Friday, 20 February 2015

Forced Rhubarb

We have been very busy over the last few weeks harvesting the forced rhubarb. It's a hard, time consuming and dirty job.  Bryn does the picking in the dark, aided only by candlelight whilst Vicky and Jeni clean each stalk individually. Then it's boxed up and sent to market. But it's such a short season that it is worth the long hours and pain in our backs and hands! 

Forced rhubarb is more tender and delicately flavoured than the outdoor crop. It's perfect of course for crumbles (great with ginger and pear) or simply roasted and served with some natural yoghurt and a drizzle of our honey. New in the farm shop we also have our own Granny's Rhubarb and Date jam -  smashing on toast and scones. 

But if you are looking for some new ways to cook with forced rhubarb, then how about trying Vicky's very own Sticky Rhubarb Pudding which was recently featured in the new Leon cookbook, Fast Vegetarian! Doesn't she look sweet in the picture below? We've also added a selection of cakes, puddings, jams and drinks recipes to our Pinterest board - you can check it out by clicking here.

We have plenty of forced rhubarb in the farm shop and we will be taking lots to Oakwood Farmers Market tomorrow too. So come get some soon before the season is over! 

And if you fancy growing it yourself, we have rhubarb crowns ready to plant available at the nursery and at the Farmers Market. Several different varieties are available. 

Thanks for reading and hope to see you down on the farm soon. 

Follow Whiteleys's board Rhubarb on Pinterest.

Friday, 6 February 2015

This week on the farm

(All pictures via our Instagram feed)

Hello! It's a quick round up of our week down on the farm as we have been super busy.

Our forced rhubarb is all hand picked in the dark (Bryn wears a glamourous head lamp to be able to see!) and Vicky and Jeni both clean and pack all the lovely stalks before sending them off to market. We've got plenty in the shop for you to make crumble or how about trying your own rhubarb gin? Two of our favourite customers recommended this to us and we were immediately excited at that idea!

One of our ducks is busy being a Mama to her new arrival. You may just be able to spot a little furry yellow chick peeking out from under her. However, she's not been so keen to remain sitting on the rest of the eggs. So this morning Vicky and Jeni did their 'Call The Midwife' routine and rescued the eggs via 'bra power' until the incubator was warm enough to take over. We did get some funny looks from customers with our extra pointy bits!

Don't forget to come and get your fresh kale from the farm shop. It is at it's peak when it's picked and eaten quickly. Ours is harvested every morning and again later in the day if we've run out. We've currently got green curly kale and cavalo nero in the farm shop, so do come get some this weekend. If you are in need of some ideas of how to cook kale, then check out our previous post here.

We've had several sunny days and have got lots of outside jobs done around the nursery. It's all about preparation for Spring planting at the moment and the first of the tomato seeds are already in the propagator. We're potting on climbers, shrubs and perennials, so lots of beautiful plants for your garden come Spring. Although Meg often thinks it's a good idea to ask for some attention whilst sitting on top of the compost mix!

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you soon at the farm.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Jerusalem Artichokes

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One of the most common questions we are asked in the farm shop is 'what are these?' and a customer is pointing at the nobbly, slightly ugly looking Jerusalem Artichokes. This then leads on to 'but what do you do with them?'.  Well the answer is simple, lots of things!

 They are a member of the root vegetable family and perfect roasted along with your potatoes and parsnips. They don't need to be peeled, just given a good scrub. The white flesh inside has a slightly nutty, earthy yet sweet flavour. Artichokes are also fantastic in soups, gratins, pasta dishes and even raw in coleslaw.

Health wise, they are a great source of iron and also provide you with vitamin C and potassium. It's also linked with good intestinal health. But be careful not to have too many as they can give you wind!

Two great and simple dishes to try with Jerusalem Artichokes are by Nigel Slater -  Winter roots and lemon or Artichokes, shallots and sausages. Both are perfect, hearty suppers for winter. Or check out our Pinterest board at the bottom, where you will find lots of great recipe ideas.

Their name comes from the Italian word for sunflower 'girasole', so nothing to do with Jerusalem! And around various parts of the world they are known as 'sunchokes'.

If you want to grow Jerusalem Artichokes in your garden or allotment, we usually have a few plug plants available in the growing season. Check with us when you are next in the nursery. Bear in mind that they grow very tall, about 3 meters in height and need a lot of space. Perched on the top are beautiful yellow flowers. (The third image from the top was taken in September 2014 when they were all flowering).

We have lots of freshly harvested artichokes in the farm shop and we will also be selling them at future Farmers Markets. Check our upcoming events on the right hand side of the page for further details.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Follow Whiteleys's board Jerusalem Artichokes on Pinterest.