Wednesday 27 June 2012

Our Proper New Season Lamb is here  - Tender & Flavoursome

Lamb is now the only widely farmed animal where consumption remains seasonal in Britain - and the reason for it is both interesting and straightforward. 

Ovulation in ewes is naturally prompted by the shortened days of autumn, so that the birth of lambs, whose gestation period is five months, coincides with the first fresh grass of spring.

But New Season lamb is eaten at not less than four months old - so how do we manage to eat "New Season" lamb for Easter? 

The answer is for that the Easter New Season lamb ewes are tricked with artificial techniques into breeding earlier in the year, and giving birth in the winter. The newborn lambs are then given concentrated feed, rather than grass, to ensure that they are ready for eating by Easter.

And why? Because the perception is that us consumers would like to be able to both see the new season lambs in the field, AND then eat new season lamb at the same time, even though a good 15 seconds of logical thinking would make us realise that this is not possible. But in search of a way to "have our cake and eat it", so we have worked a way out to trick nature.

We think that is a bit sad - especially when it comes at the expense of taste, and naturally we are very happy that Nicola & Toby at Beatbush feel the same way and will not compromise with the timings of their flock's natural breeding patterns.

So go ahead and enjoy truly New Season Lamb....!!!

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Re-introducing Rosé Veal this week - a product that many would argue if you enjoy dairy products, then you have some responsibility to eat.

This week we are delighted to re-introduce Rosé Veal again to the farm direct menu. It comes from Jon & Vicky Brown of Bocaddon Farm Veal in Cornwall.

Their veal is a high quality, high welfare product that comes from unwanted bull dairy calves. If their calves were not reared by Jon & Vicky, they would be disposed off at 1-2 days old. In doing, so they solve a major problem for dairy farmers by using an inevitable by-product of their industry.

Their case has recently been highlighted by Jimmy Doherty in his Channel 4 documentary series, who says: "If we eat rosé veal, everyone’s a winner: the calf, the farmer and the consumer.”

For a full explanation of Rosé Veal production, as well as FAQs, click here - why Jimmyy set out the case very comprehensively for us to enjoy a delicious product.

So why not try some Rosé veal mince this week? It's Same price as our other beef mince (£7 per kg), and is delicious.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Ever Tried Raw Milk?

There are benefits to drinking pasteurised milk, such as calcium. But it has nowhere near the same number of benefits that raw milk offers. Raw milk has all the benefits of pasteurised milk, plus:

i) The protein is not denatured (physically altered in shape) as is the case once pasteurised (heat treated), and is therefore fully available and metabolisable by the body

ii) Cholesterol is not heat treated and remains in its natural state as good cholesterol that the body can metabolise and use. Once milk cholesterol is heat treated, it is altered into a form the body cannot deal with, so the body produces more of it's own cholesterol to deal with this 'bad' cholesterol. It has been shown in the U.S. that raw milk lowers blood cholesterol, whereas pasteurised milk increases blood cholesterol.

iii) All the good bacteria are still present and help with gut action and digestion. It is also possible that these good bacteria also help fight bacteria infection within the body

iv) All the enzymes in raw milk are still present. Some people are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose milk sugar as they themselves do not produce lactase enzyme. This is the enzyme needed to help digest lactose sugar. Raw milk contains lactase and therefore helps digest lactose, and deal with that intolerance. Lactase is just one enzyme found in raw milk, there are others too! All these wonderful enzymes are killed by pasteurisation.

v) It has been shown that raw milk helps to fight eczema, hayfever, allergies and asthma. On our own milk round, we have customers that have our milk to get rid of their eczema. Since having our milk, their eczema has either improved or disappeared!

There are more benefits, but in conclusion, I would say that there are far more benefits to drinking raw milk. A study by GSCE students for the BBC programme Countryfile about three years ago was interesting. Three petri dishes were prepared, one with UHT milk, one pasteurised and one raw milk, and left open to the atmosphere. Nothing grew on the UHT sample, it could not support life. Only good bacteria grew on the raw sample, and only bad bacteria grew on the pasteurised one. Why? Well, in the pasteurised sample, the good bacteria once in it, were now all dead, leaving a good substrate ripe for invasion by whatever bacteria were around in the atomosphere, whereas with the raw sample, the good bacteria still in the milk repelled any bacteria that tried to invade! That is fantastic!

I would say that drinking homogenised milk is potentially HARMFUL! Remember, it is only done for cosmetic reasons. The organic movement would like to see this process banned. Firstly, some believe that the smashed up globules of fat become so small by this process, that they are passing straight into peoples bloodstreams, and that is what is clogging blood vessels up. Secondly, a globule of fat is coated in protein. In its natural state and size, the ratio of fat to protein is as nature intended, and is fine for us. However once the fat is smashed into tiny globules they are still coated with protein, but now the ratio of fat to protein is altered as the protein element is now a bigger proportion in that ratio. Some believe that this alteration with there being excess protein is also causing metabolic problems for people.

(taken from

This Week At Farm Direct....

With a proliferation of greens and shellfish in season, the focus is now on light and healthy eating. Think of it as nature's way of encouraging that 'perfect beach body' - just in time for the summer that never comes!

From the coast we have the first of the marsh samphire, razor clams and freshwater crayfish (if you didn't try them last year, mind your fingers!) as well as whelks, cockles and winkles.

From our farms, globe artichokes are ready to pick (tender and beautiful, they will please the aesthetes as well as the gourmet), while spinach (both organic and non-organic) returns after a brief gap in the crop.

There is an abundance of organic lettuces on Gill Wing Farm. They are available at a reduced price this week - lollo rosso, lollo blondo and little gem all £1.29.

With continued heavy rain in the South East our new potatoes are proving particularly tricky to harvest (the soil is like porridge); fingers crossed we will have some for the weekend. Likewise, our calabrese has taken a bit of a battering under it's insulating fleece.

Shokoh returns this week, making the most of our seasonal produce to make: elderflower & apple compote, citrus chicken casserole, Iranian chicken salad, beetroot salad, carrot cake and of course her famous Swedish meatballs.

And finally, after a great response to our free Monday night delivery, we are continuing the offer for the next four weeks. Please try the service and let us know what you think.

Marsh Samphire - The Asparagus of The Sea

Hand picked from the tidal marshes of the East coast, marsh samphire is a succulent, salty, cactus-like delicacy. What was once a common sight in fishmongers, marsh samphire has somewhat fallen out of favour over the past few decades, but is now making it's way on to the plates of gastro-pubs and fish restaurants all over the country. We can't encourage you to try this enough - it is seasonal, delicious and great value (only £1.49 for 125g). To cook, simply wash, bring it to the boil then drench with unsalted butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and cover with freshly ground black pepper. Beautiful.

Monday 11 June 2012

Interesting article on why food is getting more expensive and what you can do about it.
Interesting thought for the day, from super-widely-travelled writer and presenter Simon Reeve:

"We lack something crucial in our modern democracies that is essential to future viability, and that is long term thinking.

I worry that we're going to be a species that gets to the edge of the cliff and doesn't stop. People just don't get what seven billion human beings can do to the surface of a relatively small planet like ours.

I don't see any statesmen out there that are really capable of guiding or leading us to a period of sustainable living."

Lets take these words in in conjunction with this update from Global Environmental Outlook.