Wet, wet, wet


It’s all rain in the Kitchen Garden

It’s pouring down today – again!  After the driest May on record we seem to have had more than our fair share of rain in June and the pesky slug is on the slither and after the strawberries!

Mark (our grower) has been fighting the battle in the Kitchen Garden like a true warrior and so far we are managing to minimise collateral damage. It’s one of the most exciting times of year as the hard work of ground preparation and the nurturing of seedlings gives way to harvest.

This week I have taken great pride in posting signage in every kitchen here at Vallum stating we have oodles of lettuce, cabbage, carrots (the first and they are fab!) beetroot (and their leaves), radish, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, peas, courgette flowers (so excited to think of these stuffed and deep fried as a starter a week on Sunday) plus cucumbers, courgettes and beans are nearly there.

Mark and I are using a company called Delflands who can supply ready-grown plugs which happen to be organic. We’ve just ordered two varieties of kale and three varieties of sprouting broccoli which we hope will keep us harvesting from September all the way through until April/May next year.

I love sprouting broccoli, it’s packed with goodies and great as a side dish and for tarts, and it stands well during the winter months. The smaller shoots are delicious freshly picked and eaten raw, especially after the first frosts.

Kale is also a super food for finishing Sunday lunch or deep frying as a statement finish to a dish, and the baby leaves are great in salad. It’s another plant that just keeps on picking all through the winter.

We’re back to back with weddings, private events and a few new special projects like a collaboration with the newly launched Pele Tower in Corbridge this summer.

Our Restaurant team is now focusing on private parties during the week and on Saturdays, serving up our fab Sunday lunches, and Supper Club nights to tie in with peaks of harvest from the Kitchen Garden.

Now, for some sunshine!

Tea time
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