We’re so lucky to have such an awesome producer in Taunton. Don’t miss out on Helen’s wonderful veg. So tasty and delicious!
It’s been far too long since I last visited one of our Market producers in part of my ‘Meet the Producers’ journey, but I’m back after a short break and excited to share my most recent adventure with you.
I spent a sunny morning down on Linscombe Farm with Helen, chatting about all things organic.
If I’m perfectly honest, and I may get shot down for saying it, I have always been a huge skeptic when it comes to ‘organic’ veg. My naive understanding was that organic veg was abit gnarly, and already partially eaten by mini-beasts. I could not have been more wrong, this produce is absolutely beautiful…so much so that I barely even had to edit my photos and not a mini-beast or slug hole in sight.
I’ve tried growing food at home, with the romantic notion that it will look like this and hard though I try…
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Imagine living a quarter of a millennium. What changes would you see in the world? How many times would you marry? How many children would you have? With today’s medicine and technology, it might be feasible that someone born today might live up to 150 years, yet on May 6th 1933 a man named Li Ching-Yuen died, surviving 23 wives and 200 descendants, reportedly at the age of 256. There is documented and anecdotal evidence to support that he has certainly lived for almost 200 years, and before that it’s understandable that records are hazy. Li Ching’s answer to living such a long life?
- Tranquil mind
- Sit like a tortoise
- Walk sprightly like a pigeon
- Sleep like a dog
But there may also have been another factor: Li Ching-Yuen was a herbalist, and cited a widespread and common Asiatic herb, Gotu Kola, as a factor in his longevity. He would eat two fresh leaves each day, without fail.
Gotu Kola, not to be confused with the kola nut, has been in use as an Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for millennia. Its uses worldwide over the centuries are widespread. It is used to treat bacterial, viral, or parastitic infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, H1N1(swine) flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis.
Gotu kola is also used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs.
Some people use gotu kola for sunstroke, tonsillitis, fluid around the lungs (pleurisy), liver disease (hepatitis),jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, asthma, “tired blood” (anemia), diabetes, and for helping them live longer.
Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire.
There are several ways to get this herb into your system, the best of which is to grow a tub of it in your back garden and eat it fresh in a salad each day. Two leaves, according to Li Ching, are the optimum dose. You can also take the dried stuff in tea.
A regular intake of this herb is reputed to increase longevity, rejuvenate the body and mind and improve and tone up the memory.
If you don your wellies for a tramp through the woods today, you’re likely to come across swathes of lush green leaves starred with delicate white flowers. Before you trip over them, though, you’ll be alerted to their presence by a strong garlicky smell.
Wild garlic, also known as Bears Garlic, Ramsons or Ramps, is currently enjoying its moment in the sun. It has a very short season, so if you love its mellow garlic taste you’ll need to be quick. Blink, and it’ll be gone.
Once you have your carrier bag (or, if you’re greedy like me, bin bag) full of pungent leaves, what do you do with it? Storing it is a problem, since, like most green vegetables, it won’t keep for long, even in the fridge. You can freeze it, but comes out looking like smelly cooked spinach. So, before you go down that road, how about…
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Taunton Farmers Market are extremely lucky to have several conscientious fruit and veg farmers, whose farming strategies ensure they get as many growing weeks out of their crops as possible in natural and sustainable ways. Cold storage and poly-tunnels can provide both apples and rocket in March, a long time after and before their normal growing seasons. This extension of seasonality enables us to have local nutritious produce practically all year round. Even better, our producers use organic methods, so check out Linscombe Farm or Ray’s Veg this Thursday to see what’s growing right now.
Shopping at a Farmer’s Market keeps you in touch with the natural cycle of the year. You’ll find a completely different range of produce in March to what is available in October. March is a time of year when things reach the end of their season while summer vegetables are only just starting to grow…
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A decade ago if I suggested using spelt, most people would have looked blank while they wondered why I was using such bad grammar in the context of a language discussion. These days, we know spelt is a type of flour. While a lot of foodies advocate it, us average Joes might not know all that much about it.
First, the background. Spelt is part of the wheat genus – meaning it’s in the same family as common wheat, but it is a species apart. It is an ancient grain whose origins go back 9000 years. Carbonated grains have been discovered in stone-age sites in Britain and throughout Europe. It continued being cultivated in central Europe and the Middle East until the 19th Century. Records from a region in Germany in 1850 show that spelt made up 94% of cereal acreage compared to only 5% wheat. Modern farming techniques caused…
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I was delighted to discover an awesome producer at a recent event. VQ Country Wines are based in the Forest of Dean and make a rainbow selection of delicious alcohol that’s both vegan and gluten free.
Here’s what they say about their wines:
We use traditional British wine making techniques, adding no artificial colours or tastes, letting nature do all the work for us. Some would say lazy, others ingenious, we prefer to go by the latter.
We produce small batches at a time allowing for greater quality control and we regularly taste test our batches throughout their fermentation to make sure they are consistent in flavours and appearance. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
We believe in old school, fair and local ethics and that’s why each component in our production, from bottles to corks and labels to shrink wraps, has been researched thoroughly and chosen because of a number of morally right reasons, not just because of price.
Fruit wines do not fall into red, white or rose classifications because the colour comes from the fruit rather than the skin of grapes. This leaves you with a kaleidoscope of colours and flavours to choose from, and caters for a range of tastes from sweet and light to dark and full-bodied.
Don’t go without your Christmas tipple this year, get a bottle or three of these natural, delicious and vegan wines to add some sparkle to the festivities.