The Hunger Gap

Despite the arrival of Spring – with flowers blooming, longer evenings and some much awaited ‘warm’ weather – Britain is currently undergoing its annual ‘Hunger Gap’.

This is the time in which Organic vegetable production is least productive throughout the United Kingdom, as it is too cold for certain vegetables to grow outdoors – and aside from huge indoor lights and heating, there isn’t much organic farmers can do to avoid this! Whilst Perry Court and farms across the UK will be busy propagating plants for the coming weeks and month, our keen desire to keep out carbon foot print down, means  we’re going to have to wait a little long for those tasty tomatoes.

So whilst we’re just as keen as you to get our hands on spring onions, peppers, lettuces and the like, we want to maintain our promise that our produce gets to you with the lowest environmental impact as possible. Of course there are times when – to maintain variety in our boxes each week – we will need to import produce from abroad, we want to honour our commitment to you.

Our message to you today is lets’s get through the Hunger Gap together, and use the next month of the rooty, hardy veg in as many warming dishes as possible! 

Mind the Hungry Gap!

Is this more mumbo-jumbo following our wartime themed newsletter last week? Uhm no. We mean the Hunger Gap is nearly here.

In cultivation of vegetables in a British-type climate, the hungry gap is the gardeners’ name for the period in spring when there is little or no fresh produce is available to harvest. It usually starts when overwintered brassica vegetables such as sprouts, cauliflower and Jan King cabbages “bolt” (i.e. run up to flower) as the days get warmer and longer, and ends when the new season’s first broad beans are ready.

So Perry Court and other local producers are experiencing the usual reduction in harvest for this time of year as wintering crops recede and the array of wildlife can’t resist taking a share as resources dwindle. It just means more of what goes into our veg boxes will be coming from further afield, and going to the Continent more than we might usually do.

But on Perry Court farm-side there has been a fair amount of planting occurring since starting just over two weeks ago, and in the photos below you’re getting a view of the ‘summer’ crops to come. You can see the start of chards, kales and peppers, which have sprouted with good speed! A few other crops than can benefit from early planting have also been sown, and we all eagerly watch as nature wakes up.

So whilst we wait we’ll be writing about our (Spanish) chard which we written about for a long time. Here are some options:

For the rest of the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, UK
* Onions, Norfolk
* Carrots, Lancs
* Swiss Chard, Spain
* Celeriac, Lincs
Swedes, Lancs
Spring Greens, Lancs
White Mushrooms, Suffolk
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Confection Squash, Cambs

Fruit Supplement
Oranges, Spain (small)
Blood Oranges, Spain (standard)
Apples, Kent (standard)

 

Box Contents 15 May 2014

As we continue with the hungry gap, most of the box is from across the UK but less locally.

  • Valour Potato (Lincs)
  • Carrots (Scotland)
  • Onions (Netherlands)
  • Spring Greens
  • Celeriac (Lincs)
  • Courgettes (Spain)
  • Sorrel (Perry Court)
  • Spring Onions (Kent)
  • Apples – Falstaff
  • Oranges (Spain)

Not sure what to do with sorrel? It’s a lemony herb that works well with fish. Simply perfect since we just got a fish box at the same time as the box…more on fish boxes another time!

IMG_1880

 

Box Contents 8 May 2014

We’re still making our way through this box from last Thursday which comprises of:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Rainbow chard
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Oranges
  • Apples – Gala

It’s the hungry gap time when the winter crops have finished but the new season’s produce from the spring plantings is not yet ready. Most of the box is still from the UK, just not as local as might be ideal.