Barfoots Farm in West Sussex is one of nine farms across the UK that grows Tenderstem®. Founded by Peter Barfoot back in the 1970’s the farm now dedicates 250 acres to growing Tenderstem® on both organic and non-organic soil.
The Tenderstem® team at Barfoots is headed up by farming manager Neil Carins who was once told they’d never be able to grow Tenderstem® in the UK, so Neil and Jon the Commercial Director at Barfoots set out to prove everybody wrong.
In fact, Hampshire and West Sussex, two Barfoots farm locations, are actually some of the best locations in Europe for growing Tenderstem® due to the maritime climate which results in milder springs and less frosts. The south coast allows Barfoots to grow other exotic crops such as sweetcorn and chillies alongside Tenderstem® and the team have loved being able to prove the people wrong by producing vast amounts of great quality crops.
The Tenderstem® farming season begins for Barfoots in early March and planting carries on until early August with harvesting taking place weekly from June until the end of November. Jon confides that the on-shelf quality during this period is excellent and the best yields come through in September, just in time to provide super brain food for when the kids go back to school.
There are so many ways in which to cook Tenderstem®, but Neil prefers his raw – straight off the plant as the sweeter taste in comparison to normal broccoli makes it a tasty healthy snack. However he can also be found lightly cooking up a few florets with some butter and black pepper as a quick and easy supper after a long day at work.
Jon on the other hand opts for Tenderstem® as an addition to a spicy salad – served with chilli flakes, onions, garlic and chickpeas but admits “It is certainly a versatile accompaniment to most meals too”. To enjoy Tenderstem® as a quick and easy supper like Neil, melt a generous amount of butter in a small pan then add your broccoli and allow it to cook for a few minutes until soft (or however you prefer to eat it). Just before you take the pan off the heat season with black pepper and your dish is ready to enjoy – and all in under 10 minutes.
If you would like to try a spicy Tenderstem® salad like Jon begin with some thinly cut pieces of Tenderstem® and add them to a bowl of sliced red onions, crushed garlic and chickpeas. For extra green goodness and flavour you could also include spinach and rocket and a drizzle of olive oil to serve. A super quick, raw salad full of nutrients – and no pots or pans to wash up after!