Veg Box Newsletter 5th July: Chard


Questions, Please!

This is your chance to find out all the inside info on our market garden! Want to know how the people who grow the kale cook it, or how they get their pea shoots so flavourful?  Email questions to and we’ll put them to the head grower. Want to know how the people who grow the kale cook it, or how they get their pea shoots so flavourful?  


A new sign of the season changing is that lockdown restrictions are easing- hooray! If you’ll be out and about more often now, you might need to think about how your veg box is delivered. If there’s a safe place to leave it, drop us an email. If you live in a block of flats or tenement, we can take a key to the close and leave your deliveries outside your flat door. Email us for the address. 

And if you’re planning to go away, remember that you can let us know up to 9am on Monday in the week you need to pause for. We greatly appreciate earlier notice, however, as it helps us order only the veg we need and avoid waste.

Send me your recipes!

If you’ve got a recipe you can’t stop cooking, something that makes the most of the season’s plenty, please send it to me at It might be featured in the newsletter, and you’ll get a bit of credit on your veg box account to say thanks if it is!

In the Veg Boxes This Week

Subject to last minute changes

Check out storage guidance for helpful tips and tricks on how to prolong the life of your fresh produce. If you’re wondering where your veg comes from, have a look at these maps. You can also join your fellow subscribers over in the Facebook group for lots of tips, tricks, and recipe ideas!

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The Nice Bit

I say this about so many of our vegetables, but chard is underrated. Maybe it’s just that vegetables are underrated- in any case, I certainly didn’t appreciate chard until I started getting a veg box. Chard is a leafy green with lots in common with spinach- and indeed, perpetual spinach, which we have in the boxes this week, is actually a variety of chard that’s so spinachy as to be interchangeable. Rainbow chard, a mix of varieties with different stem colours- each one more gem-like than the last- will glow like a video game collectable item in all the veg boxes this week so I thought it might be a good time, to, well, appreciate it. 

The place to start is how to cook it simply, as a side. Separate the leaves from the stems, as they have very different textures and cooking times. Slice the stems into rounds and fry in oil or (browned?) butter, then once that’s soft, toss in the leaves until wilted, season and serve. 

My favourite thing to pair with chard is anchovies. The salty umami balances out the strong green flavour of chard, the chard mellows out the anchovy, both are better for the other. Nigella Lawson bases a spaghetti dish around this combo, adding garlic and chilli and parmesan to make this easy meal your new favourite. Her website also offers another spaghetti-and-chard dish, this time from Joshua McFadden’s cookbook about seasonal veg. This one has pine nuts and raisins for textural and flavour variety, and has made me hungrier than anything else on this list. 

If you think you don’t like chard, or find its clorophylly notes a little too strong, take the advice in this wonderful article and cook it low-and-slow, breaking down its stronger flavours and bringing out its sweetness. It’s too hot to think of it today, but it’s comforting to know that chard gratin will be there for us on a cooler day. The recipe linked is a slightly more elaborate one, involving pickling the chard before you start gratin-ing it, and while I’m very confident that it would be wonderful, I also recommend the simple sort of chard (or spinach) gratin, where wilted veg is mixed through a bechamel, popped in a baking dish, topped with breadcrumbs and/or cheese and baked until bubbly. 

Perhaps this chard-and-tahini dip is better suited for hot days- perfect to take to the park for an impromptu picnic dinner. All lemony and olive-oily, scooped up on crisp toasted flatbread or fluffy curves of baguette. Pair chard with pulses for the kind of quick, delicious dinner you start getting hungry for when the evening cools down. Try this lentil and chard toast  or this chard, white bean and Italian sausage pasta as starting points, or just sautee the greens and beans with whatever flavours you fancy. 

This Italian chard and potato dish is mouth-watering but simple- it’s meant to be a side-dish but I’d have no qualms eating it as a main; similarly, these chard and herb fritters would make a perfect lunch, eaten, perhaps, one by one, almost straight out of the pan, as soon as they’re cool enough to hold.