Small harvests – sorrel and artichoke

Sometimes the tastiest harvests, the ones that make me most pleased that we grow our own food, are very small scale. Yesterday, when we were eating fried breadcrumbed mussels for lunch, I was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s sorrel recipes to pick 6 large sorrel leaves and whizz them with a clove of garlic and 3 tablespoons of crème fraiche to make a sauce for the mussels. It was nice and sharp and made an interesting change from squeezing lemon on them.

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Today I noticed that one of the small artichokes our plants are producing was ready to pick. Not a lot between two of us, but it made a very tasty mise en bouche sliced thinly and fried in olive oil. The oil was delicious too, soaked up straight from the pan with pieces of bread!

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Foraging for flavours

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Found in the garden at lunchtime today, some herbs and flavourings to add to a lettuce bought in the market: wild rocket, sorrel, onion shoots, broad bean tops and a mix of herbs, mint, thyme and savory.

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leaves bursting out on the pomegranate bush

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and the apple tree

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the apricot blossom is over, so I’m hoping to see tiny apricots soon.

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And Lo Jardinièr planted out these red onion plants he bought in the market this morning.

>Organic food / La nourriture biologique

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An article on the Guardian website today continues the argument as to whether organic food is healthier. A new report by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reviewed the research for the past 50 years and found that there is no evidence that organic food is more nutritious than non-organic food. Whether this is true or not is a subject of debate, but I think that anyway it misses the point. For me, the importance of organic food is not what is in it, but what is NOT in it – the chemicals that are added to food produced by non-organic agricultural methods. The FSA study does not seem to take into account the long-term health effects of these chemicals, or the effects of these toxins on the planet. As the Guardian article concludes, an EU study found that: levels of nutritionally undesirable compounds such as toxic chemicals, mycotoxins and metals such as cadmium and nickel, were lower in organic crops.

Un article sur le site Guardian continue le débat autour de la nourriture biologique. Un rapport nouveau de l’agence des normes de la nourriture britannique (FSA) dit qu’il n’y a pas des preuves que la nourriture biologique est plus nutritive que la nourriture de l’agriculture traditionnelle. Je pense que ce n’est pas le point essentiel. Pour moi, c’est les produits toxiques dans la nourriture de l’agriculture traditionelle qui font du mal à la santé et à la planète à long terme. Comme l’article conclue, une recherche de l’UE a trouvé qu’il y a des niveaux des produits chimiques inférieurs dans les récoltes biologique.

I think we should be sensible about this when choosing our food. I would prefer, ideally, to eat organic local food and I do when I can. But I think it is better for the planet to eat locally grown non-organic food than to transport organic food long distances.

Je pense qu’il faut être raisonnable. Je préfère manger la nourriture biologique et locale, mais c’est mieux manger la nourriture locale et non-bio que transporter la nourriture autour du monde.

Of course, the best vegetables are those you grow in your own garden or those which are locally grown like the fruit which producers sell at the roadside near here or these wonderful basketfuls of produce we saw in Sant Feliu de Guixols market on our recent trip to Catalunya:

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Shading the sorrel / Donner l’ombre à l’oseille

Our sorrel plants were looking a bit dry in the hot weather, so Lo Jardinièr had a good (and free) idea to shade them. Our local shop leaves vegetable crates outside for anyone who wants them to take them away, so he picked up two and used them to cover the sorrel plants. Just enough light gets in through the slats and the plants are now looking green and healthy again.

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On a donné un peu d’ombre aux plants d’oseille avec des cageots de l’épicierie.
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