Ready now and at their best are gooseberries, black and redcurrants, raspberries, shelling, sugarsnap and mangetout peas, broad beans and strawberries. You really will not get a better time to pick any of these fruits than this weekend with the exception of strawberries, which are getting a little lighter in crop - not helped by our white fly 'visitors' that have since moved onto the tomatoes! However, help it as hand with our biological friend Encarsia Formosa, who we buy as a pupae stuck to little cards. These are hung around the crop and hatch to go and forage our little pests...clever!
Crops ready- picked from the farm are also starting to flood in and, having beaten the rabbits this year, we are already picking our own runner beans! Also our own cucumbers, nicely curly and out of shape...great! Plus spring onions, lettuce, pak choi, herbs, carrots, beetroot, radish, tomatoes (just starting), courgettes in all colours and shapes, purple sprouting, early potatoes, salad rocket and lots more. This really is such a great time of year when yet again we get away from foreign imports and into shelves packed with the freshness of produce growing just hours before.
The farm kitchen is coming into it's own and a quick meeting and recipe storm with the chefs today will start to see a wonderful new array of sweets using all those beautiful fruits and salads that are so so crisp and full of flavour.
We really have had huge crowds out to pick this year which has been a great pleasure to see, with so many children running around. Remember that now really is the best time to forage all those fruits for jam and freezing down for the winter.