As important as it is to have a magnificent main for your Christmas Dinner, no festive meal would be complete without the sides. The nuttiness of Brussel sprouts. Fluffy, crispy roast spuds. And sweet, golden parsnips, now as much a symbol of the yuletide season as the star on top of your tree. Our root veg maestro up in Norfolk, Nick Walton, popped a whole bunch of seeds into a few acres of his Bagthorpe Farm at the end of May, and lo and behold, our Christmas boxes are now graced with glorious parsnips.
12 Makers of Christmas – Nick Walton
Touch and go
“It’s been a tough year”, Nick says, when he popped into Veg HQ recently. He’s of course talking about the giant heat wave that the UK experienced during the summer. It didn’t do his three acres of parsnips any favours, and it meant that Nick and his small but dedicated team had to be extra vigilant this year. “Luckily, for all our walking up and down, they’re all good quality,” he says with a sigh of relief. A few weeks ago him and his merry band of parsnippers – including one Diana, an elderly, local woman who “loves getting the winter crops out” – started plucking them out of the soil and bundling them together, getting them ready to be popped into our boxes. Next stop: many a festive dinner table.
A family Christmas
For Nick and his family, Christmas Day will be spent away from the farm this year, having hosted festivities last year. They’ll be heading to family elsewhere and the “car will be weighed down with children, presents, and a few parsnips” Nick says with a chuckle. For dinner they’ll be using all of the root veg – carrots, onions, amongst others – grown on Nick’s farm, which his father-in-law started converting to organic back in the mid-80s. It’ll be an extremely satisfying moment for Nick, sitting round the table with his extended family, everyone tucking into fresh veg he’s grown from little seedlings.
Top of the menu
Turns out we’re not the only fans of Nick’s parsnips. He told us that even the cattle on his farm go absolutely nuts for them. “Of all the veg it’s their favourite, it’s top of their menu.” Right now they’re being given beetroot and carrots, but what they’re really waiting for is those sweet, golden parsnips. So are we.
Want to try the parsnips for youself? Order one of our Christmas day boxes