another barren week

Alas this is another posting, stating no bags. we finished the last of the potatoes this week, and the carrots will be gone next. progression on the polly tunnels is slow. weather is not helping. it looks like the next few bags will be down to beet root, cabbage mizzuna celeriac and eggs. although egg production has dropped to half typical of this time of year.

Cambridge council recently realeased the listing of there council farms. i thought it mite be a good idea for the transitioners can find any local council farms,  the boring bit is you have to check with each council but it does offer an interesting approach to getting some land under cultivation.


regards bart


delivery 27th oct. the last official bag

last week I was struck by the reality of winter, there where no tomatoes, green bean pepper aubergines or anything from the summer season. we now have to wait all the way till june before we are likely to see anything reminiscent of that time, and it will be the courgette. I’m sure you all remember them, in their mountains. do you look back lusting after that vanished fruit, do you by them the super market with out a though. do you feel like you eaten enuf courgettes to see you through till june.

the run up to january will see the carrots, potatoes, beetroot, squash used up. the leeks came to their untimely demise on monday. im going to start cropping parsnips tomorrow, they have been struggling with a disease  which gives them purple and brown dead leafs and stunts their growth, so we will probably make short work of them. the celeriac, a solid bunch, have also seemed a bit under the weather. but they will struggle on. an abundance of cabbage, and pak choi, things will carry on. and shortly the frost will do away with the pesky white fly. then be for you know it spring will ring the purple spouting broccoli, green garlic, shallots, mangetout, fresh carrots from the Polly tunnels and a renewed sence of life a vigor.

any ways this weeks bags. potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, beets, parsnip, squash, mizzuna, and probably some green. hopefully with not too much white fly.

it would be really interesting if we could find a place for dividing up in london.

I hope every one is whell

regards Bart

Pumpkin, White Bean and Kale Ragout – by Neerja

Hi all,
Neel and I made this ragout this weekend and it was a perfect autumn treat…using many of our lovely veg from Bart (squash, leeks, garlic, kale). I didn’t take a photo but highly recommend it!

Recipe below:

Pumpkin, White Bean and Kale Ragout
Time: 1 1/4 hours

1 3-pound sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large leeks, cleaned and chopped, white and light green parts only
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or use 3 cups cooked white beans)
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 pound kale, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese ( 1/2 cup), more to taste, optional
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped, plus whole berries for garnish
Coarse sea salt, for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel pumpkin or squash. Trim stem, then halve pumpkin or squash and scoop out seeds (save for roasting if desired). Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes.
2. Spread cubes out on a large rimmed baking sheet. In small saucepan, combine butter or canola oil, syrup, 1 teaspoon vinegar, kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until butter melts; pour mixture over squash and toss to coat evenly. Roast, tossing occasionally, until pumpkin or squash is very tender and caramelized at edges, about 30 minutes.
3. In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, rosemary and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft and not at all browned, about 15 minutes. Add beans and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in kale, and cheese if desired. Simmer until kale is cooked down and very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in pumpkin or squash and chopped cranberries; season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with additional cranberries and sea salt, and serve.

Yield: 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.

October the 20th veg delivery


it seems we are coming close to the end of the scheme. it has been great to learn from Carla’s research that that we are competitive with the top end of the supermarket organic range. this is very encouraging, because it means that if a farm where to be created it would be able to prosper pay the people an for the land. there are still complication with that reality but some basic premisses are in place.

unfortunately the scheme we have been running has relied heavily, and thus i think unsustainable on Carla’s time, and my own. having visitors up to the farm has been great fun and helpful. people have been learning and getting more and more helpful with each visit. i have how ever been a bit disappointed that here has been little or no discussion on how the group can take on issues like dividing up the bags. for me it would be realy nice to see an increased interaction in this respect. i realise there are issues currently but working on resulving them is what we are hear to do.

this week int he bags. will be. beetroot, carrot, potatoes, onion, squash, mixed kales, mizzuna.


hope every body is doing weal.

regards Bart

Price comparison – Bart vs. Waitrose – by Carla

Intrigued by the M&S experiment, I decided to try with Waitrose, which has a larger selection of organic vegetables. I checked prices on Ocado, which I assume is close to the in-store prices.

This week’s bag:
200 g organic cherry tomatoes – £1.10
500 g organic carrots – £1.50
500 g organic beetroot – £1.50
2 organic purple garlic – £1
400 g organic leeks – £1.60
1 organic red cabbage – £1.50
1 kg organic winter squash – £2.50

total cost – £10.70
discount (Bart always rounds down the actual cost) – -£0.70
final total – £10

At Waitrose:
200 g organic cherry tomatoes – £1.19
500 g organic carrots – £0.89
500 g organic beetroot – £1.69
400 g organic leeks – £2.49
2 organic garlic (sold in packs of 3) – £0.70
1 organic red cabbage – £.199
1 organic butternut squash (no weight given) – £1.99

total cost – £10.94

Vegetable Soup – by Carla

Sometimes, when the vegetables start piling up in the fridge, the only thing to do is make a big pot of soup. I made this one at the end of September. I love how colourful it is.
There isn’t really a recipe because it depends on what you have, but to make this one, I first sauteed chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil, then added chopped potatoes and vegetable stock. Once things were tender I added green beans, already-cooked borlotti beans and chicory, and finally peas and sweetcorn right at the end.
The onions, carrots, garlic, potatoes and green beans came from the veg bags, the borlotti beans came from Bart last year, the chicory came from the garden and the celery, peas and sweetcorn from Tesco (can’t have everything!).


Insalata Russa – by Carla

Russian salad, known as insalata russa in Italian, is a classic in Piedmont, Ugo’s home region, where they love mayonnaise. I recently had some leftover homemade mayonnaise from another dish, and realized insalata russa would be a good way to use up lots of Bart’s vegetables. You can make this with mayonnaise in a jar too, but homemade is really easy in the food processor and tastes much better. You do have a higher salmonella risk, but I’ve made dozens of batches without ever having a problem. See below for instructions.
It seems like a hassle to cook all the vegetables separately, but they cook fast because they cut into little cubes, and you use the same boiling water. It makes it much easier to get them cooked perfectly, and keeps their flavours distinct.
I haven’t given quantities because you can adjust to taste or depending on what you have.

potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
green beans, topped and tailed and cut into bite-size pieces
fresh or frozen peas
red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
canned tuna (you can leave this out, but it is very traditional. I used Fish4Ever‘s yellowfin tuna)

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, then drain with a slotted spoon, leaving the water in the pot. Bring the water back to the boil, then add the carrots and cook until tender. Drain with a slotted spoon, then cook the green beans until tender. When just about done, add the frozen peas, return the water to the boil, then drain the beans and peas.
Whisk together the mayonnaise with some red-wine vinegar or lemon juice and salt to taste.
In a large bowl, gently stir together the potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, capers, tuna and mayonnaise until completely combined.
Transfer to another bowl to serve.
To make mayonnaise in a food processor, break an egg into the bowl. Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Start the food processor, and with it running, start drizzling in the oil, slowly at first and then faster as it starts to come together. I use a mix of extra-virgin olive oil and sunflower oil. When it gets very thick, pulse in some lemon juice and any of the following: grated lemon zest, chopped anchovies, minced parlsey, minced chives.