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News from the farm

Guy's news: in praise of the artichoke

Having forgotten to buy my twelve year old son a birthday present, imagine my pride and relief when he said “that’s alright dad, you can just give me six jars of your preserved artichoke hearts”. Globe artichokes came bottom in our kids’ veg challenge questionnaire this summer, with only 16% of children having eaten them. Predictably, carrots were favourite, followed by sweetcorn and broccoli. Again, not surprisingly, children of Riverford customers ate a wider range of ‘weird’ veg than those of non customers. It’s seldom cool to be weird, but most children who try artichokes love them, so I plan to persist.

After twenty years of growing globe artichokes, I think I might have finally grown a crop that will turn a profit. I planted this year’s crop on a good field right outside the Field Kitchen where they have been watered, weeded and mollycoddled every time I needed to escape from the office; the result is by far the best crop I have ever grown both in quantity and quality. We had intended to put them just on the extras list but some will go in the boxes as well.

My apologies to those of you who don’t share my enthusiasm for artichokes. Eating them is a performance (an enjoyable one I hope) and brings people together, but with three quarters of the head ending up on the compost heap this is not a rational way to eat. But then food is about much more than efficient feeding. Our chef Jane shares my love of artichokes (and has even paid me the rare compliment of saying that mine are the best) so there are lots of recipes on the website. I recommend you start with plain boiled artichokes with melted butter or vinaigrette.


    Guy Singh-Watson

    Self-confessed veg nerd, Guy Singh-Watson has over the last 30 years taken Riverford from one man and a wheelbarrow delivering homegrown organic veg to friends, to a national veg box scheme delivering to around 50,000 customers a week. Guy is an inspirational, passionate, opinionated and admired figure in the world of organic farming, who still spends more time in the fields than in the boardroom. Twice awarded BBC Radio 4 Farmer of the Year, Guy is passionate about sharing with others the organic farming and business knowledge he has accumulated over the last three decades. His video rants have provided a powerful platform to do this, with a video on pesticides going viral on Facebook to reach 5.6 million views and 91,000 shares. His weekly veg box newsletters connect customers to the farm with refreshingly honest accounts of the trials and tribulations of producing organic food, and the occasional rant about farming, ethical and business issues he feels strongly about.  

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