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Food column: The ‘Hungry Gap’ will hit us hard in March

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Anna Lamotte runs Guardswell Grows with her sister Kirstin. Here, she talks about the ‘Hungry Gap’ faced by many in their industry, when farmers struggle to grow enough crops to meet demand.

The ‘Hungry Gap’ is the short, but seemingly endless, period of time when Scottish farmers struggle to grow the nutrient-dense bounty we take for granted throughout the rest of the year. We’re not quite in the depths of it yet – it will hit us hard in March… although the recent snow certainly made us feel it more keenly.

It’s something that we’ve forgotten about as a society – we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security because, for example, even though asparagus is ony seasonal for a few short weeks in May and June, we can buy asparagus at any time of year at the supermarket.

However, it’s certainly something that we should be aware of and, as we endeavour to eat as locally as possible, seasonal scarcity rears its head.

We are extraordinarily lucky, in the Carse of Gowrie, to be surrounded by some brilliant farmers and growers and when the weather turns to snow, my mind instantly turns to potatoes and cheese, bubbling away in a tartiflette.

The Spud Spot is a brilliant potato vending machine, located just off the flyover at Inchture, and run by Bryden Potatoes. Overflowing with King Edward and Maris Pipers, it’s the perfect place to head to when you need an Alpine fix.

To feed a hungry family, post sledging, of four, find yourself 1kg of beautiful waxy potatoes (not the fluffy ones that make perfect mash) and boil until nearly cooked through, but not quite.

Leave them to cool down a little. Meanwhile, fry off a sliced onion in a tablespoon of butter, mingling alongside 180g of smoked bacon lardons, and once browned, remove from the heat and pour in 200ml of double cream. Slice, or roughly chop, your potatoes- depending on the mood, and then find your best oven roasting dish. Rub the inside of the dish with a garlic clove sliced in a half, and then layer  potatoes at the bottom. Pour over a bit of your creamy, bacony, oniony mixture, and then rest slices of Reblochon cheese (you’ll need a whole block in total) over the lot.

Start again – potatoes, cream, Reblochon – until you’re out of ingredients. Pop into the oven at 200C/Fan 180C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for around 15 minutes or until the top is bubbling and crispy. Try not to eat the whole lot before it makes its way to the table…

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