Blog: A day out at the farms!

We had a wonderful sunny day visiting Nutbourne Nursery and Rock Farm with nutritional blogger Zoe Delicata to talk about the power and beauty of local food…

muirrockfarm
The gates of Rock Farm lead to a world of deliciousness!

First stop – the tomato jungles of Nutbourne Nursery!  

Did you know, in order to keep Sussex’s favourite tomatoes pesticide-free and ridiculously flavoursome (last summer, in our #EatSussex interviews, these were consistently declared the most loved Sussex veg. See V and H’s delicious Nutbourne tomatoes recipe here), Nutbourne meticulously cleans their glasshouse windows every year. This isn’t just your usual spring clean – this is serious tomato-perfecting business!

window
Perfectly cleaned glasshouse windows for the most delicious tomatoes you can get your hands on!

What’s more? These glasshouses are also home to pollinating bees – the most essential worker in our food system. Without these workers, a huge proportion of food simply wouldn’t grow. These glasshouses are doing a fine job of keeping our bodies healthy, taste-buds satisfied and environment healthy!

From sweet, small cherry tomatoes to hearty marmande beef tomatoes to stunning cocktail tigers, you don’t need to source from far away to cater to diverse and exotic tastes. Out favourite? Cocktail tigers. Green, sweet, tart, this tomato is adds an instant element of culinary beauty to your foods – an easy and delicious win.

Nutbourne Nursery has the art of growing healthy, delicious tomatoes well and truly mastered. And it’s no surprise – after 40 years of growing, tomato perfection is pretty much guaranteed!

muirtoms
It’s always summer in the green houses! These pesticide-free, bee pollinated tomatoes are positively bites of summer goodness…
tomsbees.jpg
Glasshouses home to pollinating bees – ensuring us (delicious) food security. 

Next stop – our favourite: Rock Farm.

This market garden and therapeutic garden in one both enjoys experimenting with unusual local grows (Sussex sweet potatoes anyone?) and helps vulnerable community members gain confidence and life skills. Rock Farm is paving the way in Sussex for community care, providing us with incredible, nutritious and delicious organic produce and giving back on a social level. ‘How it should be‘ is certainly fast becoming the Sussex motto…

berries.jpg
Rows of berry bushes soaking in the Sussex sun…

Garden manager Rachel enlightened us as to the many wonderful delights growing (from berries, herbs, golden beetroots, unusual potatoes, salads, tomatoes, sea buckthorn – and more!) and what’s planned for this wonderful plot, as well as sharing some brilliant stories about volunteers changing their lives for the better.

Did you see their mustard flower salad mix? Stunning – and delicious!

beetroot.jpg
Rachel shows us the beautiful and sweet golden beetroot growing in the poly tunnels… 

Is there a particular food from us that you enjoy and want to find out more about where it’s from? Let us know! We’re eager to share the wonderful farms and work of our ethical and enthusiastic growers here in Sussex…

Shop Sussex tomatoes here and keep an eye out for summer salad from Rock Farm, coming very soon… 

Happy eating!

Advertisements
Blog: A day out at the farms!

Pancake day is almost here! Try these mouth-watering Sussex topping ideas…

crepe2.png

Shrove Tuesday is upon us! Have you got your ingredients ready for this once-a-year feast?

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday (aka ‘Fat Tuesday’) is traditionally the day of using up rich foods before 40 days of fasting for Lent on Ash Wednesday.

And how do people celebrate?

Pancakes, of course! These are the perfect way to use up ingredients such as eggs, milk and butter before fasting – hence Pancake Day arose as a delicious way to celebrate before the lean 40 days of Lent.

Whatsmore, the ingredients for pancakes are said to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year: eggs for creation, flour for life, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.

And while the notion of Pancake Day is relatively young, recipes for pancakes have been around since the 1400s. (And pancake tossing isn’t anything new either: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne.” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619). Are you pancake tossing skills up for it this year?).

The fundamentals of creating mouth-watering pancakes…

You need four basic ingredients to make traditional pancakes – flour, milk, eggs and salt. And if you want really, really good pancakes, use the best (i.e Sussex!) ingredients…

Basic Pancake Recipe:

Ingredients

120g plain flour
2 Sussex highest-welfare eggs
210ml of richly flavoured, non-homogenised Sussex milk
90ml water
Traditionally made Sussex butter (to fry)

Method

Mix the flour and salt together, and form a well. Crack in the eggs and mix well. In a separate container, combine the milk and water. Gradually stir into the flour/egg mixture until you achieve a creamy batter consistency. Let the mixture stand for 20-30 minutes.

When ready, heat a large frying pan and melt in a generous dab of butter, spreading to coat the entire pan. When hot, pour in some pancake mixture to cover the base evenly. Cook for a minute or less (depending on how hot your pan is!) and flip to brown the other side.

Serve and enjoy immediately, or continue cooking to enjoy a stack of delicious pancakes!

Topping ideas:

* The simplest topping may be lemon and sugar (this beautiful combination is a classic for a good reason – it’s divine!). Use unwaxed, organic lemons for a heavenly lemon aroma by grating a small amount of peel onto your pancakes or into your batter.

* Nutella/chocolate spread is a favourite for pancake toppings. But, step up the chocolate game by melting heavenly dark chocolate onto your pancakes for the ultimate sophisticated pancake treat.

* Maple or golden syrup is an utterly delicious and simple pancake topping but…

* …Sussex salted caramel is even better! (And, if you’re feeling indulgent, Sussex chocolate and amaretto salted caramel)

* A scoop of vanilla ice-cream (have you seen Caroline’s Dairy for out-of-this-world Sussex ice cream?) and stewed berries may be just the thing. Delicious!

* Or, looking for something a little healthier? Bio-live, ultra-creamy Sussex yogurt, raw Sussex honey and fruit go perfectly.

* Sweets not your thing? Go savoury! Bacon, eggs, sauteed mushrooms and greens and crumbled Sussex cheese make for perfect savoury pancakes…

CREPE.png

Whatever your topping, why not adorn your pancakes with some Sussex flowers! Don’t forget to tag us in your gorgeous pancake creations! (@FinandFarm)

What are your favourite pancake toppings? Do you have any ideas to add? Let us know!


Image 1: 20080502_368_DSC_1463 by Adrian and Debra/ FLICKR (CC)
Image 2: IMG_5111 by snow/ FLICKR (CC)

Pancake day is almost here! Try these mouth-watering Sussex topping ideas…

What makes Sussex hemp SO special?

vitality-hemppro-energyballs-3-copy

Hemp: the superfood on everyone’s lips! No longer raising eyebrows, it’s the sought-after ingredient in trendy Brighton cafes and mouth-watering healthy recipes.

Whole seeds, hemp powder and hemp oil – there’s plenty of ways to enjoy this plant. From hemp mylk, #eatsussex hemp and rosemary bread and hemp houmous, we’ve shared some over our favourite recipes over the seasons.

(Although, why not try hemp in your breakfast, in a smoothie, on a soup or hemp oil drizzled over a salad? Tastes divine – and so easy!)

What, exactly, makes this plant so special?

This seed is a true superhero in every sense – from saving the environment to saving our hearts.

With our organic, locally grown hemp, you can buy the most nutritious and most environmentally friendly hemp you could possibly get!

The Sustainable Wonder Crop

Grown using organic methods that respect the local ecology, our Sussex hemp grows chemical-free in the gorgeous South Downs National Park, West Sussex.

But – it’s not just the wonderful ethics of Vitality Hemp that make this product so amazing. Deemed the ‘Sustainable Wonder Crop‘, hemp is the future for a healthy, happy planet.

A versatile crop that can produce food – as well as raw materials for sustainable, ethical cotton, plastic and fuel alternative – hemp grows easily and abundantly even in our cold and rainy climate.

Plus, this wonder-crop is naturally resistant to disease and improves, rather than depletes, the quality of the soil in grows in. Whats-more (yes, there is more!), this plant actually helps to clean up soil pollution, making our world a better place to live in (whoa!).

Nutritional powerhouse

Packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids, hemp helps reduce inflammation in the body, boosting heart health and brain health. Packed with essential phytonutrients, such as zinc, phosphorus and iron, hemp supports your body from inside and out – meaning strong bones, healthy immune system and a glowing complexion!

Plus, with all the essential amino acids, this seed is a wonderful source of plant-based protein to keep you full and complement  New Year fitness goals.

What Sussex-grown hemp products do we offer?

Hemp seeds, unhulled.

Hemp Seeds, Local (250g)

Perfect to whip up some hemp mylk with, sprinkle on cereal, throw into smoothies, make healthy desserts or garnish soups, stews and salads!

Hemp protein powder

Hemp Protein Powder, Sussex (250g)

The most sustainable (and delicious) plant-based protein, supplement your diet with this omega and amino-acid packed superfood! Add to oatmeal, smoothies, baking, desserts and any recipe you’d use conventional protein powder.

Hemp oil

Hemp Oil, Cold Pressed, Sussex (250ml)

Cold-pressed to preserve the essential fatty acids, this hemp oil will divinely transform your meals. With a delicate, nutty taste and gorgeous hue, invest in your health with this delicious oil!

 

What makes Sussex hemp SO special?

What is biodynamic?

brassicass.png

If you’re a little hazy about just what biodynamic is, you’d be forgiven.

Is it organic? Something to do with the lunar cycles? Just what?

Well, we delved into biodynamic research to bring you the answers…

So, what exactly is biodynamic?

In a nutshell:

It’s a growing methodology that promotes harmony with nature, healthful crops and biodiversity.

A more in-depth explanation…

It’s a holistic, ethical approach to agriculture pioneered by Rudolph Steiner in the 1920s in reaction to the industrialisation of agricultural practices.

Steiner was alarmed at the increasing devastation of topsoil health with the introduction of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The quality of produce and livestock were affected, and the long term sustainability and benefit of intensive farming methods were called into question.

In Steiner’s philosophy, the farm is a living organism. All components must operate in a harmonious and self-sufficient manner. The name ‘Biodynamic’ comes from two Greek words: bios meaning life, and dynamos meaning energy.

Makes sense, right?

How do biodynamic farms achieve this philosophy?

Through crop rotation, biodynamic composting preparations and a prohibition of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

It’s one of the most successful and sustainable forms of organic agriculture today! And – truly – it’s the polar opposite of conventional farming methods where profits are prioritised over planetary health.

Steiner was a  proponent of certain spiritual and homeopathic methods (such as following a lunar cycle and using herbal and animal preparations in composting). While this is scoffed at, for many growers, a personal connection with their land is essential. If you’ve ever tended to your own piece of land, you have an idea of just how deep a connection goes! Plus, biodynamic herbal compost preparations contain the nutrients and chemical composition needed for healthy soil for plants to thrive in.

Why is biodynamic better than conventional farming?

Topsoil is precious. It’s the reason we have food to eat. It’s the reason we can exist.

But – there isn’t an endless amount of topsoil out there for us to use. It’s a finite resource, that’s being steadily degraded with short-sighted, maximum-profit agriculture.

Biodynamic farms hold a powerful stance in a corporate world that prioritises agribusinesses, where intensive farming practices leave this soil depleted of essential nutrients.

Biodynamic yield will probably never feed the masses as crop yield will never match those of industrial farms. But, with the philosophy feed your neighbor (or, the Sussex community), you can do a pretty good job…

So, is it ‘organic’?

Yes! Biodynamic food is organic – plus more.

Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are prohibited in biodynamic farms. And, while organic certified produce allows the use of organic imported fertilisers, biodynamic growing methods require a farm to produce its own fertility, through composting and crop rotation.

Whatsmore, 10% of a biodynamic farm acreage must be set aside for the sole purpose of biodiversity!

What do we think is the best benefit here at Fin and Farm?

The best thing? The taste and quality of produce – it’s like homegrown! Rich and healthy soil does have definite impact…

What biodynamic veg do we have right now at Fin and Farm?

Right now, we’ve got a whole array of incredible, beautiful biodynamic veg on offer!

You can find: basil, chards, bramley apples, squashes (many), kales, spinach, sorrel, potatoes, candy beetroot, jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions and parsnips!  

 


What do you think? Let us know in the comments, or on twitter, facebook or instagram! (@finandfarm)

What is biodynamic?

Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.

PARSNIPP.jpg

Goodness, is it that time of year already?

Parsnips are here!

While they may seem to go hand-in-hand with Christmas in the British kitchen, there’re many ways to enjoy this comforting root veg. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve to keep them as a cool-season staple – not a once-a-year show.

From breakfast (really!) to dinner, parsnip’s wonderful earthy sweetness is one you simply need in your life.

Why?

Other than their palatability – parsnips are good for you.

This root veg is positively packed with essential minerals and phytonutrients to support your body. Parsnips are anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective and immune-enhancing.

Our locally grown, organic and bio-dynamic parsnips are positively bursting with health benefits.  Definitely a reason to include in our diets!

What are parsnips exactly?

Related to carrots, celery, celeriac, dill and parsley, parsnips are a root vegetable native to Europe. Spicy and sweet in flavour, parsnips have been a staple in our diets since roman times.

In the absence of honey and cane sugar, parsnips were the sweet treat in medieval England.

How? After the first frost, when parsnips are still in the ground, the starches change to sugar. (This is why Christmas parsnips taste so good roasted and caramelised…)

Fortunately for us, these days, we associate them as a savoury food. (Did you see our Sussex chocolate post?)

What happened to our love of parsnips?

Well – potatoes! Parsnips were pushed aside with the introduction of potatoes as a central source of starch in our diets.

But, today, there’s definitely room for both on our tables…

Tips:

  • Heavy, dense parsnips are the best. These are the freshest – and tastiest. Our parsnips are dug fresh from the earth and delivered straight away for maximum enjoyment.
  • Don’t peel! The skin is rich in nutrients – and flavour! Plus, our organic, bio-dynamic Sussex parsnips are pesticide-residue free. Just give ’em a good scrub!
  • Baby parsnips can be finely sliced or grated into salads. Very large parsnips can have their cores cut out before cooking for a sweeter taste.

And now for the good part…

Ways to enjoy:

1. Breakfast

Parsnips are delicious any time of day. Breakfast is no exception! Try a creamy, sweet spiced parsnip porridge (honestly, it’s exquisite).

More savoury than sweet tooth? (Or perhaps just not up for the idea of parsnip porridge…). Parsnip hash-browns are a breakfast must. Or, how about a chicken and parsnip breakfast bake to keep you going…

2. Salads

I know. It’s hardly the weather to have you craving a salad. But, keep it seasonal and cool-weather salads will be a flavoursome delight.

Autumn parsnip and chestnut salad is about as seasonal (and delicious) as you can get. This parsnip, blue cheese and hazelnut salad will have you salivating.

Parsnips will add a whole new dimension of deliciousness to your leaves!

3. Soup

Naturally creamy and comforting, you can dig in with some fresh crusty bread and cool, salted Sussex butter after a brisk walk in the cool wintery air.

Sound appetizing? Parsnip is perfect in this farmer’s market soup. Or, how about parsnip, almond and garlic soup for a creamy, flavoursome and wholesome boost.

4. Curries and stews

Spices and slow cooking truly do this humble root veg justice. Parsnip and chickpea curry will transform the way you view this root veg, while this jungle curry  is a bowl of wintery, spiced goodness.

5. Roast

Roasting caramelises this root to utter perfection. You can simply slice and cover with oil and spices for a fuss-free side. Or, take note from Jamie Oliver on the perfect way to roast.

Our suggestion? Enjoy in the ultimate comforting way: Parmesan baked parsnips. (So, so moreish…)

6. Stock

Want to create the most delicious food you’ve ever cooked in your life?

Homemade stock is the answer! You’ll wonder how a stock cube could ever compare…

There’s no limit to what you can put in. Simply slowly simmer veg, fresh herbs and seasoning of choice. Sieve the liquid from the main ingredients once cooked, and use immediately or freeze for the future.

Aromatic and sweet parsnips are the key to creating an intense stock.  Here’s a recipe for inspiration (plus how to make your own stock powder).

7. Cake

Surprising, I know. But it may just be one of the most delicious things you’ll eat. Flavoursome and dense in texture, carrots can step aside and let parsnips steal the cake show for once.

Here’s an inviting recipe for parsnip and maple syrup cake. Or how about Scandinavian spiced parsnip cake? Mmm, or zesty orange and ginger parsnip cake

parsnipcake
Feeling inspired?

Get your Sussex parsnips today!

Did you try any of these recipes? How do you like to eat and cook parsnips? Let us know! (@finandfarm)


Image: Parsnip Cake 7 by jules/ Flickr (CC)

Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.

#EatSussex Tomatoes: Our Favourite Way!

1tom

So, you’ve probably heard already.

But – in case you haven’t – it’s the final week of the year to order mouth-watering Sussex tomatoes. The. Final. Week.

It may be heart-breaking to say goodbye to summer for good (it’s really real when there’re no more tomatoes to enjoy…) but we’ve got a whole load of incredible autumnal produce to dig into…

In the meantime, though, let’s go a little tomato crazy.

After all – it’s a whole year before they’re this good again. Everyone we asked said tomatoes were their favourite produce this summer – and with good reason!

So, we’re sharing out favourite tomato recipe from the #EatSussex summer. Share your favourites and spread the beauty of local tomato enjoyment… (@finandfarm)

#EatSussex Bruschetta

This recipe was recommended to me by an Italian friend. Simple, easy, delicious – it’s truly the way to enjoy good quality.

You’ll need:
A generous handful of mouth-watering Sussex tomatoes (any variety you like)
1 clove of garlic
Fresh oregano or basil
Seasoning
Mesto olive oil
Freshly baked bread
Curly Sussex parsley to season

Method:
Finely dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Crush the garlic, tear up your chosen herbs and add to the bowl. Season well and generously drizzle with Mesto olive oil.

Let the tomatoes sit and combine with the flavours for 20 minutes or so. Once combined, grill or toast your homemade bread. Top with the tomato mixture and enjoy! Garnish with parsley and little extra olive oil if desired…

3tom


How do you love to enjoy fine quality, delicious Sussex tomatoes? Let us know in the comments, on facebook, twitter or IG.

#EatSussex Tomatoes: Our Favourite Way!

Sweet Chestnuts!

chestnut.png

Often scarce on the supermarket shelves (except at Christmas), Chestnuts can leave us a little perplexed with just what to do with them. But chestnuts have populated the British Isles since Roman times – and positively flourish in the South of England. We may associate them with Christmas, but chestnut season is here, and these delicious fruits deserve to be enjoyed!

chestn.png

A true seasonal delight, chestnuts are sweet, complex and richly flavoured. Their comforting starchy texture is wonderfully versatile for cooking. Whether sweet or savoury, chestnuts can be as wholesome or as decadent as you like. Mmm, it’s time to reintroduce the chestnut back into our culinary know-how…

How to cook

Chestnuts need cooking to become palatable. If you’ve cooked chestnuts before, then you can certainly attest to the rich, aromatic flavour cooking brings out. You can boil (approx. 30 minutes), microwave (approx. 3-4 minutes) or roast (approx. 30 minutes) – just be sure to score an X or line into the bottom of the shell to allow for peeling and to stop them from ‘exploding’! Cooking them in an open flame winter fire is, perhaps, one of the most loved ways to eat chestnuts in this country.

No matter how you’re cooking them, be sure to peel chestnuts when they’re still warm. When they’ve cooled, this can feel like the impossible task!

How to eat

There are a myriad of possibilities when it comes to enjoying chestnuts.  Blitz in a food processor to make chestnut flour – a healthy, gluten-free alternative with a slightly nutty flavour. Puree to fill a dessert such as the renowned French Buche de Noel (chocolate log filled with chestnut puree – yum!) or as a mashed potato alternative. Throw into roasts for texture and taste, or, add to rustic soups and stews to infinitely enhance with an earthy, sweet flavour.

Recipe

Decadent Chocolate-Chestnut Torte

We may associate chestnuts with Christmas and open fires, but chocolate and chestnut might just be the most heavenly combination. Haven’t tried it yet? Well, we’ve got a recipe that’ll make your mouth water…

Gluten-free, deeply chocolatey and enhanced with the flavour of pureed chestnuts and enticing walnut liqueur, this cake won’t fail to please.

You’ll need:
450g chestnut puree
230g dark chocolate
6 eggs
125g butter
65g sugar
2 tablespoons walnut liqueur

To serve:
Cream (as desired)
50g dark chocolate

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm (but not quite meringue texture). Melt the dark chocolate over a bowl of boiling water.

In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and chestnut puree. Add in the egg yolks, liqueur and dark chocolate and combine.

In a mixing bowl, gradually fold through the whisked egg whites. Pour into a baking tin and cook for approx 40 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool before enjoying with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (and possibly an extra shot of walnut liqueur)!

torte

Order your chestnuts today!

Let us know in the comments how you like to enjoy this seasonal delicacy..


Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson Chocolate Chestnut Cake (gluten free)  
Image 1: Chestnuts by Kristian Mollenborg/flikr (CC)
Image 2: Chestnuts by Simone Piunno/flickr (CC)
Image 3: dark chocolate torte by kylesteed/flickr (CC)

Sweet Chestnuts!