As the seasons change…

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Suntan apples
How we go about stocking up the VegVan has changed a lot over the last few weeks as we’ve seen production from our field slow down considerably. Back in August 80-90% of the fresh produce on the van was grown by us — now it’s down to 20 or 30%.

Oxford’s other local organic farms are helping us fill in the gaps admirably at the moment. We’re getting a lot from North Aston Organics and Tolhurst, and although Sandy Lane are also at reduced capacity at the moment they’re still providing potatoes-a-plenty. In addition we have stock from Springhill Farms and Garden, the Little Salad Company and others on occasion.

However, we’re finding that over winter we probably will have to start getting more produce from sources outside of Oxfordshire. It’s something we can work on as a movement over the next couple of years to boost availability of local winter produce, but for now at least we’re looking to organic farms further afield to ensure a good range for members and customers. Today we’re going down to Choice Organics wholesaler in London to inspect the range and bring back a few delights, and we’ll be looking for ways to maximise the efficiency and reduce the transport miles associated with getting hold of produce from further afield over the next few months.

But fear not you can still expect the majority of the produce on the VegVan to be from local sources for a good while to come. We’ve just ordered the potatoes and apples for the week, all local, and here’s a preview of what’s coming in:

For ROASTING: Cosmos (Sandy Lane) – A great all-round potato for boiling, mashing, roasting, excellent flavour and floury texture.

For BOILING: Milva (Tolhurst Organic) – Good salad potatoes; long oval tubers with waxy yellow flesh and good flavour, delicious both hot and cold.

Over the last few weeks we’ve also had in stock:

Nicola (Sandy Lane) – Great salad potatoes, a dutch variety with yellowy skin and flesh and a slightly buttery flavour.

Romano (Tolhurst Organic) – Red skin but white inside. They’re a good all-rounder in the kitchen.

Charlotte (North Aston) – Small, waxy salad potato with pale yellow skin and buttery yellow flesh. The most popular salad potato variety in the UK.

And on the apple front this week we’ve got two new varieties for you to try, both from local growers Waterperry Orchards, all of 12 miles away from the centre of Oxford.

Suntan: A modern cultivar, red-striped rich and juicy but without the nutty overtones. Produced by crossing cox within court pendu plat. Sharper than cox.

Orleans Reinette: A russet-skinned apples (like the Russets and Ashmead Kernel we’ve had over the last few weeks) with a complex taste… e.g. “first, a citrusy tartness well-matched with sweet; also refreshing acidity and notes of tangerine and honey. Then a nuttiness that asserts briefly, ending with a neutral vegetable taste from the peel.” … See this web site for more gratuitous apple-based wordiness.

See you on the van!