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Some Like It Hot!

Meet Scott! He’s growing chillies here in sunny Cornwall for you to enjoy, and we’re so proud to be able to support his business. 

Chillies have some amazing health benefits. The compound that makes them so spicy is known as capsaicin, and research has shown that eating capsaicin can help to reduce blood pressure, ease aches, pains and inflammation, balance blood sugar, increase metabolic rate promoting healthy weight management, and fight cancer causing toxins. Chillies also have antibacterial properties, and when we eat them our brains release endorphins, feel good chemicals which help us to relax. With heat levels ranging from no heat at all to blisteringly hot, a variety can be found to suit all palettes.

The chillies we supply in our veg bags are grown for you by Scott and Rachel at Cornish Chillies Ltd, on a farm in Summercourt; just a handful of miles down the road from us.

Friends for over a decade, both worked in the public service sector and needed a change. As good friends do, they began to dream about possibilities. Rachel had always wanted to run a horticultural business, and Scott had an obsession with chillies.

In 2014, they made the very brave decision to follow their passion, and founded Cornish Chillies Ltd.

The young business is going from strength to strength. Starting out with just 80 plants, they now have over 2000, and grow 38 different species of Chilli pepper, including the current Guinness world record holder for the hottest rated chilli on the planet, the Carolina Reaper. The ‘Reaper’s’ average rating on the Scoville Scale is 1.6 million SHU, with a peak rating of 2.2!

Scott and Rachel don’t only grow chillies for their fire factor though, and one of Scott’s favourite species is the Apricot Chilli, a mild but very flavoursome habanero variety. He also likes the Aji Limon, which has a citrusy taste and a beautiful lemon yellow skin.

Growing under cover of poly tunnels, which allows consistent temperature control, the farm practices natural, organic and sustainable growing methods, watering the plants from a chemical free spring, and using compost from Cornwall Green Waste.

Seeds are sown in December, and the first chillies are ready  in late May/early June.

The seeds used to sow the farms first plants were bought in from America and Australia.  This year though, for the first time, Scott and Rachel have harvested seeds from their own plants to grow. Eventually, they hope all their plants will be grown from their own seed, meaning a truly Cornish Chilli through and through.

Currently, as well as supplying a few select retailers, such as ourselves, with pre packed fresh Chilli mixes (mild, medium, hot and extra hot), Cornish Chillies Ltd work with and supply a number of restaurants throughout Cornwall. Always happy to talk about Chillies, they love to advise chefs on the best variety to use to enhance a particular dish.

Scott’s vision for the future is to continue to expand the farm and be able to provide employment for local Cornish people.

He would also like to run cookery workshops, a masterclass in techniques for bringing out the best from your peppers, and also hopes to work within education, teaching children the amazing health benefits of eating chilli peppers, and cooking using fresh ingredients.

Scott and Rachel, thanks for spicing up our life!

 

Seasonal Eating

Back in May I celebrated the start of the summer season with a glass of lovely bubbly, and the first of the year’s Cornish strawberries. Our soft fruits are grown for us by Mitchell Fruit farms, just 6 miles away from Real Food Box HQ. We’ve been popping punnets of these in our seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, and I hope you are enjoying them as much as I have!

No other food encapsulates the feeling of summer for me quite like a strawberry, and the taste of a freshly picked British strawberry is just sweeter than anything else on earth.

As I sat outside, sharing those first berries with friends, enjoying the sound of the birds and the heat of the sun on my face, I reflected that my strawberry was all the sweeter for not having had one for months.

I’ve made a real effort this year to only eat local seasonal produce.

I wanted to eat food at the peak of its flavour and nutrition, whilst supporting my local economy and reducing the environmental impact of my shopping choices. I’ve found that you get more value for money if you eat this way, as it costs less to transport food down the road than from another country. I’ve found that my food tastes better and stays fresher for longer. But an unexpected and welcome benefit is that I feel re connected with nature’s cycle and the passing of time.

This winter seems to have really dragged on, and it’s been a cold, damp and sometimes snowy affair. Our veg bags have been weighty with crunchy carrots, sweet parsnips, potatoes and swedes; the staples for a filling meal to warm the belly and the soul as the daylight dwindles. Succulent pies smothered in onion gravy, slow cooked casseroles, tray baked roots sprinkled with heady herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage. Food that sticks to your ribs. These hearty dishes have nourished us through short days and dark nights, and provided comfort in the cold.

Then suddenly the veg bags felt much lighter. Crispy lettuce, exotic woodland mushrooms, vibrant rhubarb, and of course strawberries have come into season. A new bright and airy palette of flavours, textures and colours to create meals with that leave us feeling light and energised.

As the days lengthen and the temperature rises, there’s a tangible feeling of excitement in the air. My thoughts have turned to long walks on the beach with my dog, picnics in the park, woodland bike rides, balmy evenings floating in the silvery surf, festival fun with friends. So many adventures ahead to enjoy. This year though, I’m equally looking forward to the first asparagus and new potatoes. Fresh peas and peppery radish. Foods I will relish all the more, knowing that they, like the summer sun, are of this moment and will soon be gone for another year.

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and above all tasty summer season!

We’re striving for plastic free…yippee!

Here at Real Food Box, we’re proud to deliver fresh, seasonal, locally grown and great tasting produce direct to your door.

Most of the fruit and veg we supply is loose in our #vegbags.
It comes to you in it’s own natural wrapper, as Mother Nature intended.
But to reach you in tip top condition, some items need to be bagged for protection.
Soft fruits and delicate leaves for example.

Plastic packaging has been used by manufacturers for decades, and can, of course, help to keep food hygienic, fresh and protected.
But pollution from single use plastic is swamping our seas, destroying our delicate ecosystems and wiping out our wildlife.
As food retailers, we believe it’s partly up to us to get us out of this mess, and provide great taste without the waste.
And so we have decided that enough is enough…We want to help turn the tide.

From this week forward, we have replaced plastic bags with paper bags in our Seasonal Fruit & Veg Boxes.
The bags are recyclable, and you can also put them in your compost!
Any produce that we bag onsite will be packaged in these bags.

Inevitably, some of our produce is still being delivered to the farm already packaged in plastic.
We are in constant dialogue with our producers about our wish to eliminate plastics from the supply chain.
The production and packaging systems already in place will be costly to re-structure.
Changes won’t happen overnight, but we continue to push for the change that is so desperately needed.
We hope that our current and future customers can be patient with us whilst we come up with alternative solutions.

We’re excited that the conversation has started, and committed to bringing about the change we all wish to see.

February 2017 News

Welcome to the Real Food Box blog!

Change to Order Deadline

From Friday 10th February, the order deadline will move to 9am.

The day will remain the same, but it has become necessary to move the deadline from 3pm to enable us enough time to process all of your orders!

News from The Farm

Despite the cold and the wet, it’s busy as ever on here on Trevilley Farm.

The first of our early spring lamb were born and both mother and lamb are round the back of the shop – feel free to say hi if you are popping in to the shop.

Our Kale and Purple Sprouting Broccoli crops continue to thrive.

The PSB will continue to feature in the Seasonal Fruit and Veg Boxes most weeks whilst the crop is at its best. Remember that you can substitute it out if you’d like to though!

PSB can be cooked exactly like regular broccoli; the leaves and the stem are all edible, just remember to trim off the larger pieces and then cut the stem so that it cooks in the same time as the main plant.

We love it stir fried with ginger and garlic!

We have some spinach and chard planted and we hope to be able to include some of this in the Veg Boxes from March.

New Products

We are always on the look out for new products to include in our range.

This week we added Gluten Free Self Raising Flour and Gluten Free Bread Flour.

Recently, my children Isla, 8, and Lleyton, 7, invested their pennies in to 12 quails that we now keep on the farm, so that we can sell their eggs. They are delicious and rich in flavour, but quaint and little!

We have them at a special price at the moment, only £1.50 for 12 eggs! Give them a go!