely boxes of bunched radish.
- New Farm now has loads of spring greens too
- We’ve 5 new potato varieties on SKEA from pink gypsy to alouette.
- Strawberry Fields are now running lower on leeks but still have a fair amount. This week they also have their first green lettuces and a number of spring greens too.
- Haslum has slightly better numbers on the courgettes this week along with our first UK aubergines of the year!
- Simpson has some bagged baby spinach
- We’ve less Glebelands salad this week but UK lettuce has just started in force
- Burscough growers have added some green butterhead and little gem lettuce
- Goodness growing have some red multileaf lettuce available for customers later in the week
- The much-loved portobellos have returned from Orchard (Armagh) – huzzah!
- From abroad, we’ve only the strawberries this week from Flor de Donana for the poor (hot & cold) weather in Spain. Blueberries you’ll find from Dynamis and Zann this week.
- Keeping on fruit we’ve our first mini watermelons of the year from El Cortijo.
- Gospa served to help delay all of our deliveries yesterday by not turning up when they should have so we’re not going to relist them until they’ve got their logistics in order.
- Fairtrasa return with their usual array of fruits and roots (ginger/turmeric) including some mangoes and limes.
- Dynamis have horseradish, rebellion toms and yellow courgettes.
- On the pantry item front, we’ve pullet eggs back on from Mcmyn, pitted olives from Mani and almost all of the drinks are now available from Loving Foods too.
- On the cheese front there’s no Gresford from Botton (out of stock) but Pike’s Delight is back on from Pextenement.
- Last up but by no means least, along with the Azores pale back in stock, we’ve new brews from Atlantic Brewery. We’ve a pilsner called Fistral, ‘Soul Citra’- a hoppy pale and a red Celtic Ale too…just in time for all this lovely weather : )
Look out for some porridge oat samples on your orders this week and next. We’ve not got loads but will disseminate as many as possible to the likely purchasers of these. These are from our new supplier the brilliant Pimhill Farm (Shropshire) and we’re absolutely thrilled to begin working with them. I’ll likely tell you more about these next week when we list them for the first time but in a nutshell, they were the first farm in the UK to have their oats certified organic, they have long and close ties with our certifier (The Soil Association) and most important of all, their porridge oats and muesli are great!
I’ll leave you with a whisper about new Jersey Royals (shh) and the promised snippet of VT from our recent visit to see Faye Leagram and her creamery up in the Forest of Bowland chatting about the legendary Bob’s knob!
Sean, Mo, Cathryn and the team.