This month we reach the end of the 'Hungry Gap' period as our new season produce starts to become available. Read on to learn about the benefits of beautiful broad beans which are in full production at the moment, find out about our Go Cardless payment system and get details about our up-coming summer solstice event later in June.
News from the Fields
After a cold, wet spring, May and June have been warm and dry which brings a new set of challenges. We had to irrigate our second early carrots to make sure there was enough moisture in the ground for germination. They are now up, although a bit patchy due to poor germination and slug damage. We have almost finished the fiddly job of finger weeding them! The team are hard at work doing this in the picture below.
We now have our squash, courgettes, Brussel sprouts, kalettes, beetroot, swede and carrots, in the ground, and after the sea of leeks that are in the yard at the moment are planted out next week, our focus will shift much more onto weeding and hoeing with fewer sowings and plantings as we go through the season.
The end of the hungry gap is now in sight too, with new season broad beans, peas, spring greens, true spinach, curly kale, bunched beetroot and carrots now appearing in our boxes. These are scarce at the moment and not yet available wholesale so do sign up for a box to enjoy these delicious springtime treats.
Broad beans have been cultivated by many peoples since Neolithic times. This long history has given the broad bean many common names including fava, faba, Windsor, horse, bell, pigeon, ful and haba. In Egypt they make up the national dish – ful medams – a savoury mash of broad beans with garlic, lemon, olive oil, cumin and salt. In Italy and Greece, fresh broad beans are sautéed with olive oil and garlic. In India, they are boiled and served with curry and rice. Dried broad beans are roasted and eaten as a snack in India, China and South America. In Sichuan China, broad beans and soybeans are seasoned with chilli to make a fermented bean paste. In Mexico they are used as a spicy filling in corn flour pasties.
As well as their nutty, complex flavour, broad beans are full of fibre and protein. Young beans are around 8% protein. This rises to 25% in dry broad beans (Morrow 2014). They also contain good amounts of vitamins A and C and potassium.
Broad beans like cooler conditions and are therefore one of the first vegetables of the new season, signalling the end of the hungry gap period. They can be grown through the winter or sown in early spring. At Shillingford, we sow Aquadulce in the polytunnel (3 rows, a foot apart within rows) in October and we also do an outdoor overwintered sowing at the end of October. We then sow Witkiem outside with sowings once a month between January and April. Broad beans don't like to go into soil that has been disturbed too much. This year our broad beans were sown into the agroforestry strips where the celeriac was growing last year with no cultivation in between. The pictures below show the beans growing between the rows of apple trees and Jack busy harvesting.
Polytunnel crops are susceptible to blackfly. This year we pinched out the growing tips just as the lowest fruits were forming to help prevent this (it worked!) This method also allows the plants to put more energy into fruit production.
IMPORTANT: All GoCardless payments are taken in arrears: Payment is only taken when there is a debit on your account, if you don't place an order no payment is taken, unless there are arrears on your account from previous orders, which did not get processed before.
Please do not cancel your GoCardless Mandate before payment has been taken, payments are not taken until the week after orders have been delivered. Your account may show a zero balance but payment requests sit in a pending folder until funds are taken from your bank.
Celebrate the summer solstice at Shillingford Organics
Join us on Sunday 24th June to see the farm at the height of summer and to pick your own raspberries. For more information please click here
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