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Help us buy more land for our community!

December 7, 2020 by General Administrator

Please donate to Canalside Community Food

Canalside Community Food has always relied on the rent of neighbouring Leasowe Farm’s land for our fruit.

Canalside now has the opportunity to purchase an adjacent field of 2.25 acres (see map below) so that we can plant an orchard on land that we own, and safeguard the availability of our own fresh fruit for the future.

At our most recent AGM, we agreed to put £10,000 of our reserve funds towards this purchase. That still leaves us short by between £15,000-£20,000, so we agreed to appeal for donations from the wonderful community that we serve.

We would therefore appeal to anyone who shares our vision and passion for Canalside Community Food to donate what they can for this investment in the future of Canalside and the diversity we can offer.

Not only will this purchase enable us to plant and maintain an orchard on our own land in perpetuity, but it will also increase the value of the current land, and provide a wonderful new area for the entire community to enjoy.

We need to finalise this wonderful opportunity by Spring 2021, and would be extremely grateful for any donation you can make before then.

For further information, please contact Gareth Davies.

To donate, please complete the donation form and we will be in touch with you about making your payment. And as a thank you for donating, you will get a beautiful poster of images from Canalside.

Some of Magali’s beautiful photos of Canalside (not necessarily these ones!) will be used on the poster.

Still available: Job opportunity at Canalside – main grower

November 20, 2020 by General Administrator

We continue to look for a new grower!

Canalside Community Food, a pioneering CSA based outside Leamington Spa, is looking for a new main grower. We are seeking an experienced grower to join our team producing organic vegetables and fruit throughout the year for our community of nearly 200 members.

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the assistant growers, administration team and seasonal staff, as well as the steering committee and volunteers. The main grower will take a key role in organising and leading the day-to-day management of the farm which includes organising and leading volunteer work mornings, working from and adapting an established rotation and cropping plan, operating a tractor and various manual tools, and reporting to the steering committee.

We are looking for somebody to commit to this fantastic opportunity for at least three seasons. We currently have 7 acres of field scale vegetables, 7 large polytunnels for protected cropping and a 2 acre orchard of top and soft fruit. This position is full-time (37.5 hours per week March-October, 30 per week Nov-Feb) with basic salary of £20,229, statutory holiday allowance and a pension offered.

More details and full job description here

Applications by CV and covering letter to mail@canalsidecommunityfood.org.uk.

You are strongly encouraged to contact us as soon as possible to express interest in the role, and discuss the position and application timelines (including visit/interview); we are wanting to appoint at the earliest opportunity so that the new grower can start by the beginning of the new season.

2020: November news – Heart Beets

by General Administrator

It was the final big seasonal workday of 2020, my final one as head grower here, and hopefully the last one we’ll ever have to do under lockdown, fingers crossed… and it was wonderful, with eager beet-pickers of all ages defying the wet weather forecast and ripping red roots from the earth from sunrise (well, it was 10am and there wasn’t any sun, but I’m pleading artistic licence). All in all we picked 990 kilos of which about a quarter is the golden variety. They are all tucked away clamped in sand at the back of the barn – huge thanks to the clamping team, the unsung heroes of the day. Beets store well in this way until June, so there’ll be lots to look forward to in 2021!

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: Mini stuffed squash

November 5, 2020 by General Administrator

I can’t remember the name of the mini squashes we got this week, but I felt they were too special just to cube and roast like normal, so here I’ve found a fun stuffed squash recipe which although aimed at a different variety, I hope will translate across. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
3 sweet dumpling squashes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
8 dates, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cooked quinoa
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 190C.

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. (The seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds.)

Place squash face-down in an oiled baking dish. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven but keep oven on.

Prepare the stuffing while the squash is baking. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onion is translucent. Add pistachios, dates, lemon zest, and cinnamon and sauté for another minute. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Turn the squash upright in the baking dish and stuff with the quinoa mixture.

Cover dish and bake for another 20 minutes.

Serve warm, garnished with extra pistachios or lemon zest, if desired. The peel of sweet dumpling squash is generally tender enough to be eaten.

From https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-quinoa-stuffed-sweet-du-72643

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: October, American style

October 22, 2020 by General Administrator

This year I thought I would do something different with my Canalside pumpkin, so I’ve been looking up pumpkin pie recipes. This may suit small shares better, as some reading has suggested smaller pumpkins are better suited to pie, but I’ll be trying anyway with my massive medium share pumpkin and probably making soup out of the remainder.

Image from sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pumpkin puree (pie recipe to follow below, use the remainder of this for soup)
4-6lbs (1.8-2.8kg) pumpkin makes 5-6 cups puree, 2 cups needed for pie

Preheat oven to 200degC then rinse and pat dry the pumpkin. Cut from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). When you’ve cut through the pumpkin, just pull each half apart. Do this in two parts. Cut one side from the stem down to the bottom of the pumpkin. Remove the knife, rotate the pumpkin to the opposite side then do the same. When there is a slit down both halves of the pumpkin, put down the knife and pull the halves apart. They should separate at the stem.

Scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits. Lightly season the inside of the pumpkin halves with salt then place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a knife in several places and the flesh is pulling away from the skin, 45 to 60 minutes.

Cool until you can safely handle the halves then scoop out the soft flesh into a food processor. Process until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:
Sweet shortcrust pastry (350g approx), chilled
About 2 cups; 450g pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup (240ml) double cream
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk

Method:
For the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. Filling will be a little thick.

Preheat oven to 190°C

Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove 1 disc of pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Make sure to turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute the edges with your fingers, if desired. Brush edges lightly with egg wash mixture. Line the pie crust with parchment paper. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper/pie weights.

Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm pre-baked crust. Only fill the crust about 3/4 of the way up. (Use extra to make mini pies with leftover pie dough scraps if you’d like.) Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, etc.
Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours.

Adapted from: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/35527/easy-pumpkin-puree-recipe/ and https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/the-great-pumpkin-pie-recipe/

Job opportunity at Canalside – main grower

October 19, 2020 by General Administrator

Canalside Community Food, a pioneering CSA based outside Leamington Spa, is looking for a new main grower. We are seeking an experienced grower to join our team producing organic vegetables and fruit throughout the year for our community of nearly 200 members.

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the assistant growers, administration team and seasonal staff, as well as the steering committee and volunteers. The main grower will take a key role in organising and leading the day-to-day management of the farm which includes organising and leading volunteer work mornings, working from and adapting an established rotation and cropping plan, operating a tractor and various manual tools, and reporting to the steering committee.

We are looking for somebody to commit to this fantastic opportunity for at least three seasons. We currently have 7 acres of field scale vegetables, 7 large polytunnels for protected cropping and a 2 acre orchard of top and soft fruit. This position is full-time (37.5 hours per week March-October, 30 per week Nov-Feb) with basic salary of £20,229, statutory holiday allowance and a pension offered.

More details and full job description here

Applications by CV and covering letter to mail@canalsidecommunityfood.org.uk: deadline – noon on Monday 16th November 2020.

Interviews on 28th November to start early January 2021 or asap thereafter.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Pasta with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce

October 15, 2020 by General Administrator

Another very good recipe from Slyvia Fontaine. The creamy carrot sauce colours the pasta a beautiful gold, while the fresh, herby gremolata adds vibrant green. Toasted breadcrumbs provide a contrasting crunch against the richness of the sauce. You would certainly not guess that this is vegan, but you’ll see right away how beautiful it looks in your bowl. The flavours work really well together and I recommend this highly.

Pasta with Creamy Carrot Miso Sauce
Serves 4

Image from feastingathome.com

Ingredients
Carrot Miso Sauce
2 shallots, rough chopped (or 1/2 an onion)
3 large garlic cloves, rough chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g carrots
450ml water
40g cashews
Freshly-ground pepper
3 tablespoons white miso paste

Gremolata
60g fresh coriander or parsley (Sylvia notes you can also use carrot tops)
1 tablespoon lemon zest ( zest from one medium lemon)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 fat garlic clove
70-100ml olive oil

Toasted Breadcrumbs
1 thick slice of good bread, grated, to make about 50g breadcrumbs

250g pasta (Sylvia Fontaine recommends orecchiette)

Instructions
Cook the sauce: Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Saute shallot and garlic until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, cashews, water, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to low and simmer gently until carrots are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of miso and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

While the carrots simmer make the Gremolata: Place coriander or parsley, lemon zest, salt and garlic in a food processer and pulse repeatedly until finely chopped. Add 70ml oil, pulsing a few more times until incorporated (but not too smooth). Add more oil if you prefer a looser version.

Now make the breadcrumbs: place the breadcrumbs in a frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden brown. Set aside.

Bring some water to the boil, and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking blend the sauce: place the carrot-cashew sauce in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on the lowest setting, gradually increasing speed, until fully blended, creamy and silky smooth, which will take between one and two minutes. Slyvia writes: ‘Take your time here and get it SMOOTH!!!’

Drain the pasta and pour the sauce over. Heat it gently if needed. Taste and adjust salt.

Divide among bowls, and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and spoon the gremolata over top. Enjoy with a glass of chardonnay.

Recipe adapted from Sylvia Fontaine, Feasting at Home

2020 – October news: Rat Attack

by General Administrator

Here at Canalside we live in harmony with all of nature’s fauna and flora. However, some animals are getting a bit too harmonious for my liking: someone, or something, has discovered our squashes (which are seasoning in tunnel 3 just now) and invited all its friends and family for a squash party! We suspect the rat, so have set up live traps which so far have failed to entice the offender. Luckily not too many fruits have been lost so far.

Dom van Marsh

Rob’s Recipe of the Week: A reason to buy mace?

October 8, 2020 by General Administrator

Since starting recipes I tried my hardest to avoid running a “mashed swede” recipe but it had to happen eventually… This one looks good, although I’m going to have to go to the shops and buy some mace!

Honey crushed swede

Image from BBC Good Food

Ingredients
2 large swede , cut into 3cm chunks
1 tsp ground mace
100g butter
2 tbsp clear honey

Method

Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Add the swede and simmer for 20-25 mins until tender. Drain the swede, tip back into the pan and add the mace, butter and honey. Season and crush everything together gently with a potato masher.

from: BBC Good Food

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Peas (and Salmon)

October 1, 2020 by General Administrator

Peas cooked with onions and butter make an excellent dish to eat on their own. Add some pan-seared salmon fillets and you have an easy and very delicious meal.

(To pan-sear, dry the salmon carefully and then season liberally with salt. Heat a little neutral oil in a skillet, and when it is hot add the salmon, skin-side down. Press it into the pan with a fish so that it makes good contact with the heat. Cook, without moving the fish, for about 3 minutes, and then flip it over to cook the other side. Cook for an additional 1-4 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your fish.)

Peas with Parsley, Thyme, Butter and Onions
Serves 4 as part of a larger meal.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons neutral oil (rapeseed, sunflower seed etc.)
1 giant Canalside spring onion, thinly sliced (use the whole thing including the dark green leaves)
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups frozen (or fresh) peas
4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
5 springs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped

Preparation
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and the salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, but not brown. Add the wine and allow to reduce until almost completely dry.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the peas and butter and cook until the stock has reduced, and the sauce is thick and silky with butter. Then add the parsley and thyme check for salt and pepper, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Abra Berens, Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables (2019).

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