Archive for September 2011:

Tuesday, September 06 2011 (Posted by Kerry)

Things we're doing in September

Looking forward to doing the market this weekend (Sat 10th) - autumn is always such a great time for produce and if it could just, (please) stay sunny and not rain, particularly not rain, on Saturday when the market is on, that would be great. Chris and Iain from Stocks Farm are meant to have their new apple juice there this Saturday- the apple harvesting is really taking off now - so it should be a mixture of Discovery and Worcester. Might be nice to organise some tastings.. We will have a lot more apple stuff on Apple Day at the market which this year will be on Saturday 15th October - think I might go for a Bee theme this year..A to Bee - mmm - need to work on that a bit.  That's Chris in the picture looking at his apples in a gloating sort of way...

We're just sorting out some leafleting to let people in Dalston and London Fields know about our new community pick-ups for the box scheme which are starting up at Passing Clouds in Dalston and the Happy Kitchen in London Fields this month. The Happy Kitchen have previously bought Growing Communities' salad so it's really nice that we're going to have even more of a link soon.

Also on the things-to-do list is getting everything set up for the Growing Communities Open Day on Sunday 18th September - when all the main sites will be open for visitors from 10 in the morning till 5pm. The Allens Garden site's Eco-building is also open as part of the Open House weekend and Sara, Pip and the apprentices will be on hand to answer questions about organic growing and the rest of our work. The growers and volunteers have been working away to make the new beds at the front of the Clissold site look good and fortunately there are still lots of salad leaves in the main beds. I need to work out a way of getting Maisie the milk-float to Clissold on the day and really need to repair her eyelashes - one of them has dropped off - giving her an even more louche appearance than usual...  Last year we had a lot of people visiting the sites - some of whom were box scheme members and lots of people who come to the farmers' market but had never seen our growing sites before. Have just found out that Hackney Council are re-organising the Carnival procession that got cancelled in the wake of the riots, for that Sunday  - sadly the procession won't make it as far as Clissold Park as they are ending on Stoke Newington Church Street but hope some of the revellers will drop by afterwards to have a look at our salad leaves growing...

Monday, September 12 2011 (Posted by Kerry)

News from the farms

Primo e Ultimo at marketWell - Chris and Iain from Stocks didn't have their new juice from this year's harvest - because they've just been too busy harvesting to get juicing! For the same reason, Iain hadn't been able to make his usual black pudding and white puddings or smoked sausages - there were a couple of disappointed faces in the meat queue but hopefully they were cheered up by seeing all the lovely Worcesters, Coxes and Red Devils.  We've got nearly all the stalls back at the market now - Hatice who makes her borek from ingredients at the market will be back next Saturday. Johannes who runs Primo e Ultimo was back at the market selling his ice-cream and home-made pasta - despite having his van with all his equipment in stolen a couple of weeks ago from outside his flat.

Slightly more depressing news from Ripple Farm in Kent who not only come to the farmers' market every week but also supply our box scheme - this years strangely cold August has meant that the squash crop has failed to ripen.  This is a real blow for Martin as he always has a great range of squash - which last through till late January/February and provide a much needed splash of colour at the market - not to mention vital income for the farm. It's also disappointing for the rest of us as we'll miss out on roasted squash, squash soup etc. Martin says we shouldn't give up completely as its possible that some of the squash will ripen up if there's a bit of sun and warmth in September, so fingers crossed for a sunny September but we do need to prepare ourselves for an Extreme Lack of Squash.

Tuesday, September 20 2011 (Posted by Kerry)

The power of bunting

Allens Gardens site Growing Communities' Open Day on Sunday - all three market gardens were open and looking beautiful and highly productive. The sun shone despite the previous evening's forecast of heavy rain all day which had created a slight feeling of gloom for those of us who were due to work! Visitors included joggers at Clissold - who ran in and round the polytunnel, box scheme members keen to see where their salad bags came from, farmers' market customers, people who came to see our eco-classroom at Allens Gardens as part of the Open House weekend and lots and lots of people passing by who wanted to find out more about urban organic growing.  It was really nice to have our Urban Apprentices on site - Shelagh and Jack at Springfield and Jo at Clissold as well as actual Patchwork farmers, Ximena at Clissold and Sophie at Allens who could tell people about the reality of running a micro-site.  Apart from the key role played by all the growers, including Sara and Pip obviously, it's possible the real star of the day was the yards and yards of green and white bunting which was drapped all over the Clissold site and virtually developed its own fan base...I know there should be a picture of the bunting but I didn't take one, (too in awe??) so here's a lovely picture of Allens Gardens instead with our eco building and its green roof tucked away at the end of the site.

Tuesday, September 27 2011 (Posted by Kerry)

Lovely new salads

Kate's Feast salad stallA lovely sunny day at the market on Saturday - and lots of even more lovely produce, (over-use of the word lovely? almost definitely..) but a bit of a highlight was Kate Hopkin's salad stall. Kate started at the market in April with her home-made salads which are ready to eat. Kate uses vegetables and sometimes fruit from the market to make a range of delicious salads.  The salads change with the seasons and reflect the produce on sale from the farmers' stalls around her.  Personal favourites include her beetroot and pumpkin seed salad and on Saturday she produced a new turnip salad based on her home-made turnip pickle using turnips from Sarah Green's farm in Essex.  Turnips are not one of my favourite vegetables but Kate's Parsley and Pink Pickled Turnip salad was a bit of a revelation..like a pink and less spicy version of Korean kimchi.  This week in the veg bag we have turnips and Kate has very generously given us her recipe to share with the box scheme members via the newsletter and on-line here

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