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Your Weekly Newsletter

Church Farm Friday 18h May 2012

A Note About Farm Box Eggs You may remember that a couple of weeks ago all of the Farm Boxes contained a free half dozen pullet eggs. If you read the information about those eggs, you’ll recall that they were small because we’ve switched to a new group of layers who are still maturing. These hens will quickly be able to match the production we’re used to, but for the moment, they’re still working their way up to that. For this reason, we’re currently unable to supply large and extra large eggs, and so anyone who is signed up to receive eggs will be getting medium ones only. We hope you don’t mind waiting for the chickens to mature a little more, it shouldn’t take long for them to start producing the larger eggs you’re used to.

Farm Experience Day

The last Saturday of the month is almost upon us once again and we are inviting all Farm Box members to come along for a Farm Experience Day. Come and lend a hand and see for yourselves where your produce comes from. All ages welcome and we’ll find tasks to suit the group and weather on the day. We meet outside the café at 10:30 for an 11.00 start, just ask for Laura or Sam.

Getting the Best from your Box ‘Cara’ potatoes are white with pink eyes, which is why they are considered to be a very distinctive variety. Cara is known for its soft, moist and waxy characteristics and is especially good for jacket potatoes and wedges. Unwashed, all potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, frost-free and dry place for up to 1 month, but not in the fridge. If your potatoes are washed keep them in a brown paper bag in the fridge for just one week, the bag helps to keep them out of the light and prevent them from turning green and sprouting.   If you aren’t peeling these potatoes before you use them make sure you give them a good wash and scrub before cooking.   Do you know how to get the best from your potatoes? We’ve found a great website called It’s got loads of information on every variety and growing tips as well as recipes. They list more than 30 varieties which are grown in this country alone!

Deals of the Week 20% off all frozen meat and 10% off pork! That’s two fantastic offers from our butchers, available now in the Church Farm Store.

A Note from the Grower

Sunflowers can play a spectacular role in a herbaceous border or vegetable plot. There are many varieties to choose from; aside from those with colossal heads atop 12 foot stems that are commonly grown, there are smaller cultivars offering more interesting range of colour. The sunflower is native to Central America. Its name derives from the huge sun-shaped blooms it bears. It was once said that the heads of sunflowers turn slowly to track the sun during passage of the day, but this is a misconception. However, the belief in this feature yielded the name given to the sunflower in some European languages, such as tournesol in French, or girasole in Italian. Sunflowers most commonly grow to about 5 -12 feet (1.5 - 4metres) in height, but some extraordinary examples of 26 feet (8 metres) have been recorded. The head of a sunflower is not a single bloom, but rather an inflorescence of hundreds of individual flowers. Apart from their obvious ornamental qualities, they are grown for their nutritious seeds, which can also be pressed to produce high quality culinary oil. Lesser known uses include tapping the sap to yield latex and using fibres from the stem to make paper, while the leaves make a good cattle fodder. The oil can be processed to make biodiesel, even after it has been used for cooking. To grow sunflowers, sow the seeds indoors in 3-inch pots in April, May or June. Alternatively sow directly in the position where they are to grow, once the risk of frost has passed, about 2 inches (5cm) deep, spaced according to the variety chosen. Sow or plant in fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Keep watered and in a fortnight or so, the seeds should germinate. Tall cultivars may need staking. Once the flowers have faded you can harvest the seeds by cutting the head, hanging in a dry place until fully ripened, and carefully rubbing the seeds out. These can be grown next year, or toasted for a tasty addition to salads and stir fries. A great plant for the children to grow and learn by. Rik

What’s in my box next week?

MEAT (small boxes) Farm Variety Sausages, pork roasting joint, diced beef, minced beef, back bacon Lean Cuts (NEW FOR 2012) Skinny sausages, skinless chicken fillets, extra lean minced beef, extra lean beef steaks Premium Selection Sausages, pork loin roasting joint, back bacon

VEGETABLES Extra Small (6 varieties) Potato (cara), carrot, red onion, pak choi, chestnut mushroom, beetroot Small (8 varieties) Herb bunch, fennel Medium (10 varieties) Courgette, tomato, salad/chard Large (12 varieties) Calabrese, red cabbage, mangetout Extra Large (15 varieties) Spring greens, turnip, aubergine


Lamb Feeding at Rural Care We are pleased to say that the ducklings that were successfully hatched by Rural Care are now ready to be moved into one of the bigger fields. They have grown rapidly in the last 2 weeks and will now have a larger area of the Walnut orchard to live in. Meanwhile more eggs are being incubated, so watch this space. Other on-going jobs for this time of the year are digging up thistles to feed to the pigs (yes they do like them!), lamb feeding, potting up herbs and strimming the grass, if it stays dry enough.

Three-Hour Shoulder of Lamb This one-pot roast is simplicity itself - cooking the shoulder slowly means the meat will melt away from the bone Serves 4

Ingredients 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 1 shoulder of lamb, boned and tied, approx 1.5kg/3lb 5oz 400g pearl onions or shallots 250ml lamb stock 100g fresh peas 100g fresh broad beans 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into quarters Juice 1 lemon Small handful mint or coriander, roughly chopped

Method 1. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Mix the garlic, oregano and olive oil with some salt and pepper. Slash the lamb all over and rub the mixture into the meat. Place into a deep casserole dish with the onions and pour over the stock, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook 3 hrs. 2. Remove the lamb from the pot, stir through the peas and broad beans. Sit the lamb back on top of the vegetables and return to the oven. Increase temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and roast, uncovered, for another 20-30 mins until the lamb is browned, adding the lettuce for the final 5 mins. Allow to rest for 20 mins, then add the lemon juice and mint to the cooking juices around the lamb. Remove the string, carve into thick slices and lay them back on top of the veg to make serving easier.

Apples (gala), mangos, pears, rhubarb, clementines, grapefruit

Events at the Jolly Waggoner

Please note that these are standard items and are subject to change. If you have asked not to be supplied with a particular item, a substitute will be provided in your box.

Saturday 16th June - Rural Care Fundraising Evening - live music and Ceilidh from 7.30pm, plus a BBQ of farm food to tuck in to. Wednesday 25 July - 1st Annual Beer Festival featuring at least 10 guest ales from noon onwards.

Real Ales: Real Food : Warm Welcome at the

Jolly Waggoner

Oven-Baked Red Pepper Risotto

An easy version of the Italian rice dish, with none of the stirring. The leftovers are great too.

Book a table today to avoid disappointment on 01438 861 350! Join us for the Jubilee Weekend Mid week fixed price lunch - 2 courses for £12, coming soon Special Offers: “Pimms & Pitchers” in celebration of Summer - free cheesy chips with every pitcher of Pimms, lager or bitter Celebrate your birthday with us and get a free bottle of wine for each table of 6 or more people.

Serves 4 Ingredients 1 tbsp oil 1 onion , chopped 300g risotto rice 100ml white wine (opt, or use more stock) 400g can chopped tomatoes 200g roasted peppers 500ml vegetable stock Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped Parmesan, to serve (optional)

Method 1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan, then fry the onion for a few mins until softened. Turn up the heat, tip in the rice, stir, then fry for 1 min more. Pour in the wine, if using, stirring until absorbed, then pour in the tomatoes, peppers and 400ml of the stock. Cover and bake in the oven for 25 mins until the rice is tender and creamy. 2. Stir in the remaining stock and parsley, season and scatter with Parmesan, if you like.

Church Farm, Ardeley, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 7AH, T: 01438 861 447 E:

18/05/12 Church Farm Weekly Newsletter  
18/05/12 Church Farm Weekly Newsletter  

Check out our weekly newsletters - published every Friday - which include information about the Farm, Café and Store and events and workshop...