March 22, 2013

Rain stopped play…….again!!

Well… another week has passed and surprise surprise the weather is again wreaking havoc on us all, we still haven’t managed to drill any leeks and with inches of snow forecast for the weekend the outlook is not looking good, especially for our leek rig gang who are going to be covering the weekend orders!!  The warmer and then colder weather we have been experiencing of late has not helped our existing crops either and the leeks, which are varieties used to more reasonable weather conditions, are not standing up as well as we had hoped.  Who knows, by the time I write next weeks blog, we will have had some sunshine and we may even have started drilling?!?!

March 10, 2013

Rain stopped play

Well the intentions were there for us to begin to drill some leek seed this week, but again the weather has played havoc with our plans and the seeds are still sat snugly in their packets. Luckily it hasn’t stopped play with the rugby and it has become a welcome distraction!! The seeds we planned to drill this week are varieties called Easton and Duraton, they will produce an early crop which is fast growing and high yielding but won’t stand harsh weather. Hopefully once our fields dry out again, we can crack on and get the seed drilled. Fingers crossed for us!!!

March 2, 2013

This week at Willow Farm we’ve welcomed in a new employee who will work for us in the packhouse loading the belt and weighing off the finished trays of leeks. Tim, our production manager, has been away at the NFU conference for two days although I’ve not yet caught up with him to find out how it went. And, finally, we have been able to get moving with some land cultivation and fertiliser application in readiness for the many hours of drilling that’s ahead!!

February 16, 2013

Well it’s been a very quiet week on the farm this week, I’ve been busy getting on with collating the information we require for our LEAF, Tesco Nurture, Assured Produce and other audits. The aim of these audits is to ensure that we meet industry standards and it helps ensure best practice too. They are very time consuming and it’s slow going but when you pass it certainly brings a big sense of satisfaction and a well earned takeaway on audit night too! I had promised to bring you information this week on our plans for seed and planting for next seasons leeks but I’m afraid that will have to wait until next week now…

February 7, 2013

Choosing leek varieties at Willow Farm

It has been a slightly more interesting week for us this week here at Willow Farm as it is the time of year for the seed companies to come calling… Last year we grew 22 varieties of leeks, including some trial varieties.  Each variety has is its own particular attributes such as the ability to withstand very cold/poor weather conditions and others such as their length, weight, speed of growth and their resistance to disease and pests.  At Willow Farm we drill leeks from seed and also plant small plants (called transplants) for our early crop, which are usually ready for harvest in mid July/August.   By next week decisions will have been made and orders placed and next week I’ll tell you about the leek transplants and how our little seedlings are doing…

January 31, 2013

Nichola Carr’s week

As far as the week has gone, it’s been a very quiet one for us, nothing has broken down, no employee dramas, and apart from having to deal with the joy that is HMRC, no major administration issues, perhaps I have tempted fate by saying this and I will let you know next week…?
Well I’m afraid that’s it as I have to sign off and prepare for having friends over for dinner, I’m cooking a Pork, Leek and Stilton Pie and it is delicious (and surprisingly easy to cook) so look out for it on the British Leeks Website!!

January 23, 2013

Welcome to Nicola’s blog

Hi and welcome to a new feature for the British Leeks website. I’m Nicola and each week my aim will be to fill you in on the comings and goings of life at Willow Farm, a Farming (and Leek) Enterprise located in the watery Fens of Lincolnshire, although looking out of our office window now, we have more snow than water!! The wintertime and snow brings us many challenges as when the leeks and the ground freeze, we can’t get the leeks out of the ground and they can become very brittle and damage easily.  At Willow Farm we take a two pronged approach to the harvesting and packing of our leeks: some are lifted mechanically into bins and trimmed and packed indoors in our Packhouse, whilst some of our crop are trimmed and packed out in the field on a mobile Rig.  Needless to say, the Rig workers are not keen on the snow and freezing conditions either!!  In sharp contrast, the younger generations living on the farm are loving the snow, much to the annoyance of their Dad and Granddad who can’t wait for the snow to disappear. We have four generations living on the farm, aged from two to 89 years and each week I will introduce a different member of the farming family and  I am sure we will be able to keep you entertained with their exploits both on and off the farm….

October 30, 2012

Shop Seasonally for Great Flavour and Budget Beating Recipes

The new British leek season is here (November-April). With rising food prices leaving us all feeling short-changed at the checkout, what better time to rely on fresh, seasonal British produce to keep the flavour on our table and the pennies in our pocket.

Delicious dishes don’t have to cost the earth. Try one of our brand new ‘Recipes for Under a Fiver’ a delicious suite of recipes that cost less than £5 to feed a family or four.

Developed by Jane Hornby former editor of BBC Good Food magazine and author of ‘Good Food: Budget Dishes’ for affordable and easy to prepare solutions for the whole family. Feast on: -

Spiced leek, potato and lentil soup,
Squash, leek and lemon risotto,
Leek, chorizo and goats cheese tortilla,
Pasta with leeks, chilli and prawns,
Hearty leek and lamb cobbler,
Bacon wrapped chicken with leeks, peas and basil.

If you love the idea of shopping seasonally and saving at the supermarket, read on for some more thrifty tips:

• Pays to plan – planning your family’s meals for the whole week will mean less wasted ingredients
• Favour fresh – fresh ingredients, such as lovely fresh British leeks, are much more economic than pre-prepared meals – and likely to be far more nutritious
• Stay simple – stick to tasty but simple dishes that don’t require a trolley full of fancy ingredients
• Waste not want not – get creative with leftovers. Older fruit and veggies make delicious smoothies or soups
• Online only – shop online to avoid being tempted by (often naughty!) extras
• Supermarket survey – investigate different supermarkets for price and quality

For more thrifty shopper tips or to download our brand our new British leeks’ recipes and photography, visit