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Veg of the Month: Cauliflower

Veg of the Month: Cauliflower

The humble cauliflower is probably the fussiest of all the brassicas. Requiring a mild, frost-free climate to thrive, it’s no surprise that Cornwall is the natural home of cauliflower in the UK. Indeed, it was known as Cornish Broccoli before its green cousin became more common!
Francis Sampson, based at Cargease Farm near Land’s End, has grown cauliflowers organically for 20 years and is one of our treasured partner producers. His family has taken care of those lands for four generations and historically grew the Hayle cauliflower, a local variety whose abundantly leafy frame provided superb protection against the wind and rain on their exposed, hilly fields. As a boy, Francis remembers having to cut cauliflowers alongside his father and grandfather after school, racing against the fall of darkness; his Nan was specifically instructed not to invite him in for tea until he’d done his duty!

But even when blessed with generations of growing knowledge and near-optimal conditions, cauliflower’s sensitivity can mean an unreliable yield. As a result, many Cornish farmers are downing tools, instead preferring the stable income that comes from renting their land to national food distributors who supply to supermarkets. But this has meant the loss of the productive local varieties of cauliflower such as the Hayle. The big distributors always favour the planting of hybrid varieties that produce a more uniform 'supermarket standard’ crop that aren’t as fruitful or flavourful.

Here at The Community Farm we’ve worked closely with Francis for many years. We love how his knowledge and the land on which he farms has been passed down from generation to generation. So, the next time you receive a cauliflower in your veg box, be sure to give a thought to Francis and his family who’ve worked darn hard to get it there!

Do we deliver to you?

We deliver to Bristol, Bath, Chew Valley, Weston-Super-Mare, Frome and plenty of places in-between!