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Your Weekly Newsletter

Church Farm Friday 22nd June 2012

Gertie the Human Gosling! You may remember from previous newsletters that Rural Care have been incubating eggs in the chick shed. Recently, they had one solitary gosling who hatched at a different time to all of the others ducks and geese. Gertie has been joined in the past few days by lots of chicks, but she has spent so much time on her own and being looked after by people that she now thinks she’s one of us! Rural Care are taking her down to the field each day to try and get used to other geese, and they hope that she will be ready to move in with them by next week. Keep an eye out on our website for a video of Gertie the human gosling, coming soon.

Getting the Best from your Box It is starting to feel (intermittently) like summer, and the lovely green Batavia lettuce should inspire you to make fresh crispy salads. Batavia is a non-hearty lettuce with frilly leaves. Its crunchy, nutty-flavoured leaves grow upright to form a loose leaf head. Batavias have an excellent shelf life, maintaining their crispness from the time they’re harvested until the time they reach the dinner table. You should store your lettuce in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. Batavias are sometimes known as Endive and are characterised by large jagged leaves, the colours vary from a bright green through to red.   They are best served with spicy seasoning as a side salad, or tucked into a sandwich to give it crunch. You can also cook them in a similar way to kale – either stir-fry them or add the leaves to a cooked bean stew.

Metal Detecting at Church Farm Last week we gave special consent to a group of enthusiastic metal detectors to come and have a search on one of our fields. The event was organised by Joan Allen Electronics who have said that although their group didn’t find anything exciting, they all had a great day out and really enjoyed eating in the café and pub.

Fleece Update Just to let those of you who enquired about purchasing a fleece know, the weather has still not been good enough for our sheep shearer to come and do their work! We will let you know when the shearing goes ahead, fingers crossed for sun!

A Note from the Grower

Comfrey’s Little Sister In our salad mixes lately, whether bagged for the box scheme or shop, or served at the Church Farm café and Jolly Waggoner pub, you may have noticed some pretty white or blue star-shaped flowers. These are the flowers of borage, the smaller, annual sister of comfrey (the perennial we featured last week). Sometimes called starflower, this herb originated in North Africa, but has spread throughout much of the globe. It has been grown by people for kitchen use and as a medicine for many centuries, but nowadays it is sometimes cultivated commercially as an oilseed. As a vegetable the young leaves can be used in salads or cooked like spinach. The stems also may be cooked as a vegetable. The flowers too are edible and provide decoration for salads, desserts and for beverages such as the Pimms cup cocktail. Culinary use of borage is common throughout Europe, most notably in Germany, Aragon in Spain and in Liguria in Italy, where borage is used in the filling for ravioli. Medicinally, borage has traditionally been used in infusions to lift the spirits and to provoke courage, and modern clinical trials have confirmed that borage stimulates the production of adrenaline to help in dealing with stressful situations. Modern herbalists use it to treat colds, bronchitis and respiratory infections, and to alleviate symptoms of menopause. It is also indicated in the relief of eczema and other serious skin conditions. Borage is an excellent plant for attracting bees and other beneficial insects and is a good choice for a wildflower garden, though it self-seeds freely and can become a troublesome weed. Rik Image source:

What’s in my box next week?

MEAT (small boxes) Farm Variety Sausages, chicken quarter, beef roasting joint, pork mince, back bacon Lean Cuts (NEW FOR 2012) Skinny sausages, skinless chicken fillets, extra lean minced pork, supertrim beef stir fry strips Premium Selection Sausages, chicken quarter, back bacon

VEGETABLES Extra Small (6 varieties) Potato (cara), carrot, onion, ridge cucumber, cos lettuce, fennel Small (8 varieties) Cabbage, tomato Medium (10 varieties) Courgette, green pepper Large (12 varieties) Mangetout/broad beans, radish Extra Large (15 varieties) Chestnut mushroom, mixed herbs, aubergine


Apples (gala), kiwi, bananas, strawberries, rhubarb, mangos 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.

Rural Care Fundraising and Awareness Saturday’s fundraiser at the Jolly Waggoner went well, several of our co-farmers took part in traditional dancing and one helped to run the BBQ. Money was raised from this and a raffle and it was a good opportunity to socialise and relax outside of the usual Rural Care days. Thanks again to all those who helped arrange this event. This week is ‘Learning Disability Week’, which is run by Mencap. The aim of it is to campaign against disability hate crime. In a recent report, it was found that as many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability have been the victim of a hate crime or bullying. They might be seen as easy targets or valued less because of their disability. Many events have been set up across the country by Mencap to help raise awareness of this issue, including a ‘Be a hero, say no to hate crime’ sponsored walk in London. If you would like to find out more, please go to the Mencap website ( This week is also ‘Carers week’. Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign. During the week the UK’s six million unpaid carers are celebrated and recognised for the contribution they make to those they care for, and to their communities. Here at Rural Care, both the topic of disability hate crime and the amazing work that carers do are extremely important to us. While one is recognising the problems that people with learning disabilities can face, the other is celebrating the people that support and help them. We hope that this week is a huge success for both campaigns and that more people are made aware of both of these issues.

Events at the Jolly Waggoner Friday 22nd June - An “evening of game” 2 courses and a glass of wine for £21.50 Saturday 28th July - 1st Annual Beer Festival featuring at least 10 guest ales from noon onwards

Bacon & Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash

Method Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Cut squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Place face down in a pyrex dish with 1/2 inch of hot water and cook for 30mins. While this in the oven, cook the bacon in a pan until crispy, set aside and leave the bacon fat in the pan. Add 2 of the sliced onions and the celery to the pan, and then add the beef.

Real Ales: Real Food : Warm Welcome at the

Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste. Continue stirring until the beef is finished, remove from heat and place in a bowl.

Jolly Waggoner

Serves 2-4

Book a table today to avoid disappointment on 01438 861 350! Special Offers for Booked Tables: “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.

Ingredients 1 butternut squash, ~1kg 450g minced beef 6 slices of bacon 3 small onions, sliced 1 stalk celery, diced Salt Pepper 3 tbsp cinnamon 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Remove the squash from the oven, when it has cooled enough to handle, scrape out some of the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch of squash on the skin. Add the scraped squash to the bowl of meat, and add the bacon the bowl as well. Mix well and then stuff your squash skins with the beef mixture and place back in the hot oven for 20mins. While your squash are baking, put the last onion slices into a sauté pan and cook them over low heat with the balsamic vinegar to caramelize them. Remove squash from oven, top with caramelized onions and enjoy. Source:

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

22/06/12 Church Farm Weekly Newsletter  

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