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MESSAGE IN A MUFFIN


The month of May brings new flavours and a sense of order into family life, explains BRIDGET COWAN


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T SCANDINAVIAN SHOP


alk about a ‘hungry gap’ to my kids, and they think you are talking about the short time between a snack after school and tea. But in farming terms the hungry gap is more serious. It means the stores of winter veg are running low but most of the new crops aren’t ripe or ready, which is why the bridging crops of asparagus and rhubarb are such a delight. Bringing flavour and vigour, they herald the start of all the summer crops. May, with its sunshine and warmth, has always been one of my favourite times of year but I have noticed something else since we have begun to eat more seasonal food. It’s a time when I really look forward to the return of these familiar favourites. Chopping, cooking and eating them again, at the right time of year, brings a sense of comfort and order to my otherwise chaotic life. Take asparagus carbonara, for example. I have been thinking about this, in a vague sort of way, for a few weeks now. Then the asparagus arrived, I made supper in 10 minutes and everyone loved it. And that makes me happy. But then my kids love asparagus – they love snapping the woody stems and dipping the tips in runny boiled eggs or digging around in the pasta to find the last spear.


But rhubarb is another matter. Mostly they just scoff at it. But last year I tried baking rhubarb muffins and it was a game changer. They were genuinely excited by them, and I can see their point – the chopped rhubarb cooks to a deep pink and looks like rose petals in the muffins. So last week, when they


found the rhubarb muffins cooling on the cake rack, they were delighted. “Oh, it’s those muffins again... with the pretty pink bits!” said the youngest.


And with that I realised something. Even without me banging on about the importance of seasonal eating – that it is good for the countryside, for farming and for our health – they are learning to love the changing food of the seasons, because they love the food. So, for now, I will stop with the lectures and stick to making seasonal muffins… it’s clearly a much more effective way of getting my message across.


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Find lots of easy, delicious rhubarb and asparagus recipes on www.riverford.co.uk


To order seasonal specials such as asparagus and rhubarb, as well as our usual organic meat and veg go to www.riverford.co.uk or phone the farm on 01803 762059. Try a weekly or fortnightly delivery, and receive a free copy of the Riverford Farm Cookbook with your second order – just quote “Crumbs”.


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