How Erica got into producing Musselburgh Leeks and why she chose this particular product
Erica had previously worked as a textile designer, but in 2006 retrained at the Scottish Agricultural College and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh after realising her passion for growing, before doing several placement years in this field. She has always had an interested in productive growing and the opportunity to provide local fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way and so jumped at the opportunity to work alongside Carina Contini, developing a garden to supply both The Scottish Cafe and Centotre. The garden is situated a few miles south of Edinburgh in Lasswade, on a previously uncultivated half acre of land. The land has a polytunnel to help extend the growing season with plans to have a greenhouse by early 2014. The garden’s ethos is to ‘work with nature’. Both restaurants have a strong connection with countries and so the aim has always been to promote the best of Italian and Scottish food and plant heritage, from raspberries and traditional Scottish herbs and leaves to Tuscan kale and bulb fennel. Musselburgh Leeks were an obvious choice for Erica to grow in the garden as they represent an iconic Scottish ingredient. First and foremost Musselburgh Leeks taste great, but they are also perfectly suited for Scottish climates, providing a crop throughout the late autumn and early winter when other crops are in short supply. They can be used as tender baby stems when planted closely together or spaced to produce large leeks that stand well into the winter.
Products that Erica is offering
The garden provides both restaurants with much of its seasonal fruit and vegetables, specialising in both Scottish and Italian products. The fruit of Erica’s labour is available to taste at either The Scottish Cafe or Centotre, visit the website to make reservations.
Erica’s favourite Musselburgh Leek recipes
When leeks are in season a favourite at The Scottish Cafe is roast lamb stuffed with Musselburgh Leeks.