Purple haze at Riverford

Last week I was lucky enough to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a tranquil trip to Devon. The motive was to learn about seasonal winter veg at Riverford Organic, based near Totnes.

We were treated to a picking tour around Riverford’s Wash Farm and Home Park, one of Riverford’s brussels sprout suppliers. Guy Watson, Riverford founder, accompanied us around the farm, lending his vast vegetable knowledge on everything from picking techniques to variety characteristics.

We picked brussels sprouts, ginormous swede, rich dark kale, radicchio and beautiful purple cabbages. Most of the veg we saw was from the brassica family (cabbage, kale, brussels), which is extremely hardy and nutritious at this time of year. I was curious as to whether there was any reason why winter veg develops such beautiful purple hues, but it is pure coincidence. A nice coincidence at that!

These pictures will give a better insight into the day, so take a look…

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Organic brussels sprouts ready for the picking at Home Park

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My huge swede, perfect for haggis, neeps and tatties on St. Andrew’s Day!

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The group, including Guy Watson (on the left)

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My beautiful January King cabbage – almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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Radicchio (pronounced with a hard ‘K’), which Guy sauteés with chilli and garlic for a quick pasta dish

image-5With our faces flushed and rosy from a few hours of wondering and picking, we were treated to a fabulous lunch at The Riverford Field Kitchen, where head chef Rob Andrew, cooked up a delicious brussels sprout, kale and roast garlic dish. Perfect for warming the cockles!

image-11I left Devon with three huge bags of organic vegetables to experiment with. Watch this space for the ways I used it all.

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