Forget that parsley – and those miserable little chard shoots which failed to grow into anything remotely edible… I no longer need them! I have just discovered Farm Direct, a delivery service in Islington which collects produce from local (max. 70 miles from London) farms and delivers to your door.
Well, no big deal, you might say – there are loads of such services around. And no doubt there are but, to my shame, this is the first time I have actually used one – although, in fact, on this occasion I went to their little warehouse in Islington to buy and collect rather than be delivered to. The principle is, of course, impeccable. The produce comes straight from the farm – minimum food miles, maximum freshness and fewest possible intermediaries between farmer and customer. What impressed me was the quality and originality of the products.
For £35ish I bought several bags of curly kale (for the new Vitamix smoothie maker…), wonderful baby fennel, beetroot with greens, fresh gooseberries, tomatoes (and I mean ‘real’ tomatoes with taste…), tender young broad beans, to-die-for young snow peas, apples, three home-made pork pies, bacon, purple spring onions, cabbages, sea purslane (a sort of flat leaved cousin to samphire) and an enough-to-feed-three pack of monkfish liver, for a mere mouthful of which I would paid £35 in Japan or New York!
The monkfish liver awaits me tonight but we have already gobbled up the snow peas, two pork pies, several tomatoes (served with the fresh fennel fronds and the purple spring onions) and the snow peas. And now I just cannot wait to go onto the Farm Direct website and see what might be available next week – especially since, on the website I will be able to see which farm the products will come from and read all about that producer.
Grow your own veg? Nah! I’ll stick to flowers and let those guys who have come to such a productive accommodation with vegetables grow them for me….