Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mole and the Giant Turnip.

Just look at this lot:

This afternoon, these insanely bulbous turnips were picked for us by Walter Rickard, head of the Rickard clan, who with his wife Rose and their family run Willow Farm in Congerstone, where they've grown vegetables, fruit and plants for decades.

The fat broad beans and little luminous peas (which were squeaking with excitement) were picked by Leigh, Wally and I together, and let me tell you, there's nothing like getting on your knees in a dry sunny field and picking your own dinner. The lettuce I was allowed to cut with Wally's knife (an honour - that knife will have been with him for decades) - he showed me the right way to do it - and the calabrese we chose from three rows of the stuff. It wasn't the biggest there, but bloody hell, we're only feeding two of us.

We've been buying veg from the family almost every week for at least eight years - except for those weeks when we've not managed to eat our way through the previous box - and it never fails to impress us. You won't find this calibre of vegetable in any supermarket. You simply won't. Organic, local, huge, bulging with taste, and picked the same day. And everything you see in these particular photographs cost us a fiver.

Don't whinge to me about the occasional bug in the lettuce, or the wonky carrots, this is the real deal. If all you're interested in is cheapness, you can't do better. If all you're interested in is the environmental and health aspects, you can't improve on this. And if you're a taste connoisseur, it stops right here.

To get all four, twenty minutes down the road, is nothing short of a precious miracle. Albeit one fuelled by a family who work seven days a week 365 days of the year, in all weathers. We owe a large part of our health to the Rickard family, and tonight we salute them with a hefty serving of gravy.

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