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Bursting !!!

Bursting, that’s what I thought as I worked in the garden this week. And not my belt, thankfully!

The farm felt still, with no wind, except for the birds “bursting” into their individual songs and the buds on some of the shrubs “bursting” out and seedlings both in the potting shed, poly tunnel and earth “bursting” out of the ground and seed compost.

The farm is awakening with new growth and new life. This feeling is just what I need. The world doesn’t seem like a safe place anymore but here on the farm Mother Nature was sending a clear message. The message was strong and clear….and I’m very grateful for it.

The last few years have been very difficult for so many and that doesn’t seem to be about to change. Food shortages are a regular feature on the news and world harvests predictions are poor. This just reinforces our belief that buying seasonal, local and organic is the safe and sustainable option.

So a big thank you to you for shopping with us. You are making a difference in so many ways.

The garden team, which includes all of us on a regular basis but is lead by Joe, has already planted the first early potatoes and has sown so many different types of veg and flowers in the last few weeks so already the potting shed and poly tunnel tables are bursting with seedlings. We are busy topping up bed with muck and compost in our no dig system ready to plant out seedlings once the last frost is over. We have had quite a few heavy frosts in the last couple of weeks are we are very pleased to have the covered growing areas like the tunnels and the big potting shed. They are great for bringing plants on early but also essential for productive summer salad veg and extending our season up here in Northumberland.

Our lambing is nearly over and there are lots of ewes and lambs skipping about in the fields. The sows are out in one of our veg paddocks, the one that had the beautiful lines of brassicas that you can see from the shop car park. So if you’re planning a visit to the shop this week you’ll see the big sows out in the front.

I know this feels like just a list but it’s all happening as tends to happen here, our cows and calves are grazing on the new piece of land which will (hopefully by the end of April) be part of our new access road.

The new road, which will be an actual road rather than a farm track, will come in further down the field which is slightly further away from the village but with a bigger entrance and shorter distance to the farm. I really can’t tell you how excited I am. We put the track to the farm in way back in 2008/9 a year after we bought the farm.

This new access is a mile stone for us. We hope you’ll visit the farm shop and or come camping or glamping here and enjoy the new access as much as we will.
Now onto what culinary delights the box has in store.

Menu ideas for this week.

Stuffed cabbage leaves.
This is one of Lara’s family favourite and if you have a go, you’ll see why. You can make it with beef mince, sausage meat or a lentil vegetarian option. I don’t have a specific recipe but the BBC do a good one….but its really just a matter of wrapping whatever you like in them.

For our Grocery Customers who got a lovely joint of gammon in their box this week…here’s my recipe/top tip on getting the best juicy ham.

You will need to cook your gammon ( which is ham once cooked) for 20 minutes per 450g ( 20 mins a lb in old money)

I usually just boil it for the allotted time then leave it to cool in the liquid. If you want to glaze and roast your ham just boil it for half the allotted time then roast it for the remainder gas mark 4 or 180c. There are lots of lovely ideas for glazes.

I normally put a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 2 bay leaves and a few pepper corns in the water. Make sure the gammon joint is covered with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for the allotted time. You can strain and use the liquid for stock for a risotto or soup.

Ham with baked potatoes and carrot and apple salad

Remember that cold leftover ham is great in omelettes, quiche, sandwiches or leek and potato soup. Cooked slices can also be frozen to bring out at a later date. A ham is a staple here at lambing time. Quick and easy.

Savoy cabbage gratin (you can add some pieces of ham to this too)

Meat loaf (another quick and easy dish to have in the fridge for a busy week)

The blood oranges are great just to eat but a blood orange crepe Suzette takes them to another level.

Enjoy the sunshine everyone and i’ll see you all out and about or pop down the shop.

Beth x

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