Wednesday 29 February 2012

What's in the boxes, Nanna?

What's in the boxes, Nanna?

Nanna Nielsen was baking bread rolls when I called by to ask her about Aarstiderne. I had seen the crates stacked up outside her front door and this was how I first came to know about the farm in Humblebæk and the home delivery service of fresh organic fruit and vegetables.

Nanna is a film maker and she lives in Østerbro with her partner, Jakob, and their 3½ year old twin boys. For medical reasons, Nanna can only eat organic food and has struggled to find what she needs in the local supermarkets.

Early every Wednesday morning, Aarstiderne delivers a mixed fruit and vegetable box outside Nanna's front door. Every week, all the food gets eaten and nothing gets thrown away. Even with a freelancer's schedule, food shopping is a challenge and when the twins arrived this left even less time to find good quality organic produce. Two years ago, Nanna started her mixed box subscription as the home delivery concept appealed purely from a convenience point of view. Now she says she is not only pleased with the good quality of the food she receives and the fact that the delivery is always on time, but the boxes have changed the way she goes about preparing meals.

Recently back from holiday in Thailand, Nanna and her young family are well travelled and she hardly ever cooks Danish meals. She prefers to cook Middle Eastern and Asian food. Before she began using the boxes she had a repertoire of recipes but she says that it was a hassle to think of new dishes and then source the ingredients. Tucked away in her weekly box of organic fruit and vegetables, there is a booklet of recipes developed by the chefs at the Aarstiderne kitchen: Thomas Hess, Sanne Venlov, Søren Ejlersen and Louisa Lorang. Nanna sometimes uses these but she also now looks to the food (particularly the vegetables) that she has delivered as a starting point for finding new meals. When she first started her subscription, Nanna was excited about discovering new recipes and far from being a hassle, she now enjoys finding and experimenting with new dishes.

With most of the fruit and vegetable shopping taken care of, this leaves more time for other things and with this new approach to her meal planning, Nanna manages to spend little more than 30 mins cooking a healthy organic meal for her family every evening.

[Katherine Ball]

Sunday 19 February 2012

Harvesting in January

Thanks to Denmark's position on the globe we know that the weather can vary a lot even on a daily basis. Yet it has been quite remarkable this year, so see such a large difference between the winter of 2010/2011 and the winter of 2011/2012.
Last winter was very long, we had record minus temperatures and with that lots of snow. This year winter - until now - has not offered a single day with frost. Such a difference in the weather does of course affect the plants on our farm.
Yesterday - 19 January - we harvested lettuce for the first time. Last year our initial harvest didn’t take place until the 25th March! It's a very big difference, which makes it quite impossible to plan production / harvesting of this - otherwise beautiful - crop. Lettuce seeds are sown at the end of September and grow at very low temperatures.
There is much lamb's lettuce grown in France, where it is harvested throughout the winter, but they benefit from being a little warmer than us here after all. The picture is Kestutis, who is about to collect the lettuce.


Saturday 18 February 2012

Eggs and Urban Farming

Things take time. In early summer we became the proud owners of four chickens. What with the construction of a hen house and all sorts of other chicken chores to be done it took a while before we were ready to welcome them home. It has been a continuous learning process since we did, primarily learning to remember to close them in at night. I was unfortunately woken one night by the hens shrieking, thery had been joined by a fox. Tragically the fox got one while I ran desperately around the garden trying to find out what was happening.

A few weeks ago we faced another incident. The chickens run freely around the garden each day, happy to explore their surroundings. This time following a visit from our postman who forgot to shut the gate behind him, the hens were free to explore even further afield and we lost our second. We contacted animal protection but had no results - imagine how surprised we were when it returned voluntarily a week later.
A few days later came the first egg. Hooray for Winnie, Gunna and Lisbeth!
There is still a long way to go before we are self-sufficient - but we heading further and further in the right direction.

Omelets and pancakes coming up

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