I’m writing just as we tip into March, and it feels like spring is around the corner – Vallum is slowly going greener and the Pine team have been hard at work in the kitchen garden.

Foraging guru Jonny and I picked wild garlic, new ground elder and nettle shoots the other day on a big yomp to Bingfield. My Northumbrian friend Sweetie lives in the “frustratingly flat” Norfolk and for her, a walk around the hills is like a long drink of Carlsberg after being stranded in the desert, Alice. We however ventured up and down hills and rewarded ourselves by making a zingy pesto when we got home. We plan to make gnudi next week too. Deeelish!

Jonny has also been snacking on bramble shoots – the little green tips nipped out of the new growth – while he’s out and about. There’s also gorse flowers (often coconutty) and hawthorn leaves to pick. Please read up on whatever you are foraging to both identify the right plant, and know what is in them (for example, hawthorn leaves aren’t good to eat if you have a heart condition).

I visited Cook House earlier this year for a pickling workshop. We made Kimchi from the outer leaves of veggies like cauliflower and cabbage – things that would have been waste. How thrifty! We also made hot and cold pickles, which looked so pretty… I can’t wait to taste them.

The kimchi method works particularly well with wild garlic. Jonny says it takes away the harshness when using it raw and is great used as a condiment or additional flavouring when cooking.

After our visit to Cook House, we nipped into Northern Rye. We had one of their mini croissants at Hjem last year and there are no words to do them justice – just go!

Vicky Moffitt, of Vallum Farm on Hadrian’s Wall, shares the trials and tribulations of the Kitchen Garden which supplies produce to the farm’s weddings and events marquee, and Restaurant Pine. Vallum, Military Road, Newcastle, NE18 0LL, tel 01434 672 652, www.vallumfarm.co.uk

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