We’ve had a glorious October with lots of sunshine, greedily absorbed by our crops, but we know that summer is truly over with the last of our super popular sweetcorn going out in the shares this month. We have welcomed the pumpkins and squashes, and kale is here to stay for the next few months. Try putting both together in a soup with some curry spices to warm you up on a cold evening (or pack some into a flask for a comforting lunch). If the flavour is not reward enough: you’ll also be giving your immune system a boost - with squash being one of the richest sources of vitamin A - and calcium-rich kale will strengthen your bones.
Our polytunnel has done a great job protecting the tomatoes from cold night temperatures all the way through October, but it looks like we’ll be saying goodbye to them now. There will be plenty of green tomatoes up for grabs, so members - look out for that! Winter salad and leaf crops have added colour and flourish to the veg bags, with rainbow chard our particular favourite; a welcome splash of vibrant colour when mother nature is slowly reducing her colour palette to reds, browns and yellows.
A peculiar tuber made its way into the shares this month, aptly described by Nigel Slater as having ‘a curious flavour poised between globe artichoke and potato’. I know you can’t stand the tension any longer, so I won’t keep you guessing…. It’s Jerusalem artichoke. These are very versatile; they can be roasted, pureed, fried, thinly sliced and eaten raw; don’t be afraid to give them a try!
We are not just about vegetables, we could not function without our wonderful volunteers, who this month helped us move the compostable toilet from the old site at Dippenhall. Yay for creature comforts! It still needs to be erected, if you would like to lend a hand. Check out how to get involved with volunteering at the farm here.
Apart from our amazing volunteers in the field we could not exist without our hard-working board members. During the Annual General Meeting, which took place this month, we’ve had a change of guard with some leaving us – followed with our heartfelt thank yous – and with new members stepping up.
We are proud to say that our produce has been used this month with great flourish, and to mouth-watering effect, by chef Daniel Britten. He created a menu for a farm-to-table supper club event hosted by A Table Outside with The Inspiration Space, in the newly converted largest barn of Christmas Pie Barns, situated next to our farm. Guests enjoyed a starter of crispy Pentland Brig kale with cauliflower cream, honey and miso. For main; roasted celeriac, served with a malt glaze, burnt onion and smoked beetroot ketchup. Dessert was apple and almond cake, served with toasted creme anglaise.
Our produce was also featured in decorating the barn. The piles of pumpkins and handfuls of autumnal flowers highlighted the rustic feel of the space, with one-of-a-kind irregular woodwork and bespoke lighting designed by Sarah, owner of Christmas Pie Barns. The beautiful converted 16th-century hops barn is now available for use for private functions. Visit https://www.christmaspiebarns.co.uk to contact Sarah for further details and pricing.
Looking into the future, Orchard Farm Animal Sanctuary is organising a Christmas wreath making event on Sunday 2nd of December, with proceeds going to support the upkeep of the animals. Orchard Farm will also be hosting a Christmas Fayre and Santa’s Grotto on Sunday 9th December. If you are interested in either of these events please contact Anita via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Facebook page. Let her know you heard about it via FCF.
Thank you to FCF volunteer Joanna McCaffrey for writing our monthly news from the farm.