Wednesday, September 02, 2009

England's pantry

Just look at these beauties. We had to stop and photograph this breathtaking assortment of produce today as we stood in the kitchen unwrapping bits and pieces.

It's all in season, and it's all English too. From left to right, we have tomatoes, cabbages and runner beans from Rickards' Farm in Congerstone. Fresh-picked on the morning you order the box, which is £5 for enough to feed a family of five. Or two greedy people. There's no website, and no, you can't email in your order. It demands a 20-minute drive to the farm every week! They're organic too, but you won't find a Soil Association mark on them - the family have been growing veg this way for three generations, but they aren't in a hurry to apply for any sort of kitemark - they're too busy growing!

Next to that we have Kent Cobnuts bought from Berwick Street market, Soho, London. Picked them up at the weekend along with some juicy dates (which we've already eaten.) You peel off the green skins and crack them like nuts. They're lovely. The sweetcorn is also from there, as Rickards' own cobs aren't ready yet.

The big Bramley apples are from our friend Boyd's family's back garden. We live at 71, they live at 3. Boyd and I were at junior school together. His Mum brought a massive bag round which we turned into a gingerbread apple pie. That got driven to London, where Boyd lives, and we fed him a taste of home - with custard!

The obscene carrots are from Rickards. They like to pick out the handsomest, or the ugliest - depends on Chunk's mood when he picks them out. These two are definitely in the Handsome category.

Finally, FINALLY... a bowl of damsons from the neighbours' felled damson tree (the wood is in the wood store for forthcoming autumn chills), next to a bowl of its rounder cousin allegedly called a damseen - though I can't find a trace of these on Google. Anyone know anything about them? The plums I had to photograph for their vivid colour.

Colours, shapes, tastes, shiny skins - sometimes I am at a loss to understand why anyone at all chooses to buy fruit and veg from a supermarket. Why have a pineapple in December when you can let the seasons surprise you, and provide a continuous flow of fresh, home-grown goodies?

(ps anyone spot the silly face?)

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