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Wild life on wings

Blackbird nestThe skies up at the Go Local Fields are full of youthful birds – seems the hatching season has gone well despite a few known mishaps. The blue tits have left; robins are everywhere but they seem to like human company. There’s a robin in the poly tunnel feeding young and having a hard time keeping pace with the demands.

There’s a very easily scared blackbird fledgling in and out of the poly tunnels.

Mamma thrush is still feeding the little ones in the nest on the potato planter. Right then – Ian definitely nil and Mamma thrush with a busy feeding job.

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The big catch up

pattypan squashThe Go Local Fields are suddenly looking like ground preparation is well in hand and crops are all ready to go. The latest delivery of compost has arrived to be mixed with the offerings from Halls of Heddon – all to help with improving the beds and improve the growing environment.

The squash bed in almost ready for the squashes which are also almost ready. Though grower Ian is wary as his first batch went out last year in June and were frosted so he is being more circumspect. Apparently this year there will be no pattypan squash “because no-one liked them last year”.  (Ian should have told me, I would have taken as many as possible as we love them in our family).

The tomatoes are ahead of themselves as are the runner beans. French beans are coming along in the poly tunnels. The first of the cucumbers are already also planted with the rest to follow soon.

No dig trial beds

no dig bedsHere are the no dig trial beds up at the Go Local Food fields in various stages of development.

Completed and planted on the right to ground preparation on the left. After all this hard work we hope there’s no more digging/ cultivation for at least three years.

Notice the spade on the left – says a lot about how some of the work was done!

Riverford Cottage: Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Egg, Garam Masala

Chard LeavesChas, one of our work shares, uses this recipe. He says that he’s used chard and kale in place of the purple sprouting broccoli with success. As we often have chard and kale in the crop share this is good.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
About 250g purple sprouting broccoli, woody ends removed
50g butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated or very finely chopped
2 teaspoons garam masala
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Add the eggs, return to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes. Immediately drain and hold the pan of eggs under cold running water. This stops the eggs cooking at the right point: the yolks should still be a little soft when you cut into them. Carefully peel the eggs (under a trickle of cold tap water is easiest) and set them aside.

You can either steam or boil the purple sprouting broccoli. I like to steam it as it retains a little more of its fantastic colour this way and the delicate florets are less likely to get waterlogged. Either way, cook the broccoli for 2-6 minutes until just tender (justpicked home grown spears will only take a couple of minutes, shop-bought ones a little longer). Drain if necessary.

Melt the butter with the extra virgin olive oil in a small pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, then the garam masala. Turn the heat down low and gently cook the spicy butter for 1-2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Put the broccoli on a large warm plate or individual plates. Halve the boiled eggs and place on the broccoli. Dress the eggs and broccoli with the warm, fragrant butter. Season with a little more salt and pepper and serve.

You can buy ready made garam masala but I make my own like this:

4 small bay leaves
7 black cardamom pods
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds
5g piece of cinnamon
5 cloves
2 tsp coriander seeds
All ground to a fine powder and stored in an airtight jar.

All Hands Saturday 26th May 2018

draw hoe

The job for the morning is planting and earthing up of potatoes. If you can bring your own draw hoe that would be excellent as it will ensure that there are enough tools for everyone. Yes you will be able to take it home again unless you would like to donate one to Go Local Food tool store.

This is all the result of the thrush who nested on the potato planter – she’s feeding young at the moment so obviously it’s a successful nest if an inconvenient one for us the Go Local Food workers and volunteers.