This year we will mostly be growing navets

This season we’ve grown turnips for the first time, and Madame (who doesn’t like them) brought a few of the thinnings back to the flat.  They were tiny – barely 3/4″ across- and I just steamed them in the same pan as the carrots. She still didn’t like them and so I got to eat them all. They were little flavour explosions, an entirely new taste to me at least, and now I’m watching the bed they’re growing in to make sure I get some more before they turn into cattle fodder! In France where (according to Alan Davidson’s excellent Penguin Companion to Food) they take turnips more seriously, they’re called navets, not to be confused with ‘navette’ which a shuttle bus and which may cause you to be unexpectedly shown the door should you ask for it in a restaurant. So there it is – we shun the turnip on our allotment, but we do grow some rather fine navets.

Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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