The boys from Brighton Bier are making their firm stamp on local brewing – having extended their production from a 4-bbl kit gypsy brewing to their (literally) shiny new premises in Kemp Town where they are producing 7,500 litres of beer per week. There is a thirst for local brews in the city and their aim is to produce a unique beer with a distinctive personality without losing sight of the roots of British ale.
This has to be our favourite harvest – when the Nutbourne tomatoes come through and tomatoes are the precursor to all the gorgeous Spring veg.
The Nutbourne tomatoes are really special and we think they are possibly the best tomatoes in Britain… They taste so very, very good and are also grown pesticide free, preferring biological pest control. Bees are used to pollinate the tomatoes and blight is avoided by the mammoth winter task of completely stripping and scrubbing out the glasshouses every winter to ensure no mould builds up in the cold months. This means the crops are generally consistently fabulous quality through careful management rather than resorting to chemical treatments.
Gary and Jenny have been growing tomatoes at Nutbourne since 1978. Every year they introduce some new varieties and usually grow around 30 different tomatoes – diversely different in taste, size, colour and acidity.
This year’s tomatoes
Piccolo Super Sweet Small Cherry Vine – One of our bestsellers. Very sweet and delicious in any way you use. a tiny cherry tomato.
Golden Piccolo Cherry Vine**NEW** – A small golden baby tomato. More perfumed than the red but thinner skinned. Slice with the red for an incredible mixed salad.
Sunstream Baby Plum Vine – a small lozenge plum tomato. Subtle flavoured but very sweet.
Coeur de Pigeon Baby Plum Vine – Another bestseller as this is small, sweet and perfect for snacking and salads. Delicious for bruschetta.
Coeur de Pigeon
Cherry and Smaller Tomatoes
Mini San Manzano Vine – A sweet cherry tomato with a lozenge shape and intense flavour.
Cherry Vine – Another small sweet tomato – a little bigger than the Piccolo but still small and juicy.
Orange Cherry Vine – Bigger than a baby tomato. A pretty golden orange cherry tomato which looks delightful in a salad.
Campari Cocktail Vine – Another bestseller. A small cherry tomato with an intensely sweet flavour and delicious juiciness.
Golden Sun Cocktail Vine – a sweet and delicate cherry tomato. Perfect sliced with red tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil to contrast perfume and texture.
Silky Pink Cocktail Vine**NEW** – A new delicately flavoured, thin skinned juicy tomato. Perfect for snacking or adding to other coloured tomatoes for variety.
Tiger Cocktail Vine – A slightly spicier flavour than regular tomatoes with a firmer skin. These are amazing roasted or sauteed with butter.
Tiger Cocktail Vine
Silky Pink Cocktail Vine
Plum Tomatoes – Large and Midi
Large Plum Vine – The classic plum tomato. Sweet flavour and juice flesh. Perfect for Salads or cooking.
Midi Pumpkin Plum Vine **NEW** – Super sweet midi plum tomato. Bigger than a cherry tomato. Stands up on its own so good for mini-stuffed tomatoes.
Midi Orange Plum Vine – bigger than a cherry but smaller than a regular tomato. A more delicate skin, flesh and perfume.
Midi San Manzano Vine – Super sweet lozenge shaped tomato. A classic Italian flavour.
Large San Manzano Vine – A larger sweet plum tomato but usually slightly smaller than the classic plum. Another Italian classic with a firm skin.
Orange Plum Vine
Large San Manzano
Midi Pumpkin Plum
Marmande – Medium to large beef tomato weighing each poss 160-180g. Soft skinned and very sweet with a good acidity. Grows with ribs and an irregular ‘cushion’ shape. Great for salads and cooking as it’s not particularly ‘seedy’. Has been described as the ‘taste of Provence’.
Cocoa Small Beef – A firmier skin and stronger acidity than regular red tomatoes. This is a small beef variety and is great for roasting.
Mediterranean Beef – A green tomato with pink flesh. A fine acidity and relatively sweet.
Coeur de Boeuf – A ribbed, firm beef tomato. One of the original varieties of beefsteak tomatoes to become popular in Britain for its classic sweet flavour.
Midi Coeur de Boeuf Vine – A smaller Coeur de Boeuf. Firm and aromatic and slightly sweeter than the larger variety.
Red Tiger Vine – Both tart and sweet. With a firm skin and juicy flesh this is a small beef tomato.
Lemon Tiger Vine – Another small beef tomato. Firm skinned and tangy. Great roasted.
Cocoa Tiger Vine**NEW**– A small beef tomato – firm skinned with juicy. Another fabulous tomato pan fried or roasted.
Coeur de Boeuf
Classic Round Vine Tomatoes
Classic Vine – classic red skin and firm flesh – lovely for salads and sandwiches.
Orange Classic Vine – Softer skin and juicier than the red. Great for salads.
Pink Classic Vine – Softer skin than a red and slightly more acidic. Perfect for cheeses.
Golden Classic Vine**NEW** – Firm skin and sweet flavour.
Cocoa Classic Vine – Earthier flavour than red tomatoes and firmer skin. Delicious pan fried or roasted.
Wild garlic is prolific at this time of year, if you know what you are looking for and have time to don your wellies and head out into the countryside for the few weeks it is around.
The first bit is the easy bit – it’s easy to find as you can smell the gentle whiff of garlic in the air – but if time is not your friend, then heading out to shady woods before everyone else has got there first, might not work for you.
Our garlic is foraged on the private Morghew estate by the owners, so there is no risk to the environment by stripping the woodland. Morghew Estate is set in the most stunning woodland and arable land (where our potatoes are grown, by the way) and is managed sensitively and responsibly.
Where is Pevensey and what is so special about Pevensey Lamb?
If you find yourself with a lazy Sunday afternoon then think about heading over to Pevensey Plains…miles of beautiful marshland and more country pubs than you could ever eat roast dinners.
Pevensey is an area of lowland between Hastings and Eastbourne which has been shaped over time by the changing relationship between land and sea. Originally it was a lagoon where high tides would seep through but eventually with coastal changes, by Roman times it became a salt mine as land was reclaimed by the wealthy monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries (testing your Tudor history here), the sea walls were neglected and shingle drifted onto the plains creating the salt marsh we know today.
You may have read our earlier info about our wonderful partnership couple Cate and Vasilis, who produce wonderful olive oil for the Sussex regional markets on their family farm in Crete?
So, why bother with extra virgin olive oil and even more why Mestó?
Firstly, because not only pure extra virgin olive oil tastes wonderful, it helps sustain local economies providing jobs and food…which in this case is here in Sussex and also Loukia in Crete.
Also, there have been olive oil scams recorded since Roman times, when inferior oils were blended to flog to unsuspecting buyers. Nowadays, it’s more manipulative where chemically extracted oils are mixed with Extra Virgin and passed off as superior produce…it’s been described in the trade as pervasive as drugs trading.
So, it’s good to see that the fruit of one couple’s hard labour and passion for their farm, gives us an unadulterated, delicious and pure olive oil. Plus, it’s completely traceable so you know exactly what you are eating.
Mestó Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an honorary Sussex product as Cate and Vasilis are Brightonions who bring their own oil from their family farm in Crete. So, apart from the fact that this oil tastes amazing, it also has a very small carbon footprint, therefore making it a doubly special oil to keep in your kitchen. Continue reading “Cate and Vassilis’s Olive Oil – Mestó Extra Virgin”→
Mickelmus Blackman and his bee smokery from last summer
Mickelmus Blackman started beekeeping from one hive in his garden in Hove and quickly developed to a few hives before starting his ethical, sustainable beekeeping enterprise.
From his hives dotted around Brighton and Hove, we have the wonderful Raw Honey – both set and runny.
From his work with other farms in the Sussex area, Mickelmus also produces English Heather Honey and English Borage Honey.
How raw honey is good for you
Raw honey has a wealth of uses and benefits which we explored in our blog earlier this evening from cough mixtures to cake sweeteners and even shampoo and face wash. Studies by Glasgow University have shown that honey other than just Manuka, which is famous for its antibacterial properties – also have useful bacterial fighting qualities. And fresh honey produced on your doorstep is surely better in terms of freshness.
Plus the carbon footprint to bring you this honey is tiny when you consider it’s collected and bottled all within a 30 mile radius. Some commercial honeys are the collective produce of lots of producers and even different countries before being freighted to a bottler…despite their pure labels.
Heather Honey (English)
A perfume that is almost herbal. Nick says it has a citrussy kick to it. The texture is grainy like large salt grains from the comb and it’s a dark set honey. A lovely honey to spread on thick wholemeal toast.
Borage Honey (English)
Lightly scented and ivory clear. The flavour is delicate and smooth and not overly cloying in terms of sweetness. This would be a good natural sweetener for drinks or cakes or drizzling over pancakes.
Raw Honey, Runny (Brighton and Hove)
Sweet and with a rich honey flavour with almost a very slight smokiness to it. Deliciously light and smooth texture. The colour is a beautiful strong gold and again, would make a fabulous breakfast honey.
Raw Honey, Set (Brighton and Hove)
A velvety texture and a buttery creamy flavour. Now this seems like the perfect Sunday morning honey.
Raw Honey Roasted Beetroot and Carrots
4 medium carrots, diced
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp raw runny honey
1 tbsp olive oil
4 beetroots, quartered
25g pumpkin seeds
handful fresh parsley, chopped.
First simmer the beetroot in its skin until tender and cooked through. Cooking in the skin is easier than peeling as you can just rub this off with your thumb when cooked.
Heat the oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees fan/gas 4.
In a bowl, toss together the carrots, vinegar, honey and olive oil. Spread on a baking tray and roast for 30 mins.
About 5 mins before the end of cooking, add the beetroot and return to the oven.
When cooked, leave to cool a little, then toss with the pumpkin seeds and chopped parsley.