Dig-In Newsletter Feb 2017
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Greetings to our supporters

Clear chilly morns, days getting longer, the daffodils are just round the corner and our local root veg are looking finer than ever... hello February!

We hope you're enjoying the winter veg and soup season as much as we are. Read on for shop updates, a lovely volunteer profile, a superb Harira recipe using your winter cupboard remnants, an introduction to beetroots from our new columnist the Veg Nerd and more.

Most importantly, please Save the Date for our next event - ‘Field to fork – how to get better food to your plate' to be held Monday, 13th March. This event is open to the whole community, and we encourage you to come along and join the conversation. We 're looking forward to having Pete Ritchie of Nourish Scotland as a guest speaker -  read more below!

As always, we look forward to welcoming you to the shop when you come in for a chat, some your fruit, veg and wholefoods staples. We've been open nearly three years now and it's a really important time for us. The next six months will be really important in determining whether our community-owned and run shop can continue to operate. We need your custom and support – as community supporters, volunteers and regular customers – more than ever to help us make that little bit extra we need to be a self sufficient, not-for-profit Community Greengrocer.
From Field to Fork - 13th March
This year we're holding a special event with guest speaker followed by our AGM. It's open to all to attend.
You'll receive an email in the next week or so with full details - please consider this a save the date for Monday 13th March evening - 7-9pm at Christ Church, Morningside.

We're really excited to be joined by our guest speaker Pete Ritchie - executive director of Nourish Scotland - who will speak about Food Systems and Agriculture in Scotland.  We'll follow with a short talk from Isla - our Dig-In Vice-Chair - on the challenges we face as a small community run business, the exciting opportunities we have going forward and the tangible benefits a Community Enterprise brings to all. During a break, you'll have the chance to meet some of our great volunteers and taste some products and we will then conduct the AGM business including Chair's report, Treasurer's report and election of the Management Committee plus the opportunity to feedback your comments on Dig-In and ideas for our future.

We are seeking new Management Committee members!

We'd really like to hear from anyone interested in being a Management Committee member. We need new faces to support Catherine, Isla, Morag, Stuart and Amanda on the MC. We're sadly saying goodbye to Bridget this year but thank her for all her efforts over the past 3 years. We wish her well in her (many) other voluntary commitments!

You can find more details about the Management  Committee members and our recruitment here on our website. Please consider joining our team and helping keep Dig-in alive and well on Bruntsfield Place.
Supporter's Cards

Would you like a store card with no interest charges, no hidden costs and no nasty surprises at the end of the month?

 Would you like to help Dig-In thrive as a community enterprise?

 If the answer to either of these questions is ‘yes please come and open a supporter's account with us next time you're in the shop. 

Supporters accounts really help our business. They make it easier for us to plan ahead and keep our doors open. They really help reduce the charges we pay for credit card sales - currently Dig-In pays around £100 a month in card transaction fees.

It doesn’t matter how often you come in - you can continue to just buy what you want when you want it - great if you’re in a hurry or short of cash that day! You can top it up when you want by whatever amount you want - there's no obligation. You can set up a direct debit or just top it up as needed.

 And if you buy one of our lovely fruit and veg bags, whether as a one-off or a regular purchase, a supporters account is a handy way to pay.  You could even consider opening an account for someone else - it’s the perfect gift for a food lover.  You’d both be helping support our community enterprise too.

Of course, we welcome all purchases including those made by credit card!  But if we could save just a bit on those transaction fees we could be putting it back into the shop, helping to keep the business strong and keep prices down for customers.

A supporters account is a flexible and convenient way to shop. And there really are no strings attached!

A few minutes with Frankie...

As well as contributing the beautiful Harira recipe you see below (we hope one of many to come!), Frankie volunteers on a Friday in the shop. We caught up with her for a few questions...

Why did you decide to Volunteer?
I moved to Edinburgh a year and a half ago and thought doing some voluntary work would be a good way to meet people, feel part of a community in my new home city and just to get out of the house regularly as I work from home. I’m – mostly – vegetarian and I love cooking and growing vegetables, so helping out in a greengrocer really appealed to me
What do you like about Dig-In?
I find the story behind Dig In – of a community coming together – really inspiring. You can really feel the community spirit in the shop. I grew up in a small village, where the local shop was absolutely central, and really appreciate that. I also love being surrounded by all those lovely vegetables and chatting to customers and volunteers who are similarly enthusiastic.

What does a typical day at Dig-In involve?  

I help close down the shop on Friday evenings. I’ll usually start by checking out all the new stock and making sure all the produce is looking its best. There’s usually something to put away, price up or some stock that can be brought up from downstairs. I serve customers and enjoy chatting with them about their dinner plans. After closing we tidy up and make sure everything is ready for the busy Saturday shift.

Favourite product from the shop...or recipe from shop's produce...?
This changes from season to season, but at the moment it’s the blood oranges – I buy as many as I can carry every time I’m in. They’re beautiful and delicious and feel all the more special because you can’t get them all year round. I usually just eat them as they come, but sometimes I cook with them too – this past weekend I charred them in a salad with radicchio, fennel and ricotta.

What do you do when you're not Digging in?

For my day job, I work as a journalist and editor for an online magazine aimed at people working in the arts sector. When I’m not at my desk or Dig In, I can nearly always be found in the kitchen.

We're always looking for new volunteers! Find out more - email volunteer@diginbruntsfield.co.uk or pop into the shop for a form. 


Beetroots, “important” things to know - they’re not all purple-red and they don’t just come pickled in a jar!

Nutritionally, beetroots aren’t that special for any one particular vitamin source. They have two main components; above ground leafy bits and below ground rooty round thing. The leaves are a great source of iron and B vitamins - as is the case with many green leafy things. The root is notably a good low calorie (100g=43 calories) fibre (100g = 11% of a ladies daily intake) packed food. But they also pack a fair whack of vitamins C, B6, magnesium and potassium.

Beetroot’s other uses include dye which has been used for thousands of years and potentially as a medicine for relief of hypertension- though this is yet to be clinically proven. More commonly now it’s used as a food dye or a ‘natural colouring’ in sweets. The dye is called ‘Betanin’ and it’s not able to be broken down by the body... (pink pee if you eat a large quantity -e.g. over a pound of them!

In terms of growing them, beetroot’s traditional harvest time is November and can often overwhelm you [source of solutions]. However, I tend to think of them being in the magical category of ‘will grow at any time of year’, just at varying rates. They’re a good overwintering crop for the winter if shown in September. You can continually crop the leaves for baby salad, but this tends to stunt their development below ground. Leaving them to grow usually produces some fat root under the ground after 3-5 warm months.

They’re classed as seasonal this time of year as they store well, as do many of the roots vegetables. Beta vulgaris as they’re scientifically known, are part of the ‘Amaranthaceae’ family that contains Amaranth and other beety things such as sugar beets- you’ll eat a lot of the latter as about ~50% of sugar is still beet derived. Due to their family they also fit into the magical crop rotational category of ‘grow them anywhere at anytime, really’.

 There’s been an increasing use and sale availability of the many varieties of beetroots - they’ve become popular with fancy chefs for pickling and slicing to pretty-up dishes. There are long thin ones, white, yellow, orange, pink, purple and crimson ones plus the very attractive ‘chioggia’ - a northern Italian variety with distinctive alternating pink, white rings.  

They’ve also become popular for juicing, but to me this is a waste of all that beneficial cellulose based fibre. Personally, I like a fresh beetroot, boiled with a little vinegar (to help it keep), cooled, peeled, slice and served in a wholemeal roll with some hummus and alfalfa sprouts- but then I am having a bit of 70’s wholefood revival at the moment.

Most ‘interesting’ recipe goes to the Finns. In Finland, beetroot makes its way onto the Christmas table as ‘Rosolli’, a salad composed of boiled potatoes, carrots and beetroots, flavoured with gherkins, potentially herring, onions and tart apples- topped lovingly with pink whipped cream (dyed with the beet juice). Make of it what you will, at least it’s guaranteed to be brightly coloured in all that snow and darkness. A Finnish friend also tells me that as a child she had assumed it was a desert and that this is a mistake you don’t make twice!

Dig-In Inspired Recipes

This month is a beautiful Moroccan inspired soup from one of our talented volunteers. If you've got a favourite recipe that you're happy to share, we'd love to see and hear about it - get in touch on Facebook, Instagram or welovecommunity@diginbruntsfield.co.uk.
Moroccan Store Cupboard Soup
This soup is loosely based on the Moroccan harira soup, traditionally served during Ramadan. It’s a great recipe for finally using up some of those tins and packages that have been sitting in your cupboard for ages – or for when you find you have no fresh vegetables in the house – at a pinch, even the onion, carrot and celery could be replaced with a teaspoon of bouillon.
The soup is thickened by the blended vegetables and chickpeas, creating a rich and hearty broth. It’s a neat trick – one I'm sure you’ll use again.

Serves 2
 ½ red onion (about 60g)
½ carrot (about 60g)
1 stalk celery (about 60g)
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Small pinch saffron (optional)
200g tinned peeled plum tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
240g cooked chickpeas
40g pasta (eg angel hair or spaghetti)
50g puy lentils
Lemon (optional)
Cook the puy lentils as instructed on the packet.  Finely dice the red onion, carrot and celery. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat and gently sauté the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, until they’re beginning to soften. If you’re using saffron, steep the threads in a splash of boiling water.
Finely chop the garlic and add to the saucepan when the vegetables are soft. Fry for a minute, then add the ground spices and fry for another minute. Add the tomato paste and tinned tomatoes to the pan – chopping or mushing them as you do so – along with their water, the cooked chickpeas and 350ml water. Season generously with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the pasta as instructed on the packet. Add the saffron and its water to the soup.

Ladle out a third of the mixture into a blender and blitz, then return to the pan. Add the cooked pasta and lentils and heat through. Add more water if it’s too thick. Season to taste and squeeze in a little lemon juice, if desired, before serving.

To find out more and for general shop updates find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We love to be loved in your likes, tags and shares.
Copyright © 2017 Dig-In Bruntsfield Community Greengrocers Ltd, All rights reserved.

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