Phew! it's been hot this month!
And that meant that harvest started earlier this year - by about 7-10 days. Temperatures were in the late 20 degrees and early 30 degrees with no wind to cool the crops down, the cattle down or even the workers!
The extreme heat has meant that for many farmers including us, crops have ripened faster and all at the same time, so instead of harvesting crops like oilseed rape first, then barley and finally wheat - they've all started ripening at once! which means Andrew has been virtually living in the combine harvester and the workers' girlfriends and wives have not seen much of their fellas, with them having to bale straw well into the night and early morning when temperatures have dropped a bit and a dew has not only made baling any straw easier but also reduced the risk of field fires.
There have been so many reports on the local radio, newspapers and tv - almost daily - of fields of crops on fire, combine harvesters getting too hot in the extreme temperatures, straw balers catching fire etc - it has been a worrying time for many farmers across the country. We have taken lots of precautions to prevent machines overheating, have an enhanced fire protection and prevention action plan in place for all staff and touch wood, we will be fine for the rest of the harvest.
The cows have found the weather too hot at times - but they've managed to find lots of shelter in the fields and thankfully because we all had such a wet spring, there is plenty of water in the resevoir/dew ponds and water troughs. We did make hay in May, but because the heat has been so intense, the grass everywhere has scrivelled and died off, we have now had to break into our winter cattle feed early and are taking hay and straw out to the cattle daily
As you know, I like to support our local farmers and food producers and I am sure the veg growers in our county will be facing their challenges in this heatwave - so I thought I'd like to create a recipe using local veg - enjoy!
Cauliflower & Green Bean Salad (serves 4)
300 g/10 oz broccoli florets
300 g/10 oz cauliflower florets
150 g/5 oz French green beans
6 rashers of dry cured streaky bacon (www.redhillfarm.com)
5 tablespoons Ownsworth’s
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (skidbrookecyder.com)
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard (www.saintsandsinnerspreserves.co.uk)
50 g/2 oz chopped hazelnuts
Shavings of vintage Lincolnshire cheese (www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com)
Finely chopped chives
Salt & Pepper
Cook the vegetables separately in boiling water to al
dente. The broccoli will take about 4-5
minutes, the cauliflower will take about 5-7 minutes and the beans about 3-5
minutes. Drain all the vegetables and place
together in a large serving bowl. Why
not pop to Leadenham Farmshop for
Chop the rashers of streaky bacon into bite size pieces and
fry in a drizzle of rapeseed oil until golden and crispy, before using a
slotted spoon to transfer the bacon bits to the serving dish with the vegetables. Toss the vegetables and bacon together.
In a small jug mix the rapeseed oil, wholegrain mustard and
apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to combine and pour over the cooled
vegetables. Finally add the chopped
hazelnuts a handful of finely chopped chives and some shavings of Vintage
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese. You can
serve this salad with some lemon roasted cod, smoked salmon, cold slices of
beef or simply by itself!