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  • Seasonal local food recipe No.243 – Frank’s tofu with broccoli

    Posted on September 21st, 2014 Janet No comments

    This recipe is inspired by Ken Hom but instead of deep frying the tofu, Frank just braises it at the end to heat it through. 

    Serves 2broccoli-camel CSA

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

    300 g broccoli
    300g firm tofu, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 tbs olive oil
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    2 tbs coarsely chopped garlic
    3 tbs thinly sliced shallots
    1 tbs Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
    1 tbs light soy sauce
    2 tbs dark soy sauce
    2 tsp sugar
    3 tbs water
    1 tbs sesame oil

    Separate the broccoli into small florets and peel and slice the stems.  Blanch the broccoli pieces in boiling water for three minutes and then immerse them in cold water before draining thoroughly.  Heat the olive oil in a wok, add the pepper, garlic and shallots and stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add the broccoli, rice wine, soy sauces and sugar and stir fry for 1 minute.  Now add the water, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the tofu and heat through, stirring gently as the tofu is delicate and breaks up easily.  Add the sesame oil and serve at once.

  • It’s time to… plant shallots and sow salad rocket

    Posted on April 23rd, 2012 charlotte No comments

    The overwintered oriental leaves that have kept our vegetable boxes going over the past few months are starting to go to seed.

    Instead, we have plenty of mixed lettuce, baby chard, radishes, bright red and yellow leaf beet, spring onions and salad rocket in the polytunnel to look forward to.

    Our three expert growers have also been busy preparing growing beds and planting outside over the past week. As the last of the previous season’s onion harvest went into the veg boxes, the last of this year’s onion sets went into the ground.

    Already planted are shallots, parsnips, beetroot, broad beans, turnips, cabbage, spring onions, radishes, perpetual spinach, garlic and calabrese. Next job on the list is to sow a bed of peas.


  • We’ve passed another milestone

    Posted on February 13th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Our picking and packing team prepared a total of 30 seasonal veg boxes for our members this week – an all-time record.  Plus the box we’re offering in a prize draw at the St Mabyn Pre-School Valentine Brunch.

    A further milestone was reached.  For the first time, all the contents of the boxes were bought in from other growers.

    The fact that we’re buying in such a high proportion of the weekly vegetable box contents at this time of year may seem like an admission of defeat.  But this is far from the case.

    In the UK, community supported agriculture comes in many different shapes and sizes.  There’s no “right” or “wrong” way of doing it.

    As a not-for-profit organisation we rely totally at present on the goodwill of our members, who make up our volunteer workforce.  This will change as we expand and if we are successful in our funding bids to the Lottery and the Local Action Group.

    As we’re working on less than two acres, we’re not in a position to grow large-scale main crops which need constant rotation like potatoes and winter brassicas.  Instead we are concentrating on “high-value” seasonal crops which would be either too expensive to buy in or do not travel well.


    As a CSA, we’re committed to building up partnerships between farmers and the local community, enabling farmers to sell direct to the public, and providing other mutual benefits.  So that’s why we’re happy to include varying proportions of vegetables in our boxes from small-scale, local growers.

    The Camel CSA approach is very much community-led.  It’s organised democratically. Every member has a say in how our project is run.

    The core management group is responsible for all the main decisions.  Under the guidance of our three volunteer expert growers, it works out what to grow, how we grow it, what goes in the boxes, what we charge our members and who should supply us. 

    All our own onions and shallots – in store since last summer – have been used up at long last.  The remaining parsnips, artichokes and carrots are again well and truly frozen into the ground.

    So the carrots, curly kale, onions, purple sprouting broccoli, swede and Brussels sprouts (complete with sprout top!) in this week’s boxes come from Richard Hore at Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick.  

    Richard and his family, who cultivate 30 acres close to the relatively mild climes of the Camel estuary, have done us proud this winter.

    The winter salad bag was supplied by Jeremy Brown, one of Camel CSA’s expert growers.  It contains a selection of baby leaves such as pak choi, watercress, mustard, rocket and spinach from his polytunnels behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.

    The potatoes were grown by Colin and James Mutton of Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn.

  • Seasonal recipe No 29 – Shallot tatin

    Posted on January 29th, 2010 Trish No comments

    We’re nearing the end of the Camel CSA harvest of shallots, so this would be a good recipe to try while you still have some. It’s from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. If you haven’t got enough shallots, make up the quantity with onions.

    Serves 6shallots-camel csa 20100129

    Preparation time: about 20 minutes
    Cooking time: about 45 minutes

    450g shallots
    175g any leftover soft cheese, such as Brie or Camembert
    40g unsalted butter
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp soft brown sugar
    500g puff pastry
    salt and black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Peel the shallots, leaving them whole and cut the cheese into thickish slices. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the shallots and cook for 5-7 minutes if small, 10 if larger. Drain and put to one side.

    Heat the butter and oil in an ovenproof pan or a frying pan with a detachable handle. When the butter has melted, sprinkle in the sugar and allow it to dissolve gently before adding the shallots. Season well and allow them to cook until a rich golden caramel. Remove from the heat.

    Roll out the pastry to a circle a bit bigger than the pan. Spread the slices of cheese over the shallots and lay the pastry over the top, pressing it down slightly all around the edge. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until risen and golden.

    Allow to cool a little and then put a large serving plate over the pan and invert it quickly so that the shallots are on the top with the pastry underneath. Serve warm with a crisp green salad.

  • First signs of spring in North Cornwall

    Posted on January 24th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    snowdrops-Dinham's-Bridge-camel-csa 24-01-10What a relief to see snowdrops emerging in the woods between St Mabyn and St Kew Highway.

    The ground is far too cold and saturated with melted ice and snow for us to start work yet on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s vegetable plot.

    Once the earth warms up in late February / early March our volunteer growing team can begin preparing the ground, spreading compost and planting seed into cells to go in the polytunnel. 

    In the meantime we’re continuing to harvest our own parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and carrots as well as the remaining onions and shallots in store.  The rest of the weekly veg box contents are being sourced locally from growers in the immediate area.

  • They deserve a medal!

    Posted on May 26th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We’re having an extra mid-week volunteer session on Thursday as there’s so much work to do at Camel Community Supported Agriculture.  Charlotte, Kitty and Mike S have already put their names forward.

    carrotsWe need to plant out brassicas, celeriac, parsley and spring onion plants and, if we have time, sow sweetcorn and squash seeds.

    If you’re able to give a hand, we’ll be on the site this Thursday 28 May between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Click here for directions. 

    If you can’t make it on Thursday morning, why not give expert grower Jeremy Brown a ring on 07971762227 to find out when else it might be convenient to help out.

    Medals all round

    Last Sunday’s team deserves special praise.  Everyone got down on their knees and hand weeded. 

    weeding-carrotsThe onion, shallot and Swiss chard beds were comparatively easy to tackle, but weeding the carrots by hand was an exacting and extremely fiddly job. The air was blue at times.  We’ll savour every single one of those carrots when they appear in our weekly vegetable boxes!

    Grateful thanks to volunteer expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark and to their willing helpers – Beverley, Cath, Carolyn, Charlotte, John, Kitty, Mike H and Mike S.

    There’s so much effort going into preparing the first vegetable shares, which should start to be available in mid-June.  A lot of thought is being given to when and how they will be picked, packed and distributed.  

    We’ll be working on the site as usual next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Do come along and enjoy the fresh air and exercise.  It’s not all hard work.  It’s good company – and fun too.

  • Mid-week volunteering

    Posted on May 12th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Members are more than welcome to volunteer to work during the week – not just on Sunday mornings.

    Give expert grower Jeremy Brown a ring on 07971762227 to find out when it might be convenient to help out on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s vegetable beds.  Weather permitting, of course!

    He’s there every day as a member of the farming family who own the land and who have generously offered it rent-free to Camel CSA for the first few months.  He grows his own vegetables on the adjoining plot to sell at St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

    Jeremy can arrange to meet you on the site and explain what jobs need to be done.   These might include sowing seeds in the potting shed, spreading compost on new beds and weeding around our emerging crops.

    pea-plantLast Sunday we got several new beds raked, fresh compost spread and more seeds sown, including an extra row of peas and some more radishes.  We planted out beetroot and chard seedlings and hoed up weeds in the pea, onion and shallot beds. 

    The devastation to the first rows of peas that had to be replaced was caused by the pea and bean weevil, not slugs.  Apologies all round.  Either the resident pheasant or a partridge has been having a go at the spring onions, but the damage is not lasting.

    A big thank you to Sunday’s energetic crew – volunteer expert growers Jane, Jeremy B and Mark N and volunteer members Carolyn, Charlotte, Diana, Kitty, Mike H and Mike S.

    We had a useful discussion during the tea break about the kind of activities we want to organise for the Open Day on Sunday 7 June – Open Farm Sunday.  Any suggestions welcome. 

    Click here to view our entry on the Open Farm Sunday website.

  • Help needed to plant potatoes and onions

    Posted on March 19th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Now’s the chance to get to know your onions!

    We urgently need your help this Sunday 22 March to plant potatoes, onions and shallots on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s site behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.

    Jeremy Brown, of the growers’  team, has taken advantage of the dry sunny weather to form a number of new vegetable beds.

    It’s now up to us volunteers to turn up on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get the seed potatoes and onion sets into the ground.  We also need to spread a lot more of the compost kindly donated by TT Compost at St Teath.

    Some of the stalwarts who turned out on the first volunteer day

    Some of the stalwarts who turned out on Camel CSA's first volunteer day

    Please remember to bring wellies, gloves and waterproofs (just in case).  If possible bring wheelbarrows, rakes and forks as well.

    We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

    If you would like more information or have any questions email Alex at alex@olivetreeevents.co.uk or call Antonina at St Kew Harvest on 01208 841818.

    Click here for directions to the site.