farmdrop

Heading out of that Hungry Gap

After a particularly prolonged and persistent winter, dogged by Siberian temperatures, gloomy days and seeminly endless buckets of rain, the mercury’s finally up, the sun is out and here all week (oh yeah) and we’re finally seeing long awaited seasonal treats turn up in our veg boxes

After an May spent longing for asparagus and dippy eggs suppers, it was a real delight to finally find these long-lost-stems in our veg boxes last week. Although heavily dependent on our (rather annoyingly) fickle British weather, British asparagus season normally starts in April and signals that spring has officially sprung. The cold weather has meant this year’s growing season is running a month or so behind schedule, depending where you are.

British asparagus is widely held to be the best in the world by chefs and foodies alike. It’s so good we steadfastly refuse to share it with anyone else. Interestingly not one spear is exported - we scoff every last British asparagus spear ourselves.

And although we grumble about our unpredictable (but mainly damp) climate, it’s precisely these conditions that allows the stems to develop very slowly which produces a full, sweet flavour and delightfully tender yet crunchy stems. Don’t forget the season is short and sweet, so make sure you grab these tasty little guys while you can.

With sightings of asparagus and fresh garlic in Pete’s boxes. we know we’re well and truly on our way out of the so-called ‘hungry gap’, and can really start to get excited about more seasonal wonders heading our way.

In addition to more Hampshire asparagus, this week’s veg boxes will contain some delicious Cornish new potatoes and crispy, crunchy-leaved lettuces.

There are so many ways to enjoy asparagus, but a read of Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s baked eggs with roast new potatoes and asparagus recipe has resulted in some serious tummy rumblings so we can’t wait to get stuck in after Thursday’s drop.

Photo courtesy of © Jak210 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

demand the best and don't give in to supply

demand the best and don’t give in to supply #retail #supermarkets #environment #foodwaste

The big supermarkets and the food suppliers will always tell the world that they are reacting to consumer demand. Consumers will nearly always tell you that they would like to eat more sustainably but it is too difficult in the supermarkets. Some group here is not telling the whole truth! Where do the decisions really come from on what product to stock? Is demand really driving supply or is…

View On WordPress

Happy Friday 🎉 I made @cannellevanille’s lentils with mushrooms, kale and eggs for breakfast. It’s usually a supper dish, but I rather like it in the morning. Also a lovely way to use the punnet of chestnut mushrooms I received in my @farmdrop box last week. My little pan for frying eggs is on its last legs and they keep sticking. It’s been a week of kitchen-related disasters #breakfast #brunch #friday #friyay #cannelleetvanille #lentils #mushrooms #chestnutmushrooms #kale #eggs #friedeggs #yolk #seasonal #healthy #vegetarian #vegetables #organic #localproduce #farmdrop #farmdropbreakfasts #dinnerforbreakfast #food #foodphotos #instafood #fdbloggers #morethanjusttoast by gemma_thomas__ https://instagram.com/p/484aXmFQoT/

Order your egg related products from amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/?tag=eggstacular-20

Introducing the Blackbird Bakery in SE15

Eamonn Sweeney set up his bakery in 2001 on his return from Martha’s Vineyard in the US where he honed his baking skills. He started things off initially making cakes and desserts for restaurants and cafes, and soon started selling direct to customers on Northcross Road Market in East Dulwich.

Blackbird have been at the heart of a number of local south London communities, opening their first shop in Herne Hill, swiftly followed by Crystal Palace, East Dulwich, West Norwood and most recently their fantastic new cafe in Queens Road Peckham.

Headed up by the wonderful Amy, the Blackbird Bakery Queens Road was our very first pick up point SE15. Locals love it - where else can you grab a delicious coffee and collect a bounty of local food in one fell swoop?

Our Farmdrop team delivers to the Blackbird Bakery every Wednesday and Friday between 4-7pm. And even more excitingly, you can now also buy Blackbird goodies in our shop, including cakes, tarts, and quiches.

Do you know a local venue that would be a good pick up point? We’re always looking to add more venues to our network so please send any suggestions to hannah@farmdrop.co.uk.

Open Farm Sunday

Next Sunday is the 8th Open Farm Sunday where hundreds of British farms will be opening their gates and inviting people to discover the story behind their food.

It’s a great chance to meet local producers and find out what really goes on at your local farms. It’s a really fantastic event which has really gone from strength to strength and saw nearly a million people heading out to the countryside to visit their local farms last year. 

You can find a farm to visit here and if you’re a farmer and would like to open your gates to the local community head over here.

Our butter producers Ty Tanglwyst Dairy are participating this year, so if you happen to be in South Wales next weekend do pop along and say hello!

Matt and Steve (aka The Handpicked Shellfish Company) set up in 2001 after spending the previous 3 years Scallop Diving together. They had the then radical idea of providing sustainably caught fish direct to the public. They fish from their day boats out of of Weymouth and dive for shellfish, always observing principles of sustainability.               They have taken very quickly to the FarmDrop concept and embraced all aspects. Matt’s been a bit shy of our photographer, but we hope to track him down on the coast some time very soon.               Their combination of a principled approach and a willingness to innovate, make them a producer for the future. It’s great putting in the order to the guys on their boat. We like our office, but we’re slightly jealous of his. You can follow Handpicked on twitter and on Facebook. They supply a beautiful range of seasonal fish at Queen’s Park/Kilburn and Tufnell Park/Kentish Town.
10

Our first ever FarmDrop: field to fork shopping hits Kilburn

Thanks to everyone who came to shop, support or just check out our very first (ever!) FarmDrop on Thursday at the Albert Cafe in Kilburn, London.

We were totally bowled over by the response and what a fantastic first drop it was…12 very happy producers, over 100 very happy customers, a selection of scrummy local food samples and some jaw-droppingly huge root vegetables. 

One of FarmDrop’s guiding principles is to foster strong, direct relationships between food makers and customers, so it was incredibly heartening to see such positive interactions between our producers and shoppers. Pete Richardson’s beautifully pungent thyme prompted shoppers to share their favourite thyme recipes, Purton House Organics’ delicious tasters inspired a local mum to give her daughter her first ever sausage (which of course she absolutely loved) and there were plenty of (pretty awful) jokes about the size of Westmill Organics gigantic triffid-like parnsips. They were a real turnip for the books …(sorry but we did warn you!)

Reconnecting urban communities with rural communities is also incredibly important to us, so we were just bowled over when we heard that a local teacher who picked up some shopping is now planning to take her class to visit Westmill Organic farm in Oxfordshire to show them how food is grown.  Strengthening ties between the countryside and city dwellers is a real driving force behind what we do, so to see this happening in the first hour of the very first drop was just phenomenal.

Of course one of the highlights for the FarmDrop team was simply meeting our first shoppers! Finding out first hand what inspired people to shop, what produce they’d like to see available and what would make things easier for them was invaluable. We will always strive to make things as convenient as possible for producers and shoppers so please know we’re busy working to put this feedback into action! If you didn’t get to speak to one of the team directly or if have any further thoughts we would love to hear them. Click here and let us know what you think.  

Our first FarmDrop would not have been possible without the support of our first ever dropkeepers, local heros Caren and Hannah and, of course, the good people of NW6 who put their trust in the idea. We can’t wait to head back to Kilburn for our second drop on 21st March, but first we go south. Our first Peckham drop takes place on 14th March and orders need to be in by midnight tonight. More glorious local food is available here

Happy local eating Kilburnites and happy local shopping Peckhamites!

Meet FarmDrop's Founders at the Muswell Hill FarmDrop

Hi Everyone,

Ben here, one of FarmDrop’s co-founders.

If you’re interested in seeing a FarmDrop in action, we’re hosting an investor event at our Muswell Hill FarmDrop on Wednesday 23rd July for our Crowdcube campaign and would love to see you there. The team will be around to answer any questions from from 7-8pm so please register here.

And please do try out FarmDrop out as a customer at the same time. Remember, FarmDrop’s “click-to-harvest” format gives shoppers amazing fresh local food at lower prices through providing our bakers, fisherman and growers with advance orders and zero waste. So don’t miss the order deadline on Midnight Sunday. You can put your order in here.

The response this week has been overwhelming with 129 people investing £318,020 in less than a week. We never dreamt of being this close to the finish line by now so huge thanks to everyone who’s played a role.

Hope to meet you next week,

Ben & Ben, and the FarmDrop Team

ps - our favourite tweet of the week has to be the one from @QuentinCasares, a weekly shopper at Muswell Hill who also invested on Wednesday:

"just the start. Will be investing further over the next few weeks. Never seen a model I’ve believed in so much.”

Being invested in by the actual people we’re ’re building FarmDrop to use makes the whole team here even more passionate about driving the business forward … thank you all for being involved.

Sandwich Emergency

Now we take our sandwich eating pretty seriously at FarmDrop HQ, and we’re not afraid to admit things got a little tense today when Bailie & Rose chutney levels got dangerously low.

But, this guy takes things to a whole-nutha-level.

Check out this real life, actual 911 call by a real life, actual person to complain about their sandwich….

http://buff.ly/148Vp0J

Order of Eating
Good food tends to be more temperate. Good bread can be revived and reused for many different purposes. You can take a three day old chelsea bun, slice it in two and toast it. With a thin layer of butter it is restored to something just as delectable as day one.                 But some things need immediate attention. Chief among these are the spring greens, chard and kale. They are prone to wilt and/or lose their natural sweetness if you don’t look to get them in a pan soon after you get them - two or three days. This is also very true for seafood - and the safety of the food is a consideration here too. Meat will last a little longer, but you need to think about cooking it or freezing it fairly soon after you pick it up.                 “Eat your greens” is often the call to unwilling children. But for all of us it’s a better decision - they’re at their best at their freshest. Slightly bizzarely some fish are even better when they are not totally fresh. Skate wings for instance. But things like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes all last a good deal of time - they like to be kept at a fairly stable temperature, quite low and out of the light for spuds, but not necessarily in a fridge.                    Having picked up my drop on Thursday I, naturally, helped myself to the pie first. Because, as David Ginola once said, “I’m worth it”. (Pretty sure he didn’t eat all the pies though). A hard week deserves some immediate gratification. But yesterday I had my crab with linguine (and a little sauteed onion, chilli and parsley from the garden). And a big plate of finely chopped and dressed spring greens on the side. Although a few minutes in boiling water might be a good idea for the greens. Then tonight it’s the mussels - if they’re dead then they won’t open and if they’re cracked you should bin them - with a toasted levain and salad. Weekend lunches will be beautiful bread, cheeses, salad and beer. And on Sunday for a family get together, we’ll butterfly the leg of lamb (take it off the bone and help it spread out into one steak) and barbecue it, to go with potatoes chopped up quite small for roasting with garlic and rosemary. And a lemon meringue pie to follow.                 For the rest of the week? Whatever’s left. Omelettes, still slightly oozing their cheese filling, will go with toasted bread and salads. And then I’ll probably eat the broccoli wishing I’d had it when it was in better nick.

More prizewinning FarmDrop producers

We really love working with Purton House Organics. We love the team, we really love their produce and so we’re chuffed to hear they’ve been formally recognised for their sterling work. We’re sure you’ll all join us in congratulating Rowie and her team for winning Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Green Award for Food Production, Conservation & Land Management! 

Hats off guys - you totally deserve it and we can’t wait to pick up more delicious fare next week. 

ps. check out what our tech-maestro Myles got up to with his Purton produce at the last drop…

Wet Garlic - the scent of summer coming
This is one of the most evocative smells in the world. It almost provides more pleasure than when eaten. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration but it’s pretty darn close.                  This is garlic harvested before it gets dried into the head and cloves we are all used to seeing. A white head with purple streaks and greening stem, it is unfamiliar territory when you put a knife through it: no cloves wrapped up in paper, just a series of soft interlocking layers.                And while it’s the smell that lures you in and will have you pining off-season, it’s something that can accompany most things. The flavour is still strong, but there’s no bitterness, so you can stir it in finely chopped slices to a soup, stew or salad. Making the miraculous gremolata (lemon zest, parsley, garlic) with the wet stuff you can add an even subtler version, which will lift almost anything. And a gentle roast provides an even sweeter and more delectable result. It’s almost strange we don’t see more of it.              The season is famously short, so don’t miss out. Get it while it’s ….wet.

It’s finally here! The Purple Sprouting Broccoli, the most beautiful Brassica of the lot, will be hitting K&QP FarmDropper’s veg boxes next week. Not sure how to get the best out of this colourful little guy? PSB and eggs make excellent bedfellows so this is one of our favourite ways to tuck in. Rustled up in less than 10 mins, it makes a remarkably satisfying spring supper for two.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Purton bacon n’ poached eggs   

Serves 2:

  • 2 good handfuls of PSB
  • 4 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces
  • Good handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Seasonal salad leaves
  • 4 large eggs
  • Olive oil & Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Method

1. Trim the PSB at the base. Plunge in boiling water for 2 minutes and then refresh under cold tap water. Drain and set aside.
2. Gently fry the bacon bits until nice and crispy. 
3. At the same time, poach the eggs to your liking (the gooeyer the better we reckon).
4. Mix together the PSB, bacon, tomatoes and salad leaves and dress with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
5. Pop the eggs on top, season liberally and enjoy!

*Image courtesy of James Barker

FRIDAY IS PIE DAY

A truly momentous day for the FarmDrop team. We thought we’d had our pastry and meat fix after feasting on Little Jack Horners sublime sausage rolls all week. But no…. 

We met with Timmy of Timmy’s pies, who rocked up at FarmDrop HQ with these little guys in tow and we’ve been sampling our socks off all afternoon.

The homity pie was heavenly, the chicken & tarragon was captivating but our fav has to be the slow roast pork & rhubarb. Such a killer combo.

There’s simply no better way to spend a Friday lunchtime than tucking into pies made with the very best seasonal produce and a whole heap of love.

And then it came to be. May the first Friday of every month be forever known as PIE DAY. 

If you make amazing pies and wanna headline the next Friday Pie Day just let us know!

Season’s Eatings: Spring   Spring’s finally getting into its stride and the end of the hungry gap’s in sight. But before the seasonal treats hit us fast n furious, we’ve decided to change things around a bit to give our shoppers a better choice of produce. So for the next Kilburn & QP drop you guys could be feasting on: - A Salad bag, with a beautiful salad pack and much more besides, tasty cherry toms and the best of the season. - And to make things easier for smaller households, we have a Small fruit bag and a Mixed fruit and veg box. - And as a harbinger of the excitement to come, we’ll have a new hardy perennial, a Seasonal seasonings bag, which will include lemons, spices and herbs - always expect a head of garlic or two and the latest interesting herbs to brighten up suppertime.   It’s been a long and hard winter, but Pete at Westmill tells us that asparagus, new potatoes and much more will be there for the 23rd May. And that’s when the K&QP drop goes weekly. The other things to look forward to is a whole load more fish, some new cheeses, some new stuff on the salami and pie front. And some new producers for coffee and dairy. Not all of these will be ready for the 9th May, but we’re working on getting them to you as soon as we can. Here’s to a summer of seasonal treats worth waiting for!

Smoked Mackerel and Poached Eggs

A sure fire way to brighten up any midweek supper. All ingredients sourced from the Kilburn & QP FarmDrop, packed full of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and super easy to rustle up.

Serves: 1
  • 1 fillet smoked mackerel from the Hand Picked Shellfish Company
  • 2 generous slices of the Flour Station’s Country Levain 
  • 2 organic eggs from Purton House Organics
  • Good handful of lettuce leaves from Westmill Organics
  • Ty Tanglwyst Butter from Moo Town Cheese
  • Olive oil & balsamic vinegar, to drizzle
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Small glug of vinegar

Method

1. Add the vinegar to a pan of water and slowly bring to the boil.

2. Just as the water is boiling, crack two eggs into ramekins and slide gently into the water. Gently simmer for a couple of minutes until the eggs are just set, but be careful not to overcook. We want runny yolks!

3. While the eggs are cooking butter the lightly toasted bread, flake the mackerel and drizzle some oil and balsamic vinegar on the salad leaves.

4. Once cooked, carefully drain the eggs and serve on top of the toast.

5. Season generously and enjoy! 

Give us this day, our daily artisan bread…

Our love affair with the British loaf takes centre stage this week with National Bread Week. A quick google search indicates that this may just be a clever marketing ploy by one of the UK’s biggest branded bakeries, but it also serves to show the strength of the real bread revolution currently taking the UK by storm.

Until recently British bread, our daily bread, the sustenance that has been at the heart of our lives for thousands of years, had really lost its way. From the dawn of industrially produced bread in the sixties (thanks to the dreaded Chorleywood bread process), to its vociferous condemnation by low-carb diet evangelists in the naughties, it’s been a tough ‘ol time for this much loved British staple.
 
But things seemed to shift and we started to take our bread seriously again. A strong grass roots revival of real bread has resulted in an explosion of magnificent craft bakers and micro-bakeries popping up all over the country on a mission to take on the industrially produced loaves of sliced-inedible-foamy-nothingness we find on supermarkets shelves.

One of the shining lights of British bakeries bakes just up the road from the Kilburn & QP FarmDrop in North West London, and happens to be one of our pioneering producers. The Flour Station started life in the kitchen of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant and only use truly authentic baking methods to make their award winning range of handmade artisan loaves. Their majestic Tortano Crown is a FarmDrop HQ favourite - made from jacket potatoes and honey it’s honestly the best bread we’ve ever tasted.

To celebrate National Bread Week the Flour Station are launching their great value FarmDrop bread packs, so if you’re London based head on over to the shop and check out what you could be picking up at the next drop. Don’t forget to get your orders in by midnight Monday for pick up on Thurs!

 

10

Moving into April marks FarmDrop’s 1 month anniversary (ya hear that Spring?! It’s April, do get a wriggle on).

The team at FarmDrop HQ are still busily working away setting up new drops, but we couldn’t be happier with the positive response our new way of buying food has had throughout the country.

Our local food movement is growing. And fast. Here’s the state of play after our first month:

  • Over 150 shoppers have come together to buy nearly 700 lovingly made goods direct from producers.
  • From Falmouth to Loch Glair, over 1000 people have registered to get their community shopping. (perhaps not Land’s End to John O’ Groats but near enough)
  • (and this is really exciting) 45 people have already approached us to open a drop in their area. 

Check out these photos from our latest Kilburn & QP FarmDrop. Awesome food, awesome producers, our very awesome drop organiser Caren and of course our awesome customers. 

Huge thanks to all the producers and the shoppers who’ve put their trust in us at such an early stage - we simply couldn’t have done it without you.

If you like the look of what our friends in NW6 are doing and want to start buying food with your local community, take a trip over to our website and register your details. We’d love to talk to you.

*photo credits: Kit Oates Photography

5 foods to eat organic at Farmdrop

Love organic food but find buying it across your whole shop difficult on the purse strings? Here’s our guide to which everyday fruit and vegetables you should go organic for.

We all know there are benefits to buying organic food, but we also know it’s tricky to buy organic all the time. To help you prioritise which ones to go for, here’s our top five staple seasonal foods to add to your basket if your budget is tight.

Broad beans

‘Beans in a pod’ such as green beans and broad beans are a vegetable which have one of the higher levels of pesticide residues when not organic, and also if sourced from outside the EU.* 

Our producer, farmer Rowie at Purton House Organics, explains the beauty of nature taking its own protective course when growing her broad beans: 

‘I was weeding beside some early broad beans which had suffered from an infestation of aphids. I couldn’t believe the amount of ladybirds and ladybird larvae I saw. Ladybird larvae start feeding immediately and can consume up to 400 aphids a day and 200 when mature, so it made me confident of the fact that my next batch of broad beans will be kept aphid free and healthy! This is nature looking after itself, keeping things in balance.’

Tomatoes

We all know how good proper tomatoes can taste, and it’s nothing comparable to what you get in the conventionally grown ones from the supermarket. Tomatoes are our grower Adrian’s favourite vegetable to grow at Wild Country Organics. Take one glance at his incredible rainbow of flavour-punching varieties and you’ll see why.

Potatoes

As a classic staple of the British diet, you can be guaranteed that organic potatoes are not exposed to artificial chemical fertilisers. Long live mash, roast spuds and, of course, the occasional chip!

Kale

This low-calorie, nutrient-packed green is lovely all on its own and perfect for injecting a bit of goodness to stir fries or the Sunday roast. When tested for pesticides together with spring greens in 2014, out of 55 samples, 36 contained residues of multiple pesticides.*

Apples

The quintessential British fruit, the apple is to Britain what bees are to farmers - where would we be without our hot crumbles in the depths of winter, and ice-cold ciders in the heights of summer? Whilst peeling their skins may reduce the residues of certain pesticides, some are systemic, which means they are found within the fruit (or vegetable). Most of the time you just want to grab an apple off a tree and bite straight into to it, right?

See all organic beans, tomatoes, potatoes, kale, and apples in the shop - we’ll have more new season heritage apple varieties coming soon from Chegworth Valley Farm in the next 5 - 6 weeks too!

*You can find out more about pesticides on the Food Standards Agency’s website and in reports by the Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF).