Well the current cold snap is the first to arrive this year, and it comes too late really for the winter veg crops. The mild weather has caused 2 problems for Kent winter veg.
Firstly, the warm weather has allowed many bugs to stay above ground, and as I said in my last post, some crops will suffer from an infestation. Whilst we, and the pickers, try to avoid these plants, we sometimes miss them. Please let us know if you get one. The cold snap may have sent most of them scurrying into the ground so we may be past the worst. As you know, with a lot of our suppliers not using any chemicals to get rid of the pests we may just need to live with it. A small price to pay for not massacring a field with insecticide for a few bugs.
The second issue is more serious, and that is that the warm weather has meant all the crops planted in stages to come on at regular intervals have all bolted and cropped together! Not only does this mean over-supply – some farmers are ploughing cauli back into the ground – but veg that normally lasts through to late March has disappeared already or gone to seed. The wet warm conditions also mean some roots have rotted in the ground…
Of course you could plant again but the chances of it staying warm enough for them to grow is slim, so the fields go bare until Spring planting.
The impact of this is that locally we are starting to run out of produce. A lot of the leafy brassicas, roots, squashes etc have finished. Others such as leeks and caulis have gone to seed or are rotting in the ground. It is with some regret then that we are having to go to other counties in the area to get our produce for your boxes. We still get it as fresh as we can, but we are disappointed it has comes to this. In previous years we have clung to only using Kent veg, and the quality has not been good enough. Understandably we have lost customers because of this, hence we have decided to go further afield. Rest assured we will get back to using only local veg as soon as it comes on stream. We anticipate some purple sprouting soon and of course, asparagus is not that far off, and there is always some early greenhouse crops as well. Currently about 50% of the boxes are from Suffolk/Lincoln etc.
I’ll finish there, and plan for my next post to be much more upbeat. Keep thinking Kent Veg