The Bountiful Winter Harvest
The days are shorter and colder, the layers worn never enough, but we are delighted to report there are plenty of seasonal vegetables which thrive in these conditions and the garden continues to yield an abundance of produce.
December will see a harvest of kale, red cabbage mars, green savoy cabbage and rows of leek. White Lisburn spring onions, sown in October, is a hardy variety giving us an extended growing season. Short, stout, sweet Paris market carrots are a particular chef favourite – these beauties are just made to accompany our signature beef wellington.
The beets (including this beautiful boltardy pictured) are plentiful this month. Chef will pickle them and they’ll be found on many a dish on the menu – if you’re staying at the lodge, you’ll likely enjoy them in a restorative drink at breakfast too.
We are lucky enough to have four polytunnels in the gardens at Virginia Park Lodge which hugely extends our growing season and will feed the ‘hungry gap’. The tunnels are now seeded with 2500 messidor and vallelado garlic bulbs, kale and spring onions. During winter, the cool temperature in the tunnels is the perfect climate for oriental salad, which makes an excellent garnish and to the chef’s delight, we will continue to harvest mizuna, mibuna, winter purslane, pak choi and salad mustards.
Our crop of veronica romanesco is the pride of tunnels this season. A uniquely beautiful cauliflower, this particular variety holds its colour brilliantly when cooked and is has a nuttier flavour than the more common variety.