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Put pumpkin on your plate, not the bin!

Every year the UK wastes around 18,000 tons of perfectly edible pumpkin flesh and seeds as the nation carves away to make spooky Halloween lanterns.

Like squash, pumpkin is sweet and warming and can be delicious if cooked in the right recipes. Here are a few veg-centric recipes to help turn your pumpkin waste into a tasty meal or treat.

For all of the below you can substitute pumpkin for squash if you need a little inspiration to use up your Squash Box.


Pumpkin Madeleines with Pumpkin Custard & Cinnamon Meringue
Unusual and slightly long winded but totally worth it. The meringue isn’t necessary but adds an impressive finish. All the elements can be made individually if you don’t want to tackle the whole recipe.
See recipe

 


Pumpkin Fritters with Romesco
These fritters are simple to prepare and the romesco is a delicious accompaniment, but can be substituted for a simple mayonnaise mixed with paprika and garlic. We like the romesco with a mix of nuts rather than using just almonds. Cashews add a creamy taste to the sauce.
See recipe

 


Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dukka, Sumac Red Onions, Wootton White, Pistachio & Pomegranate
This dish has a Middle Eastern feel to it and is a good way to use up pumpkin flesh and seeds. Wootton White is an English Greek style sheep’s cheese and can be substituted with feta.
See recipe

 


Thai Pumpkin Curry
Squash and pumpkin work well in a Thai curry as the coconut milk complements the sweetness of the veg and lemony flavours add a fresh flavour. Make sure you bruise the lemongrass by bashing it with a rolling pin to release the aromatic flavour. If you don’t fancy making the paste, you can buy it ready made.
See recipe

The spirit of food, fun and togetherness at Abergavenny Food Festival.

Last week we packed up the Riverford Yurt, our Human Veg Machine and more and made our way to the small Welsh town of Abergavenny to what can only be described as the Glastonbury of all food festivals.

We set up camp in the gorgeous Linda Vista Gardens and spent the weekend inspiring people of all ages to Live Life on the Veg with us.

The yurt was home to Master Veg cooking classes where Ben showed attendees how to turn a brimming box of veg into an inspirational organic feast.

Our I Can Eat a Rainbow classes were a big hit with the little ones, where they made beautiful fruit and veg rainbows (and ate lots of “carrot rain” and fennel slices in the process!)

Close by at the demo area Head Chef at The Duke of Cambridge, Peter, wowed the crowds with his ‘cooking veg over fire’ show. Festival-goers watched on as Peter made charred lettuce and cucumber, ash cooked beetroot with charred orange, and queued in large numbers after to try his veg creations.

It was a full house for Guy’s appearance at the Great Farmyard Debate where he sat with Professor Tim Lang, John Davies from NFU Cymru and farmer Kate Beavan for an informal yet intellectual discussion on what agriculture may look like post-Brexit.

It’s safe to say however that the hit of the weekend was our Human Veg Machine. We made a lot of noise with whistles, the giant carrot bell and horns and played match the veg with hundreds of contestants eager to win Riverford prizes. We thought we were in a spot of trouble and making too much noise when we saw three police women approaching, but they just couldn’t resist a go either!

Yet again our weekend at Abergavenny was inspiring, fun and totally exhausting. The energy when a group of fantastic British producers, food journalists and food lovers come together in a beautiful location is infectious. We’re already looking forward to the next! Thanks to all who came and visited us during the weekend.

Diary of an IT intern

This summer, we were joined at the farm by Maddie – our first IT intern, from Bristol University. In her last week, she wrote about her experiences with us…

Almost as soon as I left home for university I became a Riverford customer. I was delighted by their ethical stance and their product. Eva Wiseman, a columnist at the Guardian, said receiving her veg box made her ‘feel a bit loved’ and I felt the same about my weekly veg delivery. So naturally, I was thrilled to spend the summer working as a software developer at Riverford.

After two years of a Computer Science degree I felt comfortable programming; however, while at Riverford I was regularly presented with challenges I’d never faced. In contrast to the paltry applications I’d tinkered with at university, I needed to read through pages of code, belonging to past iterations of the website, to fix a bug or add a new feature. Coping with the complexity of large code bases is a common hurdle for amateur software engineers and one I’d anticipated. However, the technological innovation at Riverford surpassed my expectations. I had a crash course in Clojure, a powerful functional programming language with alien syntax, and React.js, a fashionable Javascript library written by Facebook.

The projects I worked on were just as novel. One of which was automatically generating recommendations for the website. This involved strategically weighting statistics for popularity, seasonality and similarity to produce sensible product recommendations. I hope this feature offers a source of inspiration to customers whilst alleviating the burden for those tasked with curating these recommendations manually.

I am very grateful for my time at Riverford. I had the opportunity to work alongside exceptionally skilled developers who are passionate about their craft. What’s more, I leave this week with the same admiration for Riverford’s business ethic that I arrived with. It has been a pleasure to work with highly motivated people to further the prospects of a business with a proven commitment to the planet and its people.

Thank you, Maddie! It’s been wonderful having you with us!

25 years of Guy’s news

We have a new Riverford book in the pipeline for next year, and we need your help.

We’re asking customers of more than 10 years to tell us about their favourite newsletter – the older the better. Is there a story, opinion or rant which is particularly memorable? Email the title, date (if you know it) and your reason to emilymuddeman@riverford.co.uk.

Unlike today’s digital age, records were scarce in the early days. If you have any physical copies of our newsletters from 1993 to 2000, we’d love to see them.

Please photograph or scan to to emilymuddeman@riverford.co.uk , or pop in the post to:

Emily Muddeman
Riverford Organic Farmers
Wash Barn
Buckfastleigh
TQ11 0JU

You could get a mention in our next book!

Happy 10th Birthday, Home Farm!

This summer marks ten years since Riverford first arrived at its home in the north, Home Farm. Since then, so much has changed – and we couldn’t have done any of it without our customers’ support. Thank you, everyone, for being part of the family!

Our new beers and ciders and their stories.

We’ve introduced four new beers and ciders to our drink offering, carefully selected for flavour from independent breweries. As with most of the small-scale producers we work with, they have interesting stories to tell. Here’s a little about what makes each brewery and beverage special.

The first addition is from Barnaby’s Brewery, made quite literally a stone’s throw away from us at the Riverford dairy farm in the old stable block. Their Pilsner lager is made with fresh spring water from the farm, which allows its delicate malt flavour shine through; you’ll struggle to find another brewery using spring water from an organic farm!

Team Barnaby and Tim set up the business after brewing as a hobby for years. What really helped Barnaby take the plunge was realising that with three teenage sons quickly growing up, his household was soon going to get through a lot of beer!

Tim’s engineering experience has allowed them to build their bespoke brewhouse using innovatively adapted reclaimed equipment.

What’s really impressive about Barnaby’s Brewhouse is their integrity in their efforts to make sure every by-product is put to use. Their spent grain is fed to the Riverford dairy herd; waste water is filtered in hand-built reed beds then fed back onto the land; the yeast slurry is either harvested and used for future brews or fed to pigs and the used hops are composted. On top of that the business is moving towards becoming completely sustainable business and already uses renewable energy from solar panels on the farm.

Ultimately, this is a lager you can really feel good about drinking.

Next up is Black Isle Brewery in the Scottish Highlands, the only organic brewery in Scotland. Based on a working farm, they grow their own barley for brewing and breed Hebridean sheep who feed off the spent grain.

Their Goldeneye pale ale has a beautiful golden colour, with a fruity aroma and rich, robust malt and marmalade flavour. We recommend it with anything spicy, smoked or BBQ’d.

David Gladwin was one of the very first craft brewers in Scotland when he started Black Isle in 1998. He saw a gap in the market for modern, fresh styles of beer to oppose the mass produced, pasteurised and ‘bland’ offerings in Scotland.

Organic is important to Black Isle; it costs three times as much for organic hops as it does for non-organic materials, but like us they are committed to organic and producing the best quality beer while looking after their beautiful Highland environment. They are also members of WWOOF (Working Worldwide On Organic Farms) if you fancy volunteering on the farm!

Our third addition is Blonde lager by Hepworth Brewery, Sussex. Clear golden in colour, the flavour is smooth, crisp and refreshing, with some lovely floral notes from the organic hops.

It’s naturally gluten free, too! This is achieved by using the best brewing practices at every stage: from choosing Sussex barley that is low in protein, to traditional floor malting and boiling the worts (the liquid extracted from the mashing process during brewing) at higher temperatures in the British-style brewhouse. Slow, cold maturation allows the beer to stabilise and the gluten to drop out, before filtering and bottling.

Lastly is a new addition from the Samuel Smith’s brewery, Perry, a sparkling pear cider.

Samuel Smith’s is brewed at the literally named Old Brewery, Tadcaster, is the oldest brewery in Yorkshire. Since 1758, ales and stouts have been brewed here using the highly mineralised water drawn from an aquifer, 85 feet below ground.

Perry has a delicate pale straw colour, smooth body, and lovely flavour – crisp yet rich, and bursting with fragrant summer pears.

All four drinks have been made by real people who really love what they do, and with a commitment to organic. As with everything we grow and sell, flavour is at the top of our list when choosing new products from small scale producers and these all get top marks. Cheers to that!

Recipe boxes by Riverford restaurant chefs

For two weeks from Monday 26th June, our Vegetarian recipe box will be taken over by James Dodd and Peter Weeden, the kings of the kitchen at our two award-winning organic restaurants.

Nestled the middle of our Devon farm is The Riverford Field Kitchen, lead by head chef and serious veg nerd James. He even has a tattoo of all his favourite vegetables! James’s cooking is a joyful celebration of what’s fresh on the farm, with a global influence from his round the world travels. Expect colour, creativity, and bags of flavour.

Eating at The Riverford Field Kitchen is a unique experience – not just in terms of the food, but also how it’s eaten. We believe that good food tastes better shared, so the whole restaurant is served together at communal tables, with generous platters to pass around and share. There’s always lots of dishes to dig into; James and his team magic up unforgettable seasonal feasts, showcasing the bounty from the fields around.

Far from the rolling Devon hills, in the heart of urban Islington, is Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge: Britain’s first and only certified organic pub. It’s here that head chef Peter gets to work, delivering pub grub like you’ve never seen it before.

Peter believes in ‘good, clean and fair’ food, sourcing organic ingredients with impeccable provenance, and cooking simple, rustic dishes which let their natural flavours shine. Seasonal veg is the star of every plate, of course – much of it from our own farm. He is also passionate about underutilised fish, and works with colleges to promote sustainable seafood.

Peter and James have created these limited edition vegetarian recipes to give you a taste of our restaurants’ inspiring organic food at your own table. Each chef’s recipes will be available for one week only, starting with James from Monday 26th June – so try them while you can.

Visit our recipe box page to order a Vegetarian recipe box with recipes by Riverford restaurant chefs, delivered Monday 26th June – Friday 7th July.

 

Riverford Growers Day – putting names to faces (or fruit and veg!)

Last week, over 80 organic growers and producers descended on the Devon farm. People came from all over the world, including all our Spanish growers – such as Pepe who grows our first spring asparagus, and Paco who supplies tomatoes and ramiro peppers outside the UK season.

Our overseas farmers brought the beautiful sunshine with them; just right for food and chat outside The Riverford Field Kitchen, a farm tour, and some interesting talks in the Riverford Yurt.

Choosing who we work with carefully is very important to us. We’re lucky enough to have a fantastic network of growers who share our passion for growing flavoursome organic food, with utmost respect for the environment.

These relationships are especially important to us when working with growers overseas, because organic standards aren’t always as strict as they are in the UK. Working with farmers we know and trust means we can provide our customers with the assurance that their food has always been grown with integrity, and is fully traceable from field to plate.

Here are a few snaps from the day.

Another visit from The Happy Pear


Last time we teamed up with Irish chef duo The Happy Pear, their joyful, nourishing cookery went down a storm with our recipe box customers. Now we’re thrilled to be working with the boys again for some new limited edition vegetarian recipe boxes, delivered from 8th May.

The Happy Pear, identical twins David and Stephen Flynn, are chefs who run a natural food shop, wholefood café and restaurant, superfood sprout farm and online shop, as well as giving health education talks – all to ‘inspire a healthier, happier world’. A quick look at their cookbooks (both bestsellers in Ireland) shows their infectious passion for vibrant, veg-packed cooking is a brilliant match with our own approach to food.

A bit more background on dynamic duo: after studying business at university, David and Stephen travelled the world, tasting many local dishes and unusual ingredients along the way. When they returned to Ireland, their aims were to start a food revolution by making fruit and veg exciting, to get involved with their community, and to drag as many people along for the ride as possible.
Today, The Happy Pear is a community itself, all about making natural, nutritious food mainstream, and creating really good products that make it easier for people to be healthier and happier. They have a huge following on social media; every week they release videos on their YouTube channel, and they’re also part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, the largest foodie community in Europe.

David and Stephen live with their families in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. They really ‘walk their talk’ by eating a wholefood and plant-based diet, practicing yoga, swimming in the sea, keeping bees, and smiling every day.

When the boys came to see us on the farm in Devon, they were a pleasure to have along – just as full of energy and warm enthusiasm in person as they are in their videos. Riverford founder Guy Watson gave them a tour, where they harvested leeks and tasted their way through the green leaves in our polytunnels, before heading to our development kitchen for a bit of cooking and a photoshoot. Here’s what they had to say:

“We’re delighted to be working with Riverford; their food culture and the way they work so close to the land and the people who farm it is inspirational. One of our missions is to get people to eat more veg, and this is very much central to what Riverford do, so it’s a beautiful marriage of goals. Our recipes plus Riverford veg – what could be better?”

We couldn’t agree more.

Limited edition Happy Pear recipe boxes, with everything you need to make three colourful, flavour-packed vegetarian meals for two people. Pre-order now for deliveries from 8th May.

WastED pop-up restaurant – Riverford meets New York

Last year we received a very exciting email asking if we’d like to be involved with a pop-up restaurant at Selfridges. It would be hosted by the illustrious Blue Hill Farm Restaurant, based in New York. Dan Barber, the head chef at Blue Hill, is something of an inspiration to our cooks at Riverford. Their ethos is similar to our own, with a focus on sustainable and local food from producers who respect artisanal techniques. The most exciting bit? The menu would use produce that would normally be considered waste; we’re not talking wonky veg, but by-products of the food industry that are never used.

After a little brainstorming, it was decided that Riverford would provide whole kale trees (the stalks with a few leaves on that are left at the end of the season), cabbage re-growth (leaves that re-appear once the cabbage has been harvested), and very undersized cabbages (ones that are too small to pick).


The pop-up opened its doors on Selfridges’ rooftop terrace on February 24th. Immediate feedback from the chefs told us the kale trees were going down a storm and were a visual sensation. They serve them whole on a spike on a wooden board, alongside scissors to cut the leaves yourself and a creamy, smoky dip.

A couple of us were lucky enough to go along. We entered through a dark corridor with black and white food and farming videos playing, and Jonny Cash’s Walk the Line on the playlist. Immediately, it was clear that the waste theme went further than just the food: there were lampshades made from dried mushrooms, tables from compressed artichoke fibres, and menus on recycled paper.

Each dish was presented to us with a story: how it’s made and where the produce comes from. Everything we ate and drank was innovative, wonderfully delicious and so inspiring. In a world where we waste a huge amount and many go without, projects like this are a fantastic way to fuel the food waste movement and keep the conversation alive.

To find out more, visited the WastED London website.