On Friday we had our first fruit n veg box delivery. All the produce in these boxes is organic, fresh, in season, and local where able. Our delivery was waiting for us on our doorstep when we got up. I think that’s excellent service. (We’d told them we live on a farm so the doorstep would be perfectly safe if we were out. It was nice of them not to wake us.)
In the fruit box we had bananas, kiwi fruit, a pineapple, oranges and apples. So far we’ve managed a banana each and 2 apples. It’s all slightly under-ripe, so none of it will go off before we have chance to use it. (Apart from the apples, which are British and therefore out of storage.)
In the veg box we had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, savoy cabbage, chard, avocados and portabello mushrooms. We’re saving the roots, tubers and avocados, as they’ll keep. But we used the chard in a quiche at the weekend and in a stir-fry. Quite a few of our Facebook friends helped out with suggestions for the chard. Some of the cabbage went into the stir-fry too, as well as 2 of the mushrooms.
On the whole we were very impressed with both the contents and the service, and when we worked out how much the produce would have cost us in the supermarket, when you also take delivery into consideration (and lack of food miles, etc), we think we were actually quids in. Our next boxes come a week on Friday.
Saturday was a busy day for us. We headed down to Birmingham fairly early on because the poet had to be back for the band’s first gig of the year in Doncaster. And he had to be there for 6:30pm. So we did a couple of things for Mom and Dad, headed back, had a quick tea, and off he went. I followed 90 minutes later on the train. After setting up, he came to collect me from the station at the other end. It was a private party so there was food on – pie, chips and mushy peas! Very working-men’s-club. I was very disappointed that the cake wasn’t cut – and there were 2 birthday cakes so they could have spared a slice. But it was a nice gig, and we picked my car up from the station on our way past.
Sunday morning we were up very early … well, “very early” for us on a Sunday morning following a 2am finish the night before. Wentworth Garden Centre was hosting its regular monthly farmers’ market and we wanted to subsidise the fruit and veg boxes with meat and cheese, etc. This particular market is there the second Sunday of every month. I’ve been before, a few times, and I know if you don’t get there early they run out of stuff.
It was the poet’s first visit and we went armed with a single shopping bag. We got there for 10:30am and already a lot of the samples were all gone. There were about a dozen stands – honey, eggs, cheese, meat, water buffalo, venison, fish, chocolate, bread, cake, jewellery, soap. Some of them had travelled from as far away as Halifax and Harrogate; others had only come from Barnsley.
I was pleased to see the chocolatier still vending there. Melanie’s is a family run business from Cudworth in Barnsley. I’ve chatted to the owner, to her husband, and to one of their fathers before now, and they always have something interesting to say, such as chocolate shouldn’t be kept in the fridge as it loses its sheen. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the bulk of the stock was chocolate hearts with messages iced onto them. But we were happy with a slab of dark chocolate for him and a slab of white chocolate for me – I usually get chocolate buttons so the slab will make a nice change.
Another former favourite of mine is the water buffalo. Buffalo is lower in fat than beef and, to me, tastier than ostrich but not as rich as venison. They had steaks and sausages for sale and various burgers, but we plumped for regular bison burgers. From the regular meat stall we bought a Barnsley chop for him (it’s a double-sided chop) and a lamb chop for me. We also bought chicken fillets, one of which went into yesterday’s stir-fry with the chard, mushrooms and cabbage.
Recently we watched Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on telly, and we learned about pullet eggs. These are the first eggs a new laying chicken lays, and they’re often wasted or shipped to make powdered egg because they’re smaller than the medium and large eggs favoured by supermarkets. “They won’t have any here,” said the poet. “Oh yes we will,” replied one of the farmers. And, sure enough, they had loads. So we bought a half-dozen for the grand total of 50p!
We bought freshly baked sliced bread and a giant Swiss roll cake, rapeseed cooking oil with garlic (as rapeseed is grown prolifically by British farmers), and a concentrated hoisin sauce – the latter, again, for our stir-fry. We also bought cheese – from Coverdale and from Wensleydale. Good old Yorkshire produce.
When our shopping bag was full, we headed back to the car. We will probably return, but we think there may be other farmers’ markets on our own side of the M1 that we’d also like to try. It was less than 20 minutes drive away, though, so no reason why we shouldn’t go back.
It was nice to have a stroll around the stalls on a frosty, sunny morning. The fresh air did us so much good that when we got home we took the dog for a quick walk around Wormy’s Lake to see what the fishing might be like yet. (It isn’t, it’s still frozen.) And when we got home we baked 2 quiches (mushroom and chard, and quiche lorraine).
This week, then, it’s more or less back to normal, apart from a dental appointment for the poet this afternoon. I have a book to edit and 2 books to check author revisions against. But I also have a novel to start copy-typing – and a backup to do every Friday! Today I’m typing a draft of a short story too, so I’m still busy.
How was your weekend?