With the delights of spring looming, the earth’s vitality is becoming more and more apparent. Beautiful blooming flowers are beginning to poke through the crisp snow, and fresh green produce is in abundance and at our fingertips, calling us to rejuvenate, regenerate, and to lift our spirits out of the darkness of winter.


During early spring there's a vast range of nutrient rich vegetables and fruits growing both wild and in our local farms and orchards. Enjoy them in abundance over the coming months, and try to look after your future self by preserving them - in anticipation for the colder months later in the year. Don't forget that wild food is growing all around us, in our hedgerows, fields, alongside river banks and our very much overlooked seashores. Why not take pleasure in spending some time in the crisp sunlight of spring, soaking up some vitamin D and finding some of your food for free?


Handy books to get you out foraging and preserving:



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Eating with the season...


- Asparagus: Low in fat and high in fibre, these tender green stalks are a great source of iron, vitamins B, K & C. Eating asparagus also promotes healthy bacteria in the large intestine and can help reduce bloating. Asparagus are at their best in the UK for eight weeks, from April until June.


- Purple sprouting broccoli: A cruciferous vegetable, regarded to harbour a number of important health benefits. Purple sprouting broccoli contains the phytochemical 'sulphoraphane' (thought to help prevent cancer cells from developing) and may provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A. Purple broccoli is in season in the UK between March and May.


- Spinach: Is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus & Potassium. Eating spinach is thought to benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer cell development and reduce blood pressure levels. Spinach can be found growing in the UK between March and August.


- Rhubarb: Is a great source of fibre and contains moderate levels of vitamin C and calcium. Studies have linked the fibre from rhubarb in the diet with reduced cholesterol levels. Rhubarb is grown in green houses from January in the UK, but is grown in fields from April until as late as July.


- Jersey royal new potatoes: A good source of fibre and vitamin C, starting to grow in the UK (Jersey) from as early as March and can continue until late July.


- Watercress: Is rich in vitamin C, calcium, iron and folic acid. It is a cruciferous plant containing anti-cancer phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and flavonoids. Watercress is also thought to improve the function of both liver and kidneys. Watercress has a long season in the UK and is at it's best between April and October.


'WHY EAT THE SEASONS?

There are a number of good reasons to eat more local, seasonal food:

  • to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat

  • to avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way

  • to support the local farmers & economy

  • to reconnect with nature's cycles and the passing of time

  • seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious'

  • Foods in season contain the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at particular times of the year.

  • If you're one of the one in four people in the UK suffering from hay fever, eating local honey could help to strengthen your immunity by building antibodies through gradual exposure to the local allergens found in pollen.


Read more at: http://eattheseasons.co.uk/why.php


Seasonability table: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/20041


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In honour of this renewing season we've put together some of our favourite recipes, that we think encompass and embrace the wonderful colours and produce of spring...


Kale salad with pickled almonds and shallots: http://makingthymeforhealth.com/farro-kale-salad-with-pickled-almonds-and-shallots/


Chargrilled broccoli with sweet tahini: https://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/vegetable/char-grilled-sprouting-broccoli-with-sweet-tahini-shop


Spring Minestrone: https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/starters/spring-minestrone-with-mint-pesto


Rhubarb buckle: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/rhubarb-buckle


Spiced purple sprouting broccoli with rice noodles: https://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/vegetable/purple-sprouting-broccoli-with-rice-noodles-shop


Spring potato salad: http://makingthymeforhealth.com/spring-potato-salad/


Spring green salad: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/salad/spring-salad-shop


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Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? This means that now is a great time to and a great reason to devote some attention to your diet, and to experience the countless health benefits a more nutrient rich diet can provide... Spring is one of the most fruitful and abundant times of the year for fruit & vegetable produce. In addition to this, many dietary health professionals and nutritionists are providing extra support this month. Check out the 'Eat Right' campaign for more information.


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Don't forget to seek out local farm shops & green grocers that stock fresh/homegrown or local/seasonal produce. The Green House Community Market Letchworth, Baldock Country Market, Hitchin farmers market and Thornes garden nursery in Letchworth (where we source our wonderfully free rage eggs) are a few of our favourites. Try to focus on sourcing an array of colourful fruits and vegetables to eat throughout the days of spring...The more colourful your plate, the more nutrients it's likely to contain!




  • Nourish

Almost all of our food produce is now available all year round, but with noticeable differences in both the flavour and price. This depends on how far and for how long the produce has had to travel. Often fruit and vegetables lose a large portion of their flavour and nutrients due to long durations in cold storage, and ineffective premature ripening.


'In season foods are also higher in vitamins and minerals. When a fruit or vegetable is harvested, it automatically begins to lose nutrients. The further food has to travel, the more nutrients it loses. Not only that, exposure to heat, sun, and air tend to reduce nutrition content even further.'


(Read More: http://www.thelist.com/87556/healthy-foods-eating-fall/?utm_campaign=clip)


There are numerous benefits to eating local, seasonal produce. Lower cost, nutrient levels, freshness and flavour to name a few.


Here are a couple of local grocers that stock fresh/homegrown/seasonal produce:


- http://www.thegog.com/gog-magog-farm-shop-cambridge/#deli

- http://churchfarmardeley.co.uk/

- The Green House Community Market Letchworth, Baldock Country Market & Hitchin farmers market.



Alternatively why not find yourself a mushroom/wild food guide and go foraging to find your food for free this Autumn?


Handy books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mushrooms-Collins-Gem-Patrick-Harding/dp/0007183070/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1507135597&sr=8-13&keywords=foraging+books


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Food-Complete-Guide-Foragers/dp/1447249968/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1507135597&sr=8-2&keywords=foraging+books


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'As the colder months set in, we find ourselves turning to more stodgy foods which in turn leads to weight gain, so here we share some healthy eating tips for autumn'.


There is a huge range of nutrient rich root vegetables and fruits that have the potential to be enjoyed in abundance now, or preserved in anticipation for the colder months.


Apples – The nutrients found in apples can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of a variety of chronic diseases. This fruit is in season during the autumn months and comes in a variety of flavours.

Pears – Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients (essential compounds enhancing one’s health) as the fruit’s flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids.

Winter Squash – Butternut and Pumpkin are just a couple of varieties of winter squash which act as a natural accompaniment to autumn cuisine. Both rich flavour, and high in nutrients, winter squash one of the best buys of the season.

Cabbage – This seasonal vegetable has cholesterol-lowering benefits, and is also rich in fibre particularly when steamed.

Wild Mushrooms – Mushrooms are really great to eat since they can help influence blood lipids, blood glucose, immunity, and weight control. They also offer many essential nutrients and antioxidants which the body needs.

Pomegranates – Considered the ‘jewel of the autumn’ Pomegranates are a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibres. It is also a good source of Vitamin C.

Root vegetables – All different kinds of root vegetables are great – carrots, turnips and swede for example are real nutritional stars in both autumn and winter. Tasty beetroots are also great as they are jam-packed with Folate, Vitamin C and Magnesium.


Read more: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/health/healthy-eating-tips-for-autumn-341419.html#ixzz4uYURN2DT


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An abundance of pumpkin - Pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient, and so often overlooked as a festive byproduct. With an abundance of them from mid October - mid November, why not try utilising this jolly looking, low calorie vegetable that's high in beta-carotene (a plant-based form of vitamin A) which aids vision and healthy skin, potassium, fibre and vitamin C.


(Chocolate/pumpkin and courgette loaf)



Here are a few of our favourite recipes to get you started:



Pumpkin and rice soup - https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/pumpkin-and-rice-soup-recipe.html



Incredible Squash Pizza - http://www.wholeheartedeats.com/2013/12/iincredible-squash-pizza-htmlm1/



Squash and kale salad - http://www.saladforpresident.com/salads/david-kramer-and-hayley-magnus-squash-and-kale-salad/#recipe



Pumpkin and Feta Muffins - https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/pumpkin-and-feta-muffins-recipe.html



Pumpkin miso broth with soba noodles - https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2016/11/pumpkin-miso-broth-soba/