The hungry caterpillar

The hungry caterpillar

The kitchen garden is in its element at the moment with beans, kale, chard, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, courgettes, cucumber, tomatoes, herbs and more. Ivan has done an amazing job keeping on top of the considerable watering and weeding – thank you Mr Robson!

It’s such a pleasure to save picking the veg until the day of a wedding, and couples frequently see the chefs harvesting food for their own banquet. Ivan is often seen harvesting and delivering to the tea room, particularly in time for Sunday lunch, which is always busy with folk who tell us they love the fact that they can see the food yards covered from garden to plate.

We did have a hitch this weekend… the kale was so infested with caterpillars that we couldn’t use it. We washed and shook, but it was an impossible task – and who wants a bright green caterpillar in their wedding breakfast? Luckily, the baby courgettes were plentiful, and so tasty roasted with ground garlic and olive oil until the edges went crispy, and they were quite a hit. We received great feedback on the pies too, which are made with meat from North Acomb Farm.

The celeriac crop is bounding along. We usually harvest that in Jan/Feb but I can’t see it taking that long. We planted as early as we could this time – earlier than normal using seedlings from Delflands – and it’s great to have something to look forward to from our own living larder in the cooler months.

After losing a broody hen to a visiting (out of control) dog last month, one of our remaining hens has had chicks. They have grown so quickly and their favourite place is the old veg patch earth in the kitchen garden, where their white feathers stand out against the vivid green.

It was such a battle keeping all the veg watered and the grass green during the heat so it’s great now to have a bit of rain and see the land start to flourish again. And – the cherry on the top – the cherry crop was awesome this year. Enjoy the beginning of autumn…

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