This is not just VEG…

1/12/2023 | 0 comments

By Roz Hartley

You know it and I know it… eating fresh vegetables, straight from the soil, grown in your own back garden or from the farm down the road, makes your taste buds explode with an extraordinary depth of flavour that can very rarely (I’d like to say never) be matched by a plastic-wrapped, supermarket offering that has been flown or trucked across the globe.
​​I’ve just pulled a home-grown leek from my own teeny, little veggie patch and the fabulous, oniony perfume is still on my fingers as I type this article.

​Yes, there’s a significant amount of mud trapped in its glistening crevices which I’ll need to spend a few minutes washing out, but the payoff is well worth it for the intense flavour that it will give to my soup.

​Leeks are in season right now and are such hard-working little vegetables.

Apart from the complex taste that they bring to a stew, a soup, a pasta sauce, a casserole – they also come with a huge list of health benefits.

​Who knew that they contain flavonoids which protect our blood vessels and polyphenols which protect against cancer?

Thank the Romans, who introduced them to the UK, and believed that eating them could soothe the throat and improve the voice… I feel a song coming on!

The glory of the leek is celebrated nowhere more than in the farm shops spread throughout England. Walk into any one of them today and I guarantee that the display of leeks will have your mouth watering. Lush dark green leaves fading to the beautiful pale green and white bulbs are waiting for customers, freshly picked from the farm.
Picture from Field of Dreams Farm Shop in Suffolk
Eating local, seasonal food should be our battle cry.

Yes, it reduces food miles, reduces packaging, helps the planet but, more than anything, it tastes AMAZING and does your body good. Reaching out to the general public with this heartfelt message must drive more people into the farm shop. 
​Everywhere we are seeing our members promoting the glorious, fresh, seasonal vegetables in their shops, photographing humble, wonky, earthy potatoes and honest, papery-skinned onions.
Picture from Hayhead Farm Shop                                              Picture from Flint & Oak Farm Shop 
One farm shop, Sandy Lane Farm in Oxfordshire, even posted an informative reel on “how to wash your veg”. Consumers used to buying a ready washed, ready-trimmed, insipid, packaged leek from the supermarket may well feel overwhelmed when faced with the fully-clothed variety from the farm so what excellent marketing!

We’ve also seen farm shops offering seasonal recipes to their customers, “how to get the best from your veg” suggestions, what’s freshest this month, number of food miles per vegetable.. lots of innovative ways to  share the love.

Although it might be nice, one does not need a Marks and Spencer’s marketing team or budget to get the message across … 

this is not just a leek, this is a farm shop leek!

​Keep spreading the word, keep growing those veg and keep stocking the shelves! The seasonal eaters out there thank you and we at Fabulous Farm Shops salute you (with a leek, of course!).

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