The birds are doing their best to eat the sprouting kaibroc before us so we are having to take drastic measures in the shape of the return of Harry the hawk.
He is handsome, tame and is actually a kite which we tie to a long pole so that it swirls around in the wind to frighten off the pesky critters who want to raid the larder.
The rabbits have returned to Vallum too, much to Sky the whiplington’s delight. She isn’t usually allowed off her lead, and on the one day I relaxed this last week, she was off!
But back to Harry the hawk and his work protecting the Kaibroc – a new hybrid between broccoli and kailan. It has a sprouting head like broccoli and a tender stem like kailan and it’s going down a storm in the tea room. We also have rainbow chard coming out of our ears, which is handy as it’s party and wedding season, the beetroot is also picking and we have just harvested the last of our broad
I keep meaning to whitewash the area outside our office and plant herbs in pots for the chefs, but it might have to wait until the schools break up and I have children to help in return for ice cream.
We have a tipi now at Vallum and are realising our vision of slow-cooked meats served outdoors over coals using beautiful Kadai fire bowls. Food, fire and fresh air hits the spot for me and our party guests are loving our Persian feasts.
We are also gearing up to take the chefs to Barcelona for inspiration from the amazing markets. La Boqueria is first on the list, and while we can’t always grow what they do, we can certainly take inspiration from how they use it, so we will be tripping the light fantastic round the tapas bars in the Gothic quarter. The cherries are (dare I say it) looking promising again this year, but goodness did the trees lose a lot of leaves and fruit in Storm Hector. It was crazy to see the ground covered in green leaves, like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
Meanwhile, we have two broody hens, which is very exciting for our daughter Phoebe. Watch this space!
Vicky Moffitt and her husband Peter own Vallum, the food destination and wedding venue on Hadrian’s Wall, near Newcastle, where the tea room serves vegetables and herbs grown on site. Vallum, Military Road Newcastle, NE18 0LL, tel 01434 672 652, www.vallumfarm.co.uk