TOP of the veg crops this year so far goes to the broad bean.
I’ve had a tempestuous relationship with this blighter.
I’d tried Aquadulce Claudia with middling success and none with Epicure, so I went back to an old-school variety, The Sutton. It’s incredibly hardy, grows only 18” tall, and withstands winds and bad weather.
I never buy broad beans in the supermarket, because they’re nothing like home-grown, tasteless and mealy.
They’re a favourite in Spain as habas con jamón, a tapas dish of soft beans and Serrano ham.
I also love them in a simple risotto with peas. Lovely!
l Fruit of the year goes to the strawberry, with rhubarb coming a close second.
My decision to turn over a full raised bed to strawberries seems to have paid off.
I spend more on fruit than I do on veg, so it’s more economically viable to grow something more expensive.
I’ve now got a decent rotation of plants going, from three-year-olds to newly-planted runners, so when the older ones stop cropping well, they turfed for newer stock.
I haven’t got a clue what varieties I have, as I was given a load of runners from my sister-in-law’s allotment. They taste great and that’s all that matters.
Oddly, rhubarb and strawberries are a match made in heaven.
Gently stew chopped rhubarb with sugar to taste and a splash of fresh orange juice, leave to cool and add to room temperature strawberries.
Let the flavours mingle for 10 minutes, then serve.