Recipe of the week: sweet glazed pork

A simple recipe by Good Food, photo credits Jamie Herzlinger.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • splash orange juice
  • 4 pork loin steaks or chops, trimmed of fat
  • 4 heads bok choi, halved lengthways

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the five-spice powder, honey and enough orange juice to loosen, then smear over the chops. Leave to marinate for 10 mins.
  2. Heat grill to medium, then grill the chops for 4-5 mins on each side, basting with any leftover glaze, until cooked through.
  3. Steam the heads of bok choi for 2 mins until wilted. Serve with the pork chops, drizzled with any juices and glaze from the grill pan.

Recipe of the week: eat your veggies fritters

An incredibly tasty dinner with some of your favorite FarmDrop produce, variation on a recipe by Trina B. Photo credits Trina.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 spoons of flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of paprika

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat and crumble. (Set aside a bit of bacon fat to fry the fritters with later)
  2. Grate the zucchini and carrot and chop the green onions.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg, then add in the zucchini, carrots, green onions and stir
  4. In a separate small bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt and paprika)
  5. Now pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl. Stir, then combine mixture with hands
  6. Next sprinkle in the crumbled bacon and combine
  7. Heat the reserved bacon fat (or oil) in a non-stick skillet over medium heat
  8. Scoop up the batter and form into about 5 individual patties
  9. Carefully place 2-3 patties in the skillet at a time with heated oil
  10. Fry each patty 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden
  11. Note: you may want to reduce the salt if you’re cooking fritters in bacon fat
  12. Serve hot and enjoy!

FarmDrop update: More great press & some fantastic new investors

Hi everyone,

      

Ben here, one of FarmDrop’s founders. We just wanted to give you a bit of an update on our Crowdfunding campaign.

It’s just over 2 weeks into the campaign we continue to be amazed by how well it’s going.

Last week we crashed through our £400,000 target with more than 240 individuals now having invested more than £465,000 in total.

We’re delighted not just by the number of investors but also the reasons they’ve given for investing. Richard Fearn, director of the Friday Club says, ‘What I love about FarmDrop is that they’re not some dark tech overlord mowing up the high street. They’re using technology to get a better deal for the farmers and for shoppers, all the while having a positive impact on our sense of community.

We were also delighted to receive investment from Edd Reed, one of the founders of Graze, the hugely successful food-tech business.

Adrian Melrose of Rosery Farm in Suffolk also invested last week, tweeting: ‘I’ve invested in your CrowdCube Round. I produce rare-breed pork (amongst other things)… I can see the model so clearly!’. Remember, for Adrian and all the other producers who invest we have some great rewards. You can invest anything from £10 upwards and we’d love to have you on board. 

Don’t forget that with all the founding directors and employees participating in our Crowdcube round it’s good to know that you’re also investing alongside the people who see FarmDrop from the inside everyday. 

The window of opportunity will remain open a short while longer so please pass this to anyone you’d be sad to miss out. And remember, the more investment FarmDrop receives now, the faster we can turn FarmDrop into the next big thing in UK food retail. If you’d like to become FarmDrop’s next shareholder please head to our Crowdcube pitch here.

Thanks again for playing such a key role in FarmDrop. 

Ben & The FarmDrop Team

PS - check out the article about FarmDrop is CityAm this morning

We did it!

Over the last 10 days over 200 people have invested more than £430,000 in our crowdfunding campaign.

The whole team are absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed that so many of our producers, members and keepers are now becoming shareholders in FarmDrop.

It’s all happened very quickly, and having received such a fantastic response we’re now planning to close the funding round sooner than scheduled.

We know there are more people out there who want to get involved, and although our target has been surpassed, FarmDrop will continue to honour any investments made via CrowdCube for a limited time. So please do pass on this link to anyone else who may want to become a FarmDrop shareholder.

Once again, a huge thank to everyone for powering FarmDrop through the target so quickly!

The FarmDrop Team

PS - We’ve added some rewards for keepers, farmers and producers - check them out in the “Details” section of the pitch. 

Meet FarmDrop’s Founders at the Muswell Hill FarmDrop

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Hi Everyone,

Ben here, one of FarmDrop’s co-founders.

If you’re interested in seeing a FarmDrop in action, we’re hosting an investor event at our Muswell Hill FarmDrop on Wednesday 23rd July for our Crowdcube campaign and would love to see you there. The team will be around to answer any questions from from 7-8pm so please register here.

And please do try out FarmDrop out as a customer at the same time. Remember, FarmDrop’s “click-to-harvest” format gives shoppers amazing fresh local food at lower prices through providing our bakers, fisherman and growers with advance orders and zero waste. So don’t miss the order deadline on Midnight Sunday. You can put your order in here.

The response this week has been overwhelming with 129 people investing £318,020 in less than a week. We never dreamt of being this close to the finish line by now so huge thanks to everyone who’s played a role.

Hope to meet you next week,

Ben & Ben, and the FarmDrop Team

ps - our favourite tweet of the week has to be the one from @QuentinCasares, a weekly shopper at Muswell Hill who also invested on Wednesday:

"just the start. Will be investing further over the next few weeks. Never seen a model I’ve believed in so much.”

Being invested in by the actual people we’re ’re building FarmDrop to use makes the whole team here even more passionate about driving the business forward … thank you all for being involved.

Growing a business with strong roots

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FarmDrop’s crowdfunding campaign has got off to a flying start, with £299,060 invested in the first 3 days. Ben Patten, one of FarmDrop’s co-founders explores the reasons FarmDrop chose to go this way.

When we came to the question of how we were going to fund the business, we had always instinctively felt that crowdfunding would be our best option. And the more we looked at it, the more convinced we were of the benefits of crowdfunding:

Helps find people who understand FarmDrop’s business model

FarmDrop’s model has parallels with crowdfunding. One way FarmDrop can be described is as an online buying club. We are pooling the demand of a group of people to make it worthwhile for producers to supply direct and at a competitive price. With crowdfunding we are pulling together demand for stakes ranging between £10 and £70,000 plus. So, we’re already finding that as a group the crowdfunding investors understand our business model quicker - particularly the way the Internet plays a disruptive role - and see its true potential.

Attracts pioneers, who are keen to break the rules

If you have a cursory glance through the businesses listed on Crowdcube, you will find a lot of new concepts trying to break the mould in their industry. We’re passionate about our mission to create and grow more sustainable local food systems, and crowdfunding is a great way to find those looking to support real change. They understand the problems with the current industry dynamic and want to create change.

Allows those who use the platform have a stake in it…

We want to be able to let our Members, Producers and Keepers own a share of the business. They are helping us get this business off the ground, so it feels good to offer them a stake in its future.

… and improve it quickly, …

These are the people best placed to help us improve the platform, so it’s great to have them as part of the team. These people are intrinsic to FarmDrop’s success.

… plus they’ll shout about us!

Anyone who uses FarmDrop regularly is sold on the business model and pretty au fait with the power of social media. So, by having our greatest fans have the opportunity to own a bit of us, we’re also finding some of our biggest advocates. A whole army out there who are ready to promote us to all and sundry, and who are that bit more motivated to ensure future success.

It’s just the most efficient marketing tool ever

Within 3 days of having the campaign live we have attracted over £299,060 from 91 investors, and 4752 people have viewed the campaign at a rate of 1187 a day. (I’ve had to change these numbers three times while writing this blog, so check back to see where they are at now). We could never find people who want to invest in our business at this rate in any other way.

The idea behind our business is very simple; people who make or grow food can sell it direct. However, our format is such a departure from the way people are used to buying their food that many take a while to get the whole FarmDrop experience. The crowdfunding community get us and the process works for us on so many levels. You can probably tell we’re really enjoying the ride. And the most important result is having a big group of committed supporters join us in making FarmDrop a massive success.

——————————-

You can find out more about FarmDrop’s plans by looking at our video and more on how to invest can be found on the CrowdCube site. We hope you can join the journey, and help us be better and quicker along the way.

News just in: Eating Organic is Better for You

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Weve got a bit of a spring in our step this week and its not only because were excited about the launch of our crowdfunding campaign (more on this very soon we promise!).
 
No, thats definitely part of it but as well as this, weve had our long-held suspicions confirmed: eating organic actually does confer significant health benefits. 
 
In a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition this week, researchers from Newcastle University reviewed 343 studies and found that organically grown produce contains higher levels - 18% to 69% higher, to be precise - of antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts, as well as having lower levels of toxic heavy metals. 
 
Antioxidants’ is a word thats bandied around quite freely these days, on everything from food packaging to face cream, but what are they? Basically, the body creates free radicals, unstable molecules, the formation of which is often heightened by environmental factors. In high concentrations, these can wreak havoc on the cells and contribute to the development of disease, including cancer. Antioxidants are chemicals that inhibit these free radicals and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.
 
So it seems pretty obvious that food that contains significantly higher levels of them is a good thing.
 
Naturally enough, the study has already had its detractors. But even if you cock a sceptical eyebrow at the health claims, it’s worth considering the fact that growing organic, with its disallowance of chemicals, encouragement of biodiversity and reliance on natural processes, has a far gentler impact on our environment than conventional methods. And with statistics from the Soil Association demonstrating that care for the environment ranks almost as high as wellbeing on the list of reasons why people choose organic, it seems fairly evident that most people have clocked that vitality loses its lustre somewhat against a backdrop of eco-bleakness.
 

Were not suggesting that every morsel you ingest should bear the organic’ stamp; its not always possible, and probably nor is it necessary. But our motto has always been as local as possible, as organic as possible.” We reckon thats a pretty good start - and we reckon that this latest study is pretty good news for anyone whose motto is similar.

Recipe of the week: Gooseberry fool

A quick, delicious dessert ready in less than 20 minutes, Recipe by BBC goodfood, photo credits BBC

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g gooseberries, topped and tailed
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 200g Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml double cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the gooseberries and sugar in a pan with a splash of water. Heat gently, stirring, then bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit starts to burst. Squash the gooseberries with a potato masher or fork until pulpy. Cool then chill until cold in the fridge.
  2. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and beat with the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently whisk in the cream (it will thicken as you whisk so don’t overdo it). Ripple through the gooseberry pulp then spoon into pretty glasses or bowls to serve.

Recipe of the week: pan-fried mackerel sandwich

Ready in under 10 minutes, a recipe by Olia Hercules, photo credit Yuki Sugiura.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, tough outer stalks removed
  • 150g rhubarb
  • 150g radishes
  • 2 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 300g mackerel fillets
  • 2 brioche buns, sliced in half, or 4 slices from a brioche loaf

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar, some salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Trim the fennel and remove the tough outer stalks. Reserve the fennel fronds.

  2. Slice the rhubarb, radishes and fennel as thinly as you possibly can. Immediately toss them in the seasoned lemon juice to avoid oxidisation and to pickle them slightly. Add the fennel fronds and set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Season the mackerel fillets and pan fry them skin-side down first for 2 minutes over a medium heat. Carefully flip the fillets over with a spatula and cook for another minute.

  4. Stuff the buns with the mackerel and the rhubarb coleslaw and enjoy!

All in a pickle

Who doesn’t love a British summer? There’s sunshine, and there’s blue sky, and there are festivals and events galore. The shoes come off and the spirits rise. Rainy spells and lack of sporting glory notwithstanding: this really is a time of year when our cups appear to runneth over.

That sense of abundance applies also to much of the local, seasonal produce that’s on offer, which is great news to the budget-conscious cook: a bumper crops mean bargain prices - not to mention the fact that ‘homegrown’ looks and tastes a million times better than any import you could hope to buy out of season. But by the same token, if youre someone who - quite rightly - has issues with the idea of wasting food, then knowing what to do it with all can be daunting. After all, theres only so much batch-cooking you can do and only so much you can fit in the average freezer anyway.

So may we turn your attention to the ancient arts of pickling and preserving, which will allow you to make the most of all of the flavours that summer brings, well into the colder months. From pickles and chutneys to jams and sauces, there are few things that don’t lend themselves well to being bottled - and while we can appreciate the fact that many people may not have oodles of cupboard storage space in their kitchens, bear in mind that ‘things in jars’ make some of the nicest gifts.

With the recent rise in interest in ‘clean’ eating and some of its close cousins - raw foodism, for example - dehydrating is also gaining in popularity as a way of stopping food from spoiling while preserving flavour and nutrients. You can invest in a dehydrator if you like but your oven will do just as decent a job. 

We’re also super keen on the idea of fruit leathers, which pack a sweet punch without any nasties and make fantastic year-round additions to packed lunches.Here’s a basic recipe to get you started, but this is just the start. Get creative and experiment with other fruits or combinations of fruit.
Oh, and just a word about those aforementioned rainy spells. Many of these preserving ideas require a bit of time and love - so they’re perfect projects to undertake, with or without young helpers - on days when ‘outdoors’ is a less than inviting prospect…