Educational visits at Canalside

April 23, 2024 by General Administrator

What our members say…

April 22, 2024 by General Administrator

Recently we’ve been asking our members what they enjoy about being a produce share member at Canalside. Here’s what some of them have to say:

My family and I have benefited immensely from Canalside over the years.  There is something hugely ‘grounding’ about being at the farm, hanging out with people around the fire pit and getting involved in the growing. It is a great antithesis to  working life on a PC. The veg is tasty and I have learnt how to cook seasonally from what is available. I notice that my teenagers have a broad knowledge of vegetables and eat them willingly!

Annie, April 2024


Collecting our Canalside shares is a high point of the week. I love the the way the vegetables change with the seasons. Eating food that was grown right here, in Warwickshire, helps me feel connected, rooted, in the here and now. Thank you Canalside.

Rebecca, April 2024


I cannot recommend Canalside highly enough. As a member for some time I can say it has been different things to me at different times:

– Always a consistent provider of lovely seasonal veg, grown on site, that supports local employment.
– An opportunity to escape from the daily ‘busy world’ by strolling round the land.
– A chance to get some exercise and fresh air by volunteering in the fields.
– The ability to meet pleasant people from a wide range of backgrounds.
– And, it has broadened our cooking skills as we have tried new recipes to suit the veg provided in any given week.

We feel very lucky to have Canalside on the doorstep.

Martin, April 2024


Today, was like any other Saturday for us.  A drive over to the peaceful, lovely farm to pick up our small share.  We have done this for years now and still the magic is there for us!  It is a community that we love being part of.  The current problems of weather, harvest, rodents are just part of the cycle in our minds. Sometimes we have a huge bounty and other times less.

Please do not get discouraged by this….our community is strong and full of good intentions and I think love for the earth and each other.  Everything each of you do to contribute to this gem of a place is so valued.  So a heartfelt thanks from us.  On we go!

Liz, February 2024


You can read more testimonials as they’re added here.

2024: January news – Busy January

February 6, 2024 by General Administrator

It’s been a busy January on the farm as we work to get the new season underway – our tunnel potatoes are now planted in tunnel 1 into the remnants of last year’s hotbeds spread over the bed thanks to a great couple of volunteer mornings.

At the same time a new load of muck has arrived from a local farm plus we’ve supplemented it with a load of chicken muck from Skye Orchard Eggs (the egg scheme for anyone who gets eggs from the egg shed)  to make our new hotbeds this season so we can generate some heat and sow our first seeds next week.

Despite the challenges we’ve harvested lots of lovely veg from the fields – our carrots have been great this year and we’re still trying to add as much diversity as possible to your share with things like black Spanish radish, cabbages and Jerusalem artichokes. It was great to get a share of fresh claytonia (winter salad) thanks to some serious weeding that we did on the last day before we closed for Christmas.

Meanwhile, rest assured the orchard is thoroughly wassailed (!) as we had a great turn out for our social and orchard work morning, pruning lots of the soft fruits ready for re-growth and abundance later in the year. Many thanks to everyone who came along.

Eleanor, grower

(All photos Eleanor Brown unless credited otherwise)

Veg in the Spotlight: Celeriac – recipes from members

November 28, 2023 by General Administrator

Following on from the Veg in the Spotlight last time, here’s some recipe inspiration from members for celeriac, a sometimes ‘hard to use’ root vegetable.

Thanks to Sarah Biddle for sharing a few of her tried and tested favourite celeriac recipes which she has posted in the Canalside Facebook group – accessible with this link:
Fennel & celeriac soup with orange zest from River Cottage
And 2 from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book ‘Much More Veg’ (full recipe in the FB post)
Roast celeriac, shallots & dates with watercress
Red cabbage, celeriac & apple braise

Thanks also to Celia Russell for this one which she thought sounded delicious!
Pork belly with turnips, celeriac pakora and cauliflower toad in the hole: Ravinder Bhogal’s recipes for British winter veg from the Guardian

And you can find all the celeriac recipes from our recipe contributors over the years with this link.

Veg in the Spotlight: Celeriac

November 14, 2023 by General Administrator

This week is the annual event that is the celeriac harvest, which means this staple root of the winter shares will be pulled from the ground, have some of its spindly roots trimmed off, and then be stored in a sand ‘clamp’ in the pole barn in the same way that the beets were recently. The damp sand protects the root veggies from winter frosts and prevents moisture loss which would reduce the quality of the veg.

‘Clamping’ is a traditional method for storing veg through the winter and is particularly used in regions where the winters are harsh and digging veg out of the ground is not possible for a large part of the winter. For us, a particularly cold winter would also put us in a position of not being able to harvest roots when we need them, and in a milder winter, the frosts we do get can still damage the tops of the roots meaning they would deteriorate in the field. The alternative frost protection for veg left in the fields is a thick layer of straw, but we’ve found that when we don’t get many frosts, the veg underneath starts to rot. It is also a useful storage method when the land needs to be turned to something else (though this doesn’t apply for us). As we are off-grid, traditional storage methods such as these are essential at Canalside to maintain the quality of the veg through the winter and into the spring: we don’t have access to the power/facilities needed for refrigerated storage, as would be used by the supermarkets and veg wholesalers.

With a taste a bit like celery, some people can find celeriac difficult to use, but it’s a very versatile vegetable adding flavour from everything from soups and casseroles to gratins and salads (yes, it’s delicious raw – for example a grated celeriac salad in mayonnaise is a typical French dish that you will find in any charcuterie in France).

If you have any good recipes that you’ve tried and enjoyed, please add them to the Canalside Facebook group to help other members enjoy their celeriac shares this year. Then look out for a round up of recipes in the next news update in a couple of weeks.

Here are two to get you started, from the bank of recipes on the Canalside website:
Hasselback celeriac with miso and red onion
Celeriac pasta ribbons

And you can find all the celeriac recipes from our recipe contributors over the years with this link.

2023: October news – The ups and downs of Harvest

October 26, 2023 by General Administrator

It’s feeling very autumnal on the farm at the moment as we’re in the thick of the main crop harvest season. The last couple of weeks have had some real ups and downs. After a great morning bringing in our squash and pumpkins to cure in the tunnels as usual, unfortunately rodents really went to town on some varieties in the space of one night. This is extremely upsetting after all the hard work to produce them and we are sorry not to provide Jack o’Lanterns this year for Halloween.

The good news is our maincrop squash – Crown Prince, the tasty blue/green one that see us through many months – thankfully went undamaged and we’ve now moved them into storage sooner than planned, so as to protect them. The other good news is our apple harvests have been great and maybe higher than ever. We’ve moved lots into storage and still have more to bring in so do come along next Wednesday morning to help bring in the remainder of the harvest – a good job for all ages.

Eleanor, grower

(All photos Eleanor Brown unless credited otherwise)

Apple pressing and autumn open day, Sat 14th Oct 2023, 11-3

October 6, 2023 by General Administrator

Come and visit our farm for a fun autumn day out!

From 10am: Join in with a seasonal work morning in the fields/polytunnels.
From 11am: Apple pressing – suitable for all ages. Bring your own apples if you have spare from a tree in the garden and/or bottles to take juice home in.
Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the social area/pole barn.
1.30pm: Take a farm tour to find out what we grow.

Event details on Canalside’s Facebook group

Veg in the Spotlight: Autumnal Greens

September 21, 2023 by General Administrator

We’re coming into the season where different types of greens are once again going to make a more pronounced and regular appearance in the veg, now that the spell of frequent shares of mixed lettuce has passed. We’ll still be seeing lettuce from time to time. Check out the recipes suggested back in June if you need inspiration for using your lettuce. The greens we’ll be seeing more often again will include New Zealand spinach (already producing well and for a little while), chard and different types of kale (each with their own particular features: flat leaved, slightly sweet Red Russian kale, grass-green curly kale, dark green, mega iron-rich cavolo nero).

Known officially as tetragon, and having a large number of other nicknames, New Zealand spinach is a relatively recent addition to the range of veg grown at Canalside. It has a flavour and texture much like perpetual spinach (though the stems are more robust), and  has the advantage of being great to grow in late summer and early autumn because it is much less prone to bolting (sending up a flower head and going to seed) in warm/hot weather.

Chard (also known as Swiss chard – with white ribs – and rainbow chard – with white/yellow/pink ribs) is somewhat like spinach/NZ spinach though it has a slightly earthier flavour and slightly more robust texture needing a slightly longer cooking time.

Kale is a member of the brassica (cabbage) family, so is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Brassicas are also the only fruit/vegetable source of glucosinolates, which are the sulphur containing compounds that have been linked to many health benefits including reduced incidence of some cancers. Cavolo nero is the most robust and is therefore ideal for heartier dishes and stir fried.

Any recipe that mentions any of these vegetables could use any of the others – you just might need to adjust the cooking time a bit and accept that the finished flavour may be slightly different if you have used a substitution. Below are some ideas that specifically mention the greens you can expect in your share in the coming weeks. They’re also perfect for adding to any daal, curry or stir fry recipe to up the nutrition and add a pop of green.

Recipes for New Zealand spinach are limited online as it isn’t a very widespread vegetable, although it seems to be growing in popularity in culinary circles! Here are some ideas which could give you some inspiration:
Japanese-Style New Zealand Spinach
Vietnamese-Style New Zealand Spinach

Here’s a very simple pasta recipe with few simple ingredients

From one German man’s bike travels in New Zealand, a gratin recipe

Braised NZ spinach with garlic (and some unusual/interesting ingredients to season it)

BBC Good Food has a delicious sounding array of recipes that use chard, including:
Chard, squash and parmesan tart
Swiss chard gratin
Chick pea and chard tamarind curry
Morrocan chard and lamb pan-fry
The River Cafe’s winter minestroni

There’s a wide range of recipes for kale with an international flavour, collated by Olive Magazine, which includes:
Kale crisps with smoky paprika sal

Sausage and lentils with cavolo nero
Kale, chilli and ricotta calzone
Kale hush puppies with lemon aïoli
Kale fiorentina pizzas
Plus a number of different salads using kale

As always, there is also a wealth of ideas in The Boxing Clever Cookbook  (easily available secondhand for a few pounds) – 19 spinach recipes which could be made with New Zealand spinach, and 15 for curly kale, which could be adapted for other types of kale. Dips, bakes, risottos, sauces, daals and much more – it’s all covered in this one book for these greens. Interestingly there are none for chard!

For recipes for the different greens that Rebecca, Rob, Pip or guest contributors have tried and shared, go to the blog on our website here
or click on one of the links below

If you have miscellaneous items to use in your fridge, and can’t find a recipe to match, you could try out the Oddbox Recipe Generator!

Veg in the Spotlight: Tomatoes

August 18, 2023 by General Administrator

Now that the tomatoes have really got their growing vibe on, we’re getting a significant share of the harvest each week. This is where preserving comes into its own, to allow you to enjoy a taste of summer into the colder months. You can use any type of tomato, and there’s a hack below for reducing the liquid in salad/cherry tomatoes to make them better suited to cooking. However it’s worth looking out for the slightly oval shaped ‘Quadro’ to include as part of your share (we do encourage everyone to take a mix of types/sizes) – it is particularly well suited to sauces and pastes, and is a bit less watery/juicy and more pulpy.

How to freeze (no blanching needed)
This simple method makes it really quick to freeze raw tomatoes, the skins can be removed easily after freezing and if you remove the liquid that comes out when they thaw it makes them better suited for cooking.
Another idea is to slow roast the cherry tomatoes you get and freeze them ready for a batch of risotto, soup or tomato sauce in the winter (no extra ingredients/water means they take up less space in the freezer).

Tomato sauce (can be frozen)
This recipe is an easy one for using plenty of tomatoes!

Tomato confit
This delicious sounding preserve extends the usability of your share of tomatoes as it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. 
Greek briam
An oven baked version of ratatouille, Greek style.
Thanks to Erica Moody for these two suggestions.

Tomato skin powder
If you’re keen on an absolute zero waste approach in the kitchen, why not try making tomato skin powder from the skins you’ve taken off when making something else, to use as a seasoning. You can dry them in a low oven/put them in the oven after turning it off after each use. use a dehydrator, or even put them on racks on a sunny windowsill or in the sun in your greenhouse/conservatory/car. I found they dried well on a rack in my south-facing living room though haven’t yet had the time to convert them to powder for seasoning.

The book that makes a fantastic resource for this glut is How to Store Your Garden Produce: The key to self-sufficiency by Piers Warren. The 2008 edition has instructions for freezing, drying, bottling, juicing and recipes for several different preserves including the unusual ‘tomato butter’ (contains no butter) – a spiced and sweetened preserve. I did make it once, but decided to save my preserving energies for other things! It’s available cheaply, secondhand from online booksellers including World of Books and ABE books.
Drying (adapted from the book): dry in an oven, dehydrator, or if there’s very hot weather on a sunny windowsill/in a greenhouse/conservatory/car. Cut in half, tip off excess juice/liquid, lay on a drying rack (they probably need to sit on a plastic mat/mesh/rack as the acidity might not be great on a normal kitchen cooling rack) and sprinkle with a little salt. The drying process can take up to a day. For storing in a jar, remove when they feel firm and dry. For storing in oil, remove when still a little squishy, pack into sterilised jars and cover with oil before sealing. The book reckons you can keep them for up to 6 months stored in this way.
Here’s a recipe online for oil stored dried tomatoes. You can find others for drying tomatoes – mostly American though.
Juicing: If you have some kind of a juicer, tomato juice will keep for a day or two in the fridge. For longer enjoyment, put juice into freezer bags/zipbags and pack into empty tetrapaks. This way, once frozen they will stack neatly in the freezer without the carton.

And finally, tomato chutney is a great way to enjoy the flavours of summer months into the future. I find chutney generally keeps well for a year or more (I’ve eaten a good chutney 2-3 years after making and it’s still delicious). If you’ve never ventured into chutney making before, it’s an easy preserve to start with. The key things to be aware of are:
– follow the recipe approximately (ie. don’t double the recipe as this makes cooking it enough more of a challenge) – quantities can be flexed according to what you have but it’s a good idea to maintain about the right amount of produce for the quantity of sugar/vinegar
– be sure to cook it until a spoon drawn through it leaves a trail that doesn’t disappear immediately – getting impatient with this step will either cause it to catch and burn on the bottom of the pan due to too high a heat or have a consistency that hasn’t pulped down properly and has too much liquid. This in turn might make it not keep as well due to the ratio of vinegar in particular
– sterilise your jars in the oven at 160 deg C or until thoroughly dry (and lids, though they don’t tolerate the oven as well, so boiling may be better or a shorter spell in the oven)

Here’s a much used tomato chutney recipe from the book Basic basics, given to me years ago by Canalside founder, Tom Ingall.

If you try any good recipes that other members might enjoy, why not share them on the Facebook group?

Fruit in the Spotlight: Currants

July 27, 2023 by General Administrator

The pick-your-own offer for produce share members has been underway for a good few weeks now, and the current abundance is in currants with all three colours being ready for picking. The red and white currants (known in the Tudor period as jewel fruits on account of how they look) offer quick rewards as they’re best picked as ‘chandeliers’ – it’s not only easy to fill a tub this way but they also keep best left on the stalks (in a well sealed container in the fridge they may last up to a week or more!). They have similar flavours and are very closely related, although the whitecurrants are perhaps a little sweeter than the red ones. To strip the currants from the stalks, pull the stalk between the tines of a fork whilst held over a bowl.

However, inspite of the more laborious picking, where else can you get such deep, rich colour and tangy flavour in such plentitude as with blackcurrants? Your patience picking them individually from the bushes will reap you delicious rewards as they are an excellent fruit for making a wide variety of desserts and they also make a fine jam or jelly – the acidity means it should set very nicely.

If you haven’t yet managed any pick-your-own, we’d encourage you to visit the orchard during a collection time LINK soon to enjoy some of this jewelled deliciousness while it’s in season, along with blackberries, jostaberries and mulberries. (Don’t forget to check the board in the pole barn for which row to look in – taking a photo of the board is a good idea.) If you do manage that, why not try one of the recipes from the array below?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has you covered for all the currants in this article which shares recipes for:
Blackcurrant ripple meringues
Redcurrant and raspberry granita
Sausage and redcurrant salad
Summer pudding (one of the most versatile recipes for summer fruit as you can use whatever berries/currants you can get your hands on)

Check out this selection of recipes for redcurrants that take you well past the ubiquitous redcurrant jelly. Redcurrant custard ripple sounds particularly easy and tasty.

Use whitecurrants in recipes for redcurrants, as a replacement for some or all of the redcurrants. Or try one of these delicious sounding recipes:
Whitecurrant jam
Whitecurrant tart – scroll down to find the recipe
Whitecurrant cake

Here you will find all the recipes for blackcurrants that you will ever need.
Cakes and cookies
Puddings and desserts
Frozen desserts

Or a really simple (freezer-free) way to keep some of the taste of summer for later in the year, stew over a low heat until cooked with just enough water to stop them sticking, sweeten if you wish, and pot into sterilised jam jars (as for jam making) straight from the bubbling pot and screw the lid on straight away. The button will go in as the jar cools and you have a cupboard preserve ready for your winter morning’s porridge or a quick dessert with natural yoghurt or custard.

You can also use these soft fruits by themselves / with others to make fruit leathers.

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