National Vegetarian Week: A Rather Special Recipe

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, over the next four weeks we will be collating recipes from a variety of talented cooks and chefs. All of the recipes have been inspired and created by the produce that we have provided. Our aim is to prove that – whether you’re a Michelin starred chef, a baker or simply somebody that enjoys cooking, organic and vegetarian food is for everybody.  We’re really curious to see the different ways that our selection of produce is going to be used!

This week, we have teamed up with Javier Lopez – Chief Food Evangelist for the Winton Group. By combining our beautiful, independently grown produce and his exquisite culinary technique, a truly stunning recipe has been created. This recipe is perfect for special events and dinner parties, or for somebody who just wants to try something different. Read on to find out how to make this fabulous starter – and remember – all of this produce can be sourced locally by us, which will make it taste even better!

 

 

Chard, Spinach and Wild Garlic Millefeuille

 

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Ingredients for 4 portions, as starter:

2 duck eggs

50g Maldon salt

30g coconut sugar

25g fennel pollen

100g goat’s butter

50g fermented wild garlic

50g chard

50g perpetual spinach

40g wild garlic

Flowering shoots to garnish

 

Method:

  • You will need to cure your eggs a day in advance; combine 50g of salt, 30g of sugar and 25g of fennel pollen in a bowl, place half of it on a flat tray or container and make a small well with the back of a spoon, place the duck egg yolk (ensuring no egg white remains) in the well and cover with the rest of the cure mixture. Refrigerate for 24hours.

 

  • Clarify (skim the surface of the liquid as it is heated to remove impurities) 100g of goat’s butter, saving the milk solids for other use, add 200g of fermented wild garlic leaves, buds and flowers and a leaf of raw wild garlic. Puree until very smooth and add a little fennel salt.

 

  • Blanch (scald in boiling water and remove after a brief  interval) the fresh chard, spinach and wild garlic leaves in salted water and immediately refresh in iced water, quickly drain and dry.

 

  • Layer the leaves one by one brushing a little fermented wild garlic butter in between each layer, build it up until is around 3cm tall and refrigerate. Once cold, portion it by timing into rectangular pieces.

 

To Serve:

  • Get the yolks out of their cure and lightly rinse in cold water. Set aside.

 

  • Place the vegetable millefeuille onto a plate and wrap it with clingfilm, place the plate on top of a simmering pan with water and let it warm for 5-6 minutes.

 

  • Gently remove the millefeuille of the plate and place onto your serving plate or bowl, cut the egg yolks in half and place half of it on top on the millefeuille. Garnish with a raw shoot and its flower (you can use peas, wild garlic, nasturtium, chickweed, etc)

 

Recipe by Javier Lopez, Chief Food Evangelist.

 

Keep checking back for our follow up recipe posts! In the meantime – enjoy this one!

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Our Growers: Michael Hall School

The 2 ½ acre walled garden at Michael Hall School unites many activities.  Within the garden, they grow about a hundred varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and top fruit, all to Demeter standards – the largest certification organisation for biodynamic agriculture. Compost is important to biodynamic gardening and Michael Hall maintain a variety of compost heaps around the garden.  They have two old fashioned wooden greenhouses, three polytunnels, and the original Victorian propagation houses.  They’ve also just recently installed a new flow form which is used to improve the irrigation water for the seedlings, and to make nettle, comfrey and compost teas.

Because Michael Hall School, as well as supplying us with some of our wonderful produce, is also a Steiner school, part of the garden is entirely set aside for gardening teaching. There is a gardening classroom, the children’s propagation house, a bread baking oven, and tools for garden and woodland crafts.   Children have their garden beds there and it is where their gardening lessons take place.  In winter, they roam beyond the garden into the rest of the Michael Hall estate to learn about woodland management. What a fabulous way of learning!

The aim of Michael Hall School is to combine beauty in the garden with growing an abundance of good biodynamic vegetables for the school canteen, the garden shop and the local community.

We’d like to thank Laurie, the gardner responsible for providing us with beautiful produce that we can then pass on to you. At the moment, we have perpetual spinach, rainbow chard and lettuces from them. You can buy them online and have them delivered to you for free here.

 

Our New Website & Online Ordering are Here!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

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We’ve just launched our new website – complete with online ordering! It’s never been easier to get organic, fresh produce grown by local independent farmers delivered directly to your door!  With this in mind, it’s time to talk about your overall health and wellbeing….

It can sometimes feel quite overwhelming to really invest in your own health and adopt positive life changes, especially when it comes to changing your eating habits. It’s an investment well worth taking though – what you eat directly impacts how you feel, both in your body and in your mind. You wouldn’t fill a car with dirty petrol, so why fuel your own body with anything other than the cleanest and most natural of foods? Up until the beginning of the 20th century, good diet and physical well-being was the foundation of all medical treatment. Unfortunately, overtime, this basic knowledge that our ancestors had acquired about the importance of the nutritional benefits in the foods that were available to them.

We at Greener Greens think that it’s about time that we rediscover what our ancestors once knew and reconnected with our food. Our seasonal boxes contain the fresh produce that your body needs to maintain its health and vitality and is free from chemicals. Trust in nature! It knows best when it comes to growing our food. According to the changing seasons, our bodies need different nutrients to maintain great health. Nature has provided a range of produce that contains exactly what we need to ensure that we’re at our best all year round – both in our bodies and our minds.

Greener Greens offers a quality organic range of fruit and vegetables, grown by certified organic, independent growers, delivered to your door every week. Your first steps towards being healthy and making a positive lifestyle choice starts here!

Visit our website and make your first order today!

Greener Greens ‘Unwrapped’ Scheme – Update

This Christmas, as we have for the past ten years, Greener Greens organised a charitable scheme which got our fantastic produce out to as many families and individuals who would benefit from it as possible. Using our contacts across Sussex & Surrey, we identified organisations who help people in their communities that need that extra bit of support, and came up with bags & boxes of fresh produce that would help these charities and organisations to help them over the festive season. Our team supplied the produce at cost, filled the bags and passed them on to the charities or Childrens’ Centres for distribution. We couldn’t have done it without our customers – it was their donations that made this year such a successful one!

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The contents of one of our bags from the ‘Unwrapped’ scheme.

Because of everybody’s hard work and generosity, over 450kg of fruit and veg was sent to Crawley in our family bags – feeding over 200 people. Twelve senior citizen bags went out to those who needed them, and over 115kg of fresh produce was sent to Redhill for the VARB Festive Feast – an event aimed at providing a place to go for people who might not have anywhere else to go on Christmas Day. Our produce fed over 140 people including volunteers at this event. The guests were mostly elderly people who would have otherwise been on their own at Christmas.

We are so, so proud to be able to have helped so many people this Christmas, and are so grateful to our amazing customers who supported this scheme and made it happen for us.  Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

Bake With Jack: A Delicious Collaboration

Bake with Jack is run by chef Jack Sturgess, who is passionate –  not only about baking – but about spreading the message that anyone can make their own bread from home. He runs workshops, demonstrations and classes across Surrey to prove that ANYONE can make their own, and that it’s not scary!

He says that he started Bake with Jack because:

Modern bread in the UK is awful (my personal opinion). It is laced with processing aids and artificial additives. In my opinion the structure and texture of it alone is enough to give us a dodgy tum!

Because bread making shouldn’t be a confusing, scary process. Let’s keep it simple because you can do it.

Homemade bread is delicious, and all the more delicious because the flavour is elevated by the pride you feel for having made it yourself! With your hands and your heart.

We wholeheartedly agree with this, and were intrigued to see whether we could collaborate with him in any way. So a couple of weeks ago we sent Jack one of our seasonal veg boxes to see what he could make of it. We were delighted to see that, not only did he make these gorgeous looking pumpkin doughnuts, he also gave us a recipe for a beetroot and spelt focaccia!

We’re sharing the recipe with you – please, please remember that this method is expertly put together to make it simple and enjoyable enough for you to try at home! So please do – try it with your children this weekend, or stay out of the pub and in the kitchen one cold evening this week and treat yourself!

Here’s the recipe – enjoy. And thank you to Jack for sharing this with us, we are really excited that you’ve come up with something so gorgeous!

 

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Beetroot and Spelt Focaccia

So, thanks to some deliciously earthy and sweet beetroots from Greener Greens I have developed a focaccia to celebrate their beautiful colour and delicate flavour.

Spelt is an ancient grain, and this recipe used quite a large proportion of wholemeal spelt flour to make a real comforting and wholesome bread. To get the best flavour and colour from the beetroots, I wrapped one yellow and one purple individually in tin foil and baked in the oven at for an hour, until a knife can be easily pushed into the centre.

Wait a while before peeling, but keep them in the tin foil. When they are cool enough to handle, squeeze them out of the tin foil leaving their skins behind, then rub off any bits that are still there.

This recipe will make one focaccia.

 

Difficulty: Easy

3 hours

 

Ingredients

For the dough

350g       Wholemeal Spelt Flour

150g       Strong White Bread Flour

10g          Salt

12g          Fresh Yeast or 1 x 7g sachet of dry easy bake yeast

330g       Room Temperature Water

20g          Olive oil

 

For the topping

2 cooked beetroots (see above)

4tbsp     Olive Oil

4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked

Maldon sea salt flakes

 

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Method

  1. Place a large bowl on your scales and weigh out your white flour. Zero the scales and weigh your wholemeal flour on top, and then do the same with the salt.
  2. Weigh your room temperature water into a jug. If you are using fresh yeast, pop it into the water to dissolve before moving on to step 4. Or, your 7g sachet of dry yeast can be popped into the bowl with the flour.
  3. Pour the yeasty liquid into the bowl, add the olive oil and use a dough scraper to mix everything together. When it all comes together into a relatively firm dough, turn it out onto the table.
  4. Knead the dough for 8 minutes on a clean surface, without dusting with any flour. If the dough makes a mess on the table, bring everything back together with the flat side of your dough scraper as you go along.
  5. Next, with the slightest dusting of flour on the table, shape the dough into a ball, and place it back into the bowl. Dust the dough’s surface lightly, and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Allow 60-90 minutes for your dough to rest and rise, developing flavour and texture.
  6. While your dough rests you can get to work making your topping. Slice your beetroots into rounds about 3mm thick. If you’re using one purple and one yellow beetroot like I did, slice them into separate bowls. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of each, chop your rosemary leaves roughly and sprinkle them over too. Mix up each bowl and leave to marinade.
  7. Prepare yourself a tray for the next part. You’ll need one that’s roughly 35cm by 25cm, lined with a piece of parchment paper and drizzled with olive oil.
  8. When your dough has puffed up nicely, transfer the dough ball onto your oiled tray. Press with your fingertips to spread the dough out really well.
  9. Now arrange your beetroot all over the top, pushing pieces down into the dough with your fingertips, and pour the remaining herb oil over the top.
  10. Rest the dough, uncovered for 45-60 minutes, and at some point during this time, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 5 with an empty deep tray in the bottom
  11. When you are ready to bake, boil a kettle of water, and sprinkle your sea salt over the top or your dough.
  12. Carefully place your focaccia into the oven, pour about 1cm deep of water from the kettle into the hot tray and shut the oven door. Bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Slide a knife underneath the focaccia and tip it up to peep underneath. When the focaccia is golden all over the base it is ready. If it’s still a little pale in the centre, bake for longer, 5 minutes extra at a time until it’s done.
  14. Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack, and drizzle well with olive oil. Leave to cool before tucking in!

 

 

You can find out more about Jack and what he does on his website, as well as getting more tips, recipes and advice – and we’d thoroughly recommend that you do!

Why Organic, and Why Greener Greens?

Organic means working with nature, not against it. It means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment – this means more wildlife!
We’ve broken down the reasons why we think that organic – and Greener Greens – is so important. Let us know what you think!

 

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You can find out about our growers, what we do and how you can change your lifestyle and support your local community through simply eating by visiting our website.

An Interview with Daniel of Orchard Eggs

Orchard Farm Biodynamic Eggs are laid by these beautiful free range & happy hens. This, along with their nutritional diet gleaned naturally from the biodynamically farmed orchard and added grains and the farmers that lovingly care for them,  is why you will never taste eggs as good as these anywhere else. They’re big, full of rich yolk, and taste amazing.

The eggs that we sell are biodynamic, organic and local to Sussex. The hens are all reared on Orchard Eggs Farm. Daniel and his family strongly believe this is the greatest way to grow healthy birds and ensure that the eggs are of exceptional quality.

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They rear Lohmann Browns hens as they have a friendly nature and produce excellent quality eggs. They keep them protected in a tunnel whilst they are young and once they are fully feathered and strong enough to withstand weather conditions (usually between 4 and 6 weeks) they are allowed to roam around the orchard. During the initial early growing stage, they develop a strong immune system adequate for our ecosystem that prevents them catching diseases and keeps them totally free from antibiotics.

The hen houses are moved to different plots within the farm as new flocks are introduced. This is prevents disease and helps new hens to develop their immune systems. It also keeps the ground suitable for growing the apples and pears as the hens aerate and fertilise the soil.

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We have asked Daniel a few questions about his farm and his hens. We think it’s important that our customers know where our food comes from.

What inspired you to begin farming?

My dad taught me how beautiful nature is, and how complex the systems work together, I wanted to work with these systems and create quality food.

 

What makes the land that you farm so special?

It’s treated with respect, we feed the soil, and in return, it can feed all that’s growing.

 

What is so important about Biodynamic Farming for you?

For me Biodynamic farming means that the farm becomes a sustainable “organism” where all the processes on the farm work together and are in balance.

 

What makes your eggs stand out from others?

Maybe our customers can answer this question better. But we think it’s their quality, flavour, natural deep yellow/orange colour of the yolk and freshness.

 

How do your hens differ from those in industrial egg farms?

Guided by the cockerels, our hens roam freely 24/7. This encourages them to express their natural behaviour and source their food whenever, wherever! They are really relaxed, fully beaked, not treated with antibiotics and not vaccinated. They are happy birds, part of the farm, where they keep control of pests, keep the grass short, and fertilise the soil.

 

Your hen houses are moveable, why is this?

Our houses are movable, so we can give our birds a fresh run, and manure is evenly spread through the orchard, and parasites are better controlled.

 

Do you have any particularly favourite hens? Charlie, (Jill – the owner of Greener Greens’ daughter)  is a shepherdess and has 15 sheep, but her favourite, Pixie, lives in the house with her!)

All our hens our brown, but a few summers ago, one hen created a nest in the orchard, this resulted in a white hen. It does live in the orchard by itself, and always comes up to us when we are working.

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Orchard Farm eggs are yours to add to your box order or bespoke order from £2.32 for a box of 6. Large are £2.72 for six. Try them, they’re just gorgeous!

Information on UK Vegetables & Growers

Veggie and fruit update.. with a little bit more!.. For periods of time it appears that Summer is with us…although as I write this the temperature is a bit chilly, the wind is fairly strong and I am in early Spring attire! At the farms the crops are starting to grow and as we have noted before plants like to stick to their timetable and do attempt to “catch up” growing quicker than usual and perhaps whooshing through some stages of their development. Generally UK crops are 3 weeks behind their “normal” schedule, which takes some catching up. This week we are experiencing a reduction in the range of UK vegetables, which is a bit disappointing given that last week we were blessed with an wonderful range of fabulous produce. We expect the range and volume of UK produce to increase significantly in 3 to 4 weeks, bring a corresponding decrease in price….and we need that as the cost of UK produce is very high at present.
Asparagus is still with us but not for long. Courgettes are starting to come through (and we have more of the small courgettes with flowers from one of our growers, who likes to keep the plants free from the ground level courgettes; hence this delight on offer to us!) Broad beans should be with us in a couple of weeks and a good crop is expected.
In the absence of a wide range of UK produce we look to Europe for their earlier developing produce. That plan isn’t working too well as celery, broccoli (calabrese), cabbages and peppers are all in short supply at the moment and as UK demand for imports grows…so does the price charged. Sadly the quality isn’t quite as good as we would expect either – no doubt a function of the limited supply (we saw the same with UK potatoes earlier this year which resulted in our decision to stop supplying the maincrops). So why the limited supply from Europe? A combination of extremes of weather in some regions of Spain, an anticipation from exporters to the UK that our demand would be falling now as our own crops come on stream and lastly a strengthening of the German market for imports. The organic market in Germany isn’t a common media subject in the UK, so let’s rectify that immediately! Whilst demand for organic food is increasing cultivation by German farmers is reducing. Despite government and EU encouragement for organic growing, some states have withdrawn the funding which augmented this encouragement and farmers are switching to other farming methods which require less labour (which is relatively expensive in Germany). To digress a little further the reduction in organic farmland runs counter to EU generally where increases of 50% have been experienced over the past few years. France saw an increase of 50% and Poland 500%! Austria has the highest percentage of farmland certified as organic in Europe with the Czech Republic in 2nd place. Outside the EU increases in organic farming are seen in many countries including Australia, Peru, Brazil, China and India.
Finally, back closer to home – on the fruit front peaches, nectarines and melons are arriving from Europe but apples and citrus are in short supply. We’ll switch to South Africa for citrus…maybe supply problems here too..and await the UK apple season which is expected to be…GOOD!! Always end on a positive note, my Mum says. And we did!!