What makes Sussex hemp SO special?

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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!

 

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What makes Sussex hemp SO special?

What is biodynamic?

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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…

What is biodynamic?

In a nutshell:

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

A little more detailed: 

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?

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 it better than conventional farming practices?

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

There is, however, a limited amount of topsoil to feed, well – everyone.

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.

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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

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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)!

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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!

7 Delicious Things To Do With Squash

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Cozy jumpers, golden leaves, crisp sunny days and the first pumpkins appearing in shops and on doorsteps: autumn has officially arrived. And, what better way to dive into autumn delights than by eating the colours of the season with mouth-watering, locally grown squash.

With their warm, earthy colours perfectly fitting with the season and sweet, starchy flesh, these gourds are the ultimate healthy comfort food to carry you through the cooling season.

And, if you think squash varieties are limited to butternut and pumpkin – think again!  From crown prince to red kuri to sweet dumpling, there are so many delicious varieties to enjoy…

But, what to do with them? Well – we’ve got a few ideas!

1. Roast.

This is the most simple, fool proof way to cook squash. Simply roasting allows you to truly enjoy the unique flavour of each squash variety for the ultimate veggie appreciation. There’s no need to peel (thank goodness, as peeling a squash can prove laborious!), as the skins become tender and tasty with cooking.

Whole, sliced in half, diced, cut length ways – any shape will do. Drizzle with Mesto olive oil, a good sprinkling of herbs (how about rosemary, cumin and crushed garlic?), seasoning, and bake for approximately 45-90 minutes (or until the squash is tender and golden).

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You can add roast squash to any number of dishes for a more intense, sweet squash flavour. But we love to eat roast squash accompanied by other  winter foods for a sweet-savoury accompaniment to a weekday dinner. Cut into lengths, roast squash even makes a healthy alternative to fries!

2. Add to curries and stews.

Peel, deseed and dice, and add to your hearty and wholesome stews and curries. You’ll be amazed at the sweet, delicate dimension squash will add to your dishes. Why not try an easy and aromatic red lentil, squash and coconut curry?

3. A delicious twist to a classic quiche

Did you see Muir’s Easy #EatSussex Quiche recipe? Use whatever vegetables and squash varieties you like – and we promise it will still be delicious! How about using butternut for a classic?

4. Step up your pasta

Squash and pasta might just be the most heavenly combination. The sweet creaminess of seasonal squash can lighten and enhance the flavour of a comforting pasta dish. Try Pumpkin Pasta, or even add to macaroni and cheese to revel in the true magic of these scrumptious winter veg (a plant-based version here).

Want to take it to the next level? You can leave out the pasta altogether and have actual squash-pasta! Spiralized butternut squash makes a surprisingly tasty spaghetti alternative. How about a herby goats cheese butternut-noodles? In lieu of a spiralizer, nature has provided us with spaghetti squash – simply roast and scoop out the flesh for a pasta alternative.

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5. Mash

A flavoursome side dish, mashed squash and be as simple or elaborate as you like – from simply steaming and mashing with whatever seasoning you care for, to dishes such as this garlic and sage squash mash.

6. Cool weather soups

A fail-safe ingredient for a delicious, sweet, naturally creamy soup to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. How about trying this superb squash soup by Jamie Oliver?

7. Desserts

Yes, really! Winter gourds are so versatile. Step out of the box of using veg only for savoury dishes and add a little wholesome sweetness to your life. How about a Japanese kabocha squash pie? Or fragrantly spiced squash-molasses cookies?

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Any of our unusual squash varieties can replace the squash used in these recipes. Let us know your favourite way to each squash in the comments! Don’t forget to like and share if you enjoyed this cooking inspiration.


Feeling inspired to cook with this magical veg? Check out the local, unusual varieties of squash that we sell! More varieties are on their way as we head deeper into Autumn…

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #EatSussex so we can see your divine seasonal squash pictures and home-cooked treats on social media…

 

7 Delicious Things To Do With Squash

The Best Sussex Breakfast

We headed over to Kemptown’s award-winning boutique bed and breakfast, The White House Brighton, to talk to owner and chef Sean. We find out what makes Brighton the best city in the country, why using local food is better for business, and just what the best Sussex breakfast to cook is…

Watch below for the full interview:

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Love Brighton or have a favourite Sussex breakfast? Let us know in the comments!


Love eating Sussex grown and produced food? Use the hashtag #EatSussex and tag us in your social media so we can see your gorgeous Sussex posts! Want to be featured in our blog? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

The Best Sussex Breakfast