You'll hear us mention the "hunger gap" if you frequent our market stall between now and June. I'm pretty certain I blogged about this this time last year, but here I go again. This funny period is essentially when one season (ie summer) hasn't picked up the baton passed on by last season (ie winter). It's a time for lots of sowing and planting for the months ahead, but also a time for salads, and lots of them. Luckily, we had a great root year last year. The roots are lasting a lot longer then the previous few growing years we had, so the hunger gap isn't as evident, but you'll slowly notice the stall becoming more and more green in the next few weeks. Tasty, delicious leaves. Rocket, Mizuna, Mustard, Lettuce heads (red oak, green oak, cos, butterhead), Spinach, Texel Greens, Dandelion, Catalogna, Chicory, Watercress, Landcress, Lambs Lettuce, Sorrel, Parsley, Tarragon, Mint(s), Sage, Fennel, Chives, Lovage, Thyme, Chervil, Parcel. Yum.
The last couple of years we have started supplying a few cafes & restaurants. Quite a large leap for us. Markets were, and still are our main focus. Selling our produce directly to our customers is how we started out in Temple Bar Food Market 20 years ago, and our variety of veg we grow is mainly down to the encouragement of our customers (and sometimes us trying to persuade a customer to try something a little less usual). In the earlier days, whenever approached by a cafe to supply veg we would have to say no - we could barely meet demand for our own customers at the markets, and that is our main priority. We did however get to a point in the last few years were we have finally caught up with you all (for the most part), and a few lovely cafe owners and chefs pestered us just enough for us to give it a go. Supplying cafes seemed less daunting. They were more willing to work with us then we realised (due to the size of our operation we don't deliver etc.) Seeing chefs, cafe owners and baristas working with a small supplier, arranging a day to pick their veg up on and choosing veg from a list we supply rather then the other way around almost warms the cockles of our hearts.
And sometimes, they give us cake.
PS, it took all my self-restraint to not make this whole blog about our new puppy. A tiny Springer Spaniel, who loves falling in to giant mud puddles, eating whatever veg she is near, and barking at the hens.