Saturday, October 27, 2012

More vegetable happenings and mangel wurzel

Today I took my stuff to the Hamilton Farmers Market again and sold out again. Not a surprise since I didn't have much to sell - I had to take some plants to make up the stall. At least this has taught me to plan better for the spring next time. At least I broke even again this month, for the second time. I am really starting to believe that it won't be long before I am making a profit so I am feeling very upbeat. I just have to pick up my production.

The best thing about the market is that people are starting to ask for unusual things. I love that Hamilton people are so adventurous in their eating. My water chestnuts are taking off, and I have germinated my first lotus plants. If they grow well I will put in a lot more next spring.

I popped in to see the chef at a local restaurant to see if he will be interested in buying some of my produce. It is a small chain so I don't know if he has any say in what is bought but it doesn't hurt to ask. I think I ballsed it up for two reasons, It was lunch time so I knew he didn't have much time to talk to me, and I wasn't expecting him to be able to see me straight away so I didn't really know what to say. Anyway... I just babbled something about who I am and what I have and shoved a couple of business cards at him. I don't think I appeared very professional. Oh well, if he doesn't get in touch it is another lesson learned.

I also let myself down by not remembering to take a copy of the list of produce and prices I gave him so if he does call I will be embarrassed to have to ask for a copy of what I gave him.

Well things are looking up and I hope I break even or more every month from now on.

OK now. to make my blog more interesting I am going to profile a different vegetable or fruit each time. Today it is Mangelwurzel because, well, it just popped into my head and it always attracts a lot of attention at the market.

MANGELWURZEL

This is a large, hairy beetroot. In most countries it is grow for stock feed, but in those countries pumpkin is also often grown only for stock feed. It is a great vegetable but most people only think of it in its pickled and canned form, and even those who grow it don't usually realise how versatile it is.

Mangels come in red and white/gold varieties, but all of them have white flesh - great for messy eaters like me, lol. They are sweet like 'normal' beetroot but grow quite a lot bigger without going woody. They have one or two grooves down the side which are full of hairy roots ( let's call it a beard) which can make them a bit harder to peel neatly.

They can, of course, be pickled like most people know beetroot but they can also be cooked in many other ways - baked, chopped and steamed, grated, mashed, even made into cakes and muffins (Google chocolate and beetroot cake) and curries. Use them instead of 'normal' beetroot in any beetroot recipes. I like them boiled till soft like any other cooked vegetable like cauliflower or pumpkin, then served with a drizzle of butter or garlic butter.

You can steam and eat the leaves but I find them a bit coarse, I prefer sugar beet leaves when I feel like beet greens.


I sold the last of my eating mangels today at the market and have a bed of seeds in and a row of plants to collect new seeds from as they are starting to bolt. I should have more for the market in four or so months.


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