Hooray! Spring is here!
Today we're trying to not think about Brexit and instead focus on what is certain in this crazy place we call home - spring vegetables!
Spring is finally here and doesn't it feel great? I hope you're loving the sudden glut of purple sprouting broccoli - I've been trying to get hold of it for the veg bags all year but as the weather's been a bit weird, supply last year was low and there's always such high demand for this speciality brassica. This year our partners, London Grown, will be growing a whole patch of it just for us so you'll be enjoying purple sprouting broccoli from the very north of Tottenham this time next year.
Martin harvesting leeks at Ripple Farm
In the vegetable world this is a time of endings and new beginnings. It's safe to say the last of the squash stores has finally been used up so you won't see another crown prince for at least six months. Our urban producers are starting to harvest - this week we're getting spring onions, lettuce and purple sprouting broccoli from Forty Hall Farm in Enfield and salad from OrganicLea in Walthamstow.
The weekly updates from our farmers in Essex and Kent are making me hungry for broad beans, rhubarb and new potatoes. There's not long to wait now. Sarah Green and Martin at Ripple Farm have been busily planting spuds this week, ready for harvesting in May. It's been great weather for preparing seedbeds, planting out and sowing seeds. And Sarah's overwintered broadbeans are at least 6 inches tall by now.
Potato planting on Sarah Green's farm
Sarah notes that this year "our volatile weather has delivered nine inches of rain between July 2016 and March 2017, compared with 17 inches in the same period last year." The wet spring last year really hindered the potato and onion crops and Martin lost nearly his whole onion field to mildew as a result. The dry weather that followed over the autumn/winter stunted the growth of many of the brassicas. We're hoping this year won't bring too much rain, but just enough. It's a delicate balance.