We have been busy irrigating our drier land where thirsty crops have sucked out all the August rains, but you won’t find many farmers complaining; September was gloriously dry and sunny. By the time you read this, almost all our potatoes will be in store. It’s been a year that rewarded patience; early-planted crops never fully recovered from going into cold, wet seedbeds in March but those who waited for drier conditions have had much better crops. We’ve yet to do the final tally but it looks as if our spuds will see us through to May 2015; even the notoriously difficult pink fir apples and King Edwards have done well.
The main crop carrots also look like being a bumper harvest, but we are reluctant to start lifting while the ground is so dry; a little damp soil clinging to the roots eases their journey over the harvester and into the storage bins, thus reducing breakages. Once in store, carrots also keep better when surrounded by some of the soil they grew in, and should be in the boxes through to April. Most of the beets and parsnips have also done well, almost too well as it’s a touch early to start lifting; instead we’ve cut the tops to stop them growing too large.
For those who like an edgier veg, we have just started harvesting radicchio, one of my all-time favourite vegetables; partly for its beauty and partly for its bitter flavour. Heads will be in the boxes over the next two months. Small amounts bring another dimension of colour and flavour to salads but if you find it too much I recommend making radicchio risotto or pasta; recipes can be found on our website.