Grow your own

We’ve teamed up with Bath Echo, to launch Grow Your Own Soup Campaign. We hope to inspire more people to grow their own food and to use any left overs to make tasty soup. As part of this special campaign, we’ll be sharing gardening tips as well as giving away packets of seeds for budding gardeners to give vegetable growing a go. To read Bath Echo’s full article click here.
Otherwise you can read Helen Fisher’s, Manager at Bath City Farm, opening letter to launch the campaign below.

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Food is such a great way to bring friends, family and communities together. At Bath City Farm, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, our amazing regular volunteers will sit down together for lunch after a morning planting veg in the poly tunnels or spending time looking after the hens. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy freshly cooked food and start up conversations all sat round the table.

That is why we’re so excited to be launching the Grow Your Own Soup campaign with the Bath Echo today. In the midst of winter a warming bowl of soup is a welcome sight and there is something so satisfying about making your own soup and growing the ingredients.

We grow as much of our own veg as possible in poly tunnels and raised beds, helping to reduce food miles and cut the amount of food waste. Seeing the fruits of your labour as the veggies grow is really rewarding.

January is not the best time we know to be growing veg. But you can start now to plan ahead for the spring and in the coming months we’ll help guide you with some top tips. The beauty of growing your own soup is that you don’t need loads of space to grow the basics that you need. It is amazing what can be grown in the smallest of gardens or on a balcony.

One of the big challenges that we face on the food front is waste. Every year we, as a nation, throw away a lot of food – about 5 million tonnes which equates to about £840 worth of food per year for a family of four. We all know the challenges of getting to the end of the week and thinking what do we do with left over veg that might be at the back of the fridge. Making nutritious soup is the answer – it is full of minerals and vitamins and tastes so satisfying when you’ve made it. It helps cutdown on waste, save you money and you can create amazing combinations.

The essential ingredients to making soup are an onion, stock cube and water. Seasoning is important too, adding in salt and pepper and spices if you want some heat. Add in the veg and you have your soup after some blending. It’s not difficult and once you’ve given it a go you’ll be regularly making soup. Why not keep it for lunch or maybe team up with friends or neighbours to organise a soup night or have a bring homemade soup to work day.

To help kick off our campaign below you’ll find one of our recipes that we serve in our Farm café to get you going. We’d love to hear about experiences via social media and any top tips using the hashtag #growyourownveg sharing any images of your soup on Instagram.

Next time we’ll focus on getting ready for the start of the growing season once the frosts have finished.

Helen

Tomato and red pepper soup
Makes approximately 6 portions
Ingredients
• 5 large salad tomatoes, quartered
• 1 red pepper, large chunks
• 1 stick of celery, diced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 1 red onion, cut into 8’s
• 1 white onions (or all red/all white), diced.
• A small sweet potato, small cubes.
• 4 cloves of garlic, ½ finely chopped.
• ½ a red chilli, cut into chunks
• 1 tin of plum tomatoes.
• Rosemary, sage, thyme, bay.
• Lots of fresh basil.
• Vegetable stock enough to cover
• Balsamic vinegar
• Brown Sugar, ½ tbsp
• Smoked paprika, dried herbs.
• Crème fraiche (optional)

1. Fry diced white onion, carrots, celery on a medium heat until softened.
2. Roast the sweet potato, tomatoes, pepper, chillies and red onion with the whole garlic cloves in the oven on 180c.lightly coat with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over a mixture of some of the chopped herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme) as well as a light coating of smoked paprika.
3. Once the fried vegetables have softened, add vegetable stock, basil stalks and bay leaves.
4. Add the tinned tomatoes and sugar.
5. When all veg is soft and cooked add to the soup pan.
6. Use a stick blender to blend all the soup and add in the basil just before serving and blend into the soup too.
7. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

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