A couple of months ago, we went to meet one of our key local suppliers – Pete Lawrence of Canara Farm
Sourcing good organic vegetables isn’t impossible, but sourcing them locally and in sufficient quantity for our needs can be challenging. Fortunately for us, we have Pete Lawrence right on our doorstep growing amazing veg in his poly tunnels at Canara Farm on the wonderfully fertile land at Mylor Downs.
Pete is really enthusiastic about vegetables of all types and the way they are produced. ‘Farm organically or not at all’ is Pete’s mantra and the tender, wonderfully flavoured baby leaves he produces are testimony to the care he takes.
Grown under the name ‘Lizard Leaves’, Pete grows the most wonderful organic gourmet baby leaves, full of vibrancy, tenderness and flavour. There’s a huge range too, include green and red incised batavia, green butterhead lettuce, red and green mizuna, Russian kale, tatsoi, purple pak choi, ruby and green frills, land cress, and red and yellow chard. Everything is handpicked and delivered from field to kitchen within hours.
There are around 14 acres of prime organic market garden at Canara Farm with several huge poly tunnels where Pete grows a range of specialist vegetables, herbs and a few fruits alongside the salad leaves.
When we visited back in June, he was just getting going with an amazing range of heirloom and artisan tomatoes with wonderful names such as Black Cherry, Green Sausage and Hawaiian Currant!
He also produces baby carrots, turnips and beetroots of various shapes and colours; a plethora of peas and beans from purple mange tout to striped French beans; edible flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums, borage and, of course, the wonderfully versatile courgette flower; a range of basils – Thai, Greek, purple and lemon; and many more colourful varieties chosen specifically for flavour, texture and maximum aesthetic appeal. When we were there he was just sampling some delicious radishes of all shapes, sizes and colours – delicious!
As Pete says, the thinking behind Canara is local, organic, specialist produce of the type that previously had to be imported from the Continent. But not any more. Now, we have these fantastic fresh vegetables right on our doorstep giving me so much more to work with and the opportunity to produce wonderful vegetable dishes and salads for our menus.