We’ve got a new menu out!
This month one of the ace products we’re using is KP ham from Tempus- alongside asparagus from the Fens. It’s been a cold spring, so generally veg seems to be running about a month behind schedule. This means asparagus is still at its best. The exception to the month-delay rule is tomatoes, which are grown undercover on the Isle of Wight and thus already tasting good, reminding us of the fresh flavours that are to come. We even got hold of some British strawberries already! We’ve put these in the ice cream sandwiches, mixed up with basil and served between house-milled shortbread. Worth a try!
The keyword for all our menus is ‘seasonal’… 10 years ago I thought the definition of Seasonal Food was Toblerone at Christmas. Perhaps if you live in the Alps Toblerone is a seasonal food. Or perhaps you eat Toblerone all year round because you can. Either way, Wandsworth doesn’t easily fit into the alpine confectionary Venn diagram… HOWEVER, seasonal food is still at our fingertips and is a great adventure! Here are some notes on how we put together a seasonal menu:
Over the last 10 years we’ve honed our intuition as to what will be in season based on previous menus, attention to grocers’ lists and a bit of time on instagram (try @suttoncommunityfarm, @organicleacommunitygrowers, @langridgeorganic…)
As we prepare for a new menu we might start by scouring the Langridge Organic weekly pricelist. This will give an idea of when the floodgates open on certain things (like asparagus, kale, courgettes, etc). Sometimes these things false-start but generally we leave it to the last minute to make menu decisions so we know that we can use 100% British produce.
Where Langridge are a wide-scale distributor for Organic veg, Sutton Community Farm are the opposite: they’re small and intricate and the communications around what’s available often happen by text message. It's the dream Farm-Table scenario: authentic, non-homogenous and deeply sustainable. Where possible we’ll base a menu around what SCF are growing as it’s hyper-local and will be seasonally accurate to within days.*
Once we’ve got an idea of the veg, we’ll dream up some combos and ask some more questions: Do we need other veg in the mix? Could we use some foraged ingredients in the mix (samphire, wild mushrooms, wild herbs…)? Are there special cheeses or charcuterie that would go well with this? Do we want to adapt a recipe or include hot sauce, pesto, vegan mayo…? In short: what are the combinations that will make pizza history?
After we’ve sketched out some decisions we’ll trial the pizzas, often at team meeting, and once we’ve discussed the results and made some adjustments we’ll finalise the menu!
If you don’t already do it, buying food in season is a great way to eat the best of what’s on offer. It never gets boring, you’re guaranteed to get more nutrition and you’ll be part of a legacy of ethical change in agriculture.