Monday, 31 October 2016

Harvest Monday, foraging and a glean

After being away for a few days, I've had a very foodie week. I got back to find a couple of ripe tomatoes and a little cucumber in the lean-to. The tomatoes are in a tray, ripening slowly.
There were a couple of ripe peppers ready too.
On the allotment there were a couple of teeny courgettes and a handful of beans. I spotted some in the back garden aswell today but forgot to pick them.
I helped in my friend's mum's garden again this week and came away with some very tasty eating apples. The skin is a bit rough in places but the flavour is lovely.
On Friday I helped chop veggies with Norwich Foodcycle, in readiness for the Norwich Pumpkin Rescue event on Saturday in the city centre....the aim being to encourage people to cook-up their pumpkins, not just carve them up and chuck away the innards. A couple of local supermarkets had donated some spare pumpkins, potatoes, onions, garlic, celery etc, which we chopped-up into a humongous soup (four massive pans on the go) which was being given away free the next day. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of that but it was fun to be involved in mass catering for the morning. I didn't get chance to taste the soup either but it smelled lovely.
Then on Saturday I helped at another glean with Feedback (rescuing crops that the farmer doesn't want, which then get distributed to various homeless shelters etc). It was carrots this time....take a look at the huge pile of carrots that didn't meet the grade (but that we could dib into). Some were a bit manky (had a virus or something) but lots of them were just slightly bent or even just too big.
There were also carrots throughout the field which the machinery had missed or dropped. It's like hunting for treasure.
We got two pallet loads...not bad for just four people. Next up is an apple glean that I'm looking forward to. The farm is nearer to Norwich so hopefully more people will be able to make it.
Here's our co-ordinator Jannine with one of the graded-out carrots.... how cute is it?
Yesterday, Jan and I got the bus out to a village just outside Norwich to go chestnutting (Not sure if that's actually a word but anyway...). Seems like it's a really good year for chestnuts, wow there were some big ones. I think we were a bit late last year, and there weren't many left, so I'll have to make a mental note that the end of October is prime chestnut season.
We walked back into the city along Marriott's Way disused railway, like last year too. It was a gorgeous day.
And finally, today I picked another couple of peppers from the lean-to, plus a chilli from inside.
The chilli went into some cauliflower fritters and we had one of the peppers raw on the side, along with a homemade slaw. The pepper turned out to have a hot / sweet combo like one a few weeks ago..odd! It's a Quadrato variety which is meant to just be sweet. We ended up having a blob of plain yogurt on the side too, to help counteract the hotness.
Oh I forgot....finally finally, tonight I went to a talk organised by the Norfolk Organic Growers, given by one of the founders of Hodmedod's British grown pulses and grains. The business developed after it was identified that in Britain we hardly grow any of our own pulses anymore, even though we used to and the climate is good for it (apparently it went out of fashion as they were associated as peasant food). So these guys are bringing it back in fashion, and have been doing it in an ethical and sustainable manner, developing relationships with farmers and encouraging them to diversify into organic pulses ....brilliant.

I actually used to buy their products a few years back and didn't realise I was supporting their early adventures into the world of pulses. They've come a really long way by the sounds of it, so I'll look out for their new lines. There were a few free recipe cards too...the dishes look really good, mmm.


Okay, that's me for now, thanks for reading. I'm linking in with Harvest Monday, kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.


  1. I always comment on how many pumpkins must be wasted as food when they are being sold for carving, not to mention the space needed to grow them. No pumpkin pie I note. Lots of those rejected carrots end up in a field near to us where they are piled up for the horses to browse.

    1. Hi sue, yes there is so much pumpkin wasted...hopefully the event encouraged some people to make use of theirs anyway. There was also a campaign to get people to compost the carved ones when they'd been finished with, (rather than chucking in the bin), with special collection points around the city, a bit like they do with Christmas trees.

      I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie...too sweet. I guess a soup was much easier to make than pies.

      Nice that the horses get to browse the leftover carrots near you. Mostly here they'd just get ploughed back in.

    2. That's strange a pumpkin/squash makes a soup that is too sweet for us. To me pumpkin pie is reminiscent of a egg custard tart.

  2. The Pumpkin Rescure sounds like a great idea! It's such a shame to waste any food. The carrot gleaning was a nice haul too. And what a treat to come back to ripe veggies in the garden!

    1. Thanks Dave, I saw photos from the pumpkin looked really busy so hopefully some people were converted!

  3. Wow, nice for all of those carrots to be saved for use! Those courgettes are crazy small compared to the beans.

    1. Thanks Susie....we got a fantastic carrot haul. It's apples next