From seed to service – the Potager Garden diary

By 9th October 2023 No Comments

October 2023

The growing season at Crouchers’ potager garden is slowly coming to an end, but we still have a lot of homegrown produce winging its way to the restaurant kitchen.

Our courgettes, mange tout and beans have come to the end of the line, but now the chilli peppers, tomatoes, leeks and sweet peppers are taking centre stage.

Meanwhile, the brassicas are still going strong, and the butternut squash are fast approaching ripeness.

A little word of advice on butternut squash – it is best to keep them on the vine for as long as possible while they ripen as they will store better.

However, keep a close eye on the weather because squash hate frost, and if they become frosted you can loose the whole lot.

Needless to say, Jason and I are scouring the weather forecasts every day.

Back to the potager, and with the different produce entering the kitchen, our chefs are constantly having to up their ‘creative’ game.

So at the risk of boosting their already inflated egos, it’s time to give our chefs a shout out.

I’ve spoken before on this blog about Crouchers locals’ night every Thursday – this is when the chefs really let their hair down to create fresh and new, and sometimes experimental, potager-based dishes.

I’d like to think that the lure of homegrown produce on the plate is behind the hugely successful locals’ night summer we’ve enjoyed (just letting the boss know) – but the potager goods are nothing without the chefs delicate touch.

As a taster of the great work done in the kitchens here at Crouchers, last week’s locals’ night menu was a feast to behold.

The starters included chilli and tomato stuffed padron peppers (all home grown), and the tomato basil compote on the baked sun blushed tomato and goats cheese tart came from our own fair gardening hands.

On the mains, the sauteed fillets of sea bass and haddock came with our homegrown chard and garden tomatoes.

I particuarly liked the oven baked sea food pie in tarragon mash, because it came with our homegrown roasted scallopini squash and creamed leeks.

We even got a small entry in the desserts with the mixed berry compote accompanying the smooth chocolate delice.

Now, I realise my proposed praise of the chefs has turned into a love-in for us gardeners and the potager – but then with such homegrown talent on show, is it a surprise?

~ Tim