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Working at The Farm - one year down the line!

It’s been a year since our Content Creator, Sam, started working here at The Farm. Sam designs all the marketing materials you receive in your veg boxes and she captures the daily coming and goings at The Farm to share on our social channels and in our newsletters. We asked her to reflect on her first year here which resulted in this lovely reflective blog post - enjoy!

I’ve experienced a full cycle of seasons, and seen the fields and beds in the market garden and polytunnels transform from green to brown, to green; enjoyed the swifts and swallows performing their aerial acrobatics in summer, the crows calling mournfully in winter; and watched the hedges morph through a kaleidoscope of colours with each changing season. 

I was recently asked if I had a favourite part of the farm, and I struggled to think whether I did. Was it the wellbeing garden, where so many groups of people convene, learn, and share in a tranquil setting? Or perhaps the fields beside the yurt, which can be quieter, and boast beautiful views? Or was it our new polytunnel, Goose, which must have the best view of any polytunnel anywhere, overlooking Chew Valley Lake? 

I came to realise that my favourite part of the farm wasn’t any particular spot out on the land — instead, I realised that it’s all about the food! 

I have a confession to make — I’d dabbled with getting veg boxes in the past, but for one reason or another I never really stuck with it for long. Since being at the farm, I’ve now been enjoying a Small Gert British box each week for a full year, and I can honestly say it’s changed my approach to cooking and eating. 

Eating with the seasons has been an absolute joy, and I’ve enjoyed veg in my box that I could never get at my local supermarket. I tried Jerusalem artichokes for the first time (try splashing them with oil and a sprinkling of sea salt before giving them a good roast in the oven — the skin will be caramelised and the flesh soft); cast aside my hatred of turnips (golden turnips are beautiful roasted in butter and thyme, and served with a whipped feta and pea dip); and threw away my rigid weekly menu plan (it’s far more fun to go with the flow). 

After a winter of making the most of root veg (and never once was I bored of it), spring arrived with a flurry of greens in my box, marking the change of the seasons in my own kitchen. When I received my first tomatoes of the year, I knew summer was really on the way, and being able to see that change in the seasonal food I receive from the farm helps me to feel more connected to the land, to the seasons, and to nature in a way I hadn’t fully experienced before. 

And unexpectedly, this switch to proper seasonal eating also has another added benefit — it creates a nice way to talk about food, and to share ideas with others. 

I was recently struggling to use white cabbage. It was crunchy and delicious, but I’d made all the coleslaw I could stomach, and my kids wouldn’t touch another cabbage stir fry. While chatting in the kitchen at the farm, a fellow colleague suggested I try a recipe I’d never heard of before — a Turkish stew called kapuska. It was a recipe he’d tried on the suggestion of someone else he knew. The dish was simple, easily adaptable, and really tasty, and I certainly would never have thought of it if it hadn’t been suggested to me. 

I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about food — it opens doors to sharing, to passing recipes and ideas on to others in a way that perhaps doesn’t happen all that often these days. Not sure what to do with your leeks? Ask a friend or talk to your neighbour — they might have a great idea for how to cook them that you’d never find in a recipe online, and then pass that recipe on to someone else. As well as being really useful, it’s a lovely way to feel connected to your community. 

If, like me, you’ve dabbled with getting a veg box in the past but struggled to cook with what you get, give it time, and an open mind, and I can guarantee you’ll be enjoying your seasonal food more than you have before. And if you come up with a great dish that you love, please share it with us! We’d love to hear what you do with your veg — maybe others can try it out too and change their mind about a veg they’d previously written off, or find a new favourite dish. Bon appetit!

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