Tag Archives: local

Foraging in the hedgerows – spring

Today I went foraging in the woods with friends for the fresh green tops of stinging nettles which are just coming into growth to make nettle and ginger beer. I can’t yet vouch for the flavour – it takes about 7 days to be ready to drink, so watch this space.

Even if it turns out barely drinkable it was a good reason to get out into the spring sunshine, which angled through the new leaves and splashed on colonies of white wood anemones. Top tips are avoid anywhere dogs might have used as a toilet, and stick to the bright green top growth rather than the older, darker leaves.

There is a good recipe here – fingers crossed it turns out well, and is worth the odd sting. Go try it!

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Stinging nettle pic by foreby on flickr
Wood anemone pic by Vinje on flickr
Advertisements

Christmas shopping

If you are anything like me, you have sorted out all the easy christmas presents and are worrying about the last few people who are impossible to buy for or you don’t know well. After a panicked saturday afternoon wandering round Cambridge in the freezing rain looking for inspiration that never came, I decided that buying something local and handmade will never go amiss. I’ve had a look round local makers who are selling over the internet and rounded up some of the best pieces in a couple of sensible price brackets.

Credit crunch christmas, under £20

For the woman who has everything, including a tidy handbag:

Silver leaf keyring by Romilly Norman in Ipswich, £19

 

 

For the teenage girl you’ve never met who is coming for christmas day:

Peacock photogram by Heidi Burton

Peacock photogram by Heidi Burton  in Cambridge, £5

 

For people who like to age their bills on the fridge:

Hand screen printed magnets by Summersville in Suffolk, £5.95

 

For baby’s first christmas:

Hand knitted baby slippers by Willo in Cambridge £12

 

£20 – £50

You can’t go wrong with a beautiful bowl:

helen_brown_bowlBlackbird bowl by Helen Brown at the Suffolk Craft Society, £38

 

For modern mermaids:

mermaid_pendant_coryvreckanInspired by a piece of bladderwrack picked up on Southwold beach, seaweed pendant by Corryvreckan, £26

 

For the cosy and house proud, St Judes screen print artist-designed fabrics, and make up lovely cushion covers:

stjudes_cushion_coversSt Judes cushion covers, £32 each. Also check out their printed notebooks and cosy woolen throws.

 

For those who appreciate stark winter beauty, this tiny etching:chrissy_norman_winter_willowsWinter willows at Dedham, by Chrissy Norman, who is based in Trimley St Mary in Suffolk, £55

 

Disclaimer: the local and handmade thing doesn’t work on teenage boys at all. Except for local beers for the later teen years. Or after – what man (apart from my husband) would appreciate socks over hand brewed beer?

Local, seasonal, delicious

The Elbournes have been growing orchard fruit for five generations. Their farm shop in Meldreth has been there since 1967, but is only open in season – pretty much August to February. The apples there smell so much more apply than those in the supermarket – the orchards are around Meldreth and the next village, Melbourn, so they don’t have far to come and can be picked when properly ripe.

It’s a treat to drop in to the shed and pick out some interesting apple varieties from the wooden crates.

They have been very proactive in planting and selling heritage varieties. South Cambridgeshire was traditionally always an apple and plum growing area, famous for it, and they are carrying on the tradition and growing varieties I, an apple lover, have never heard of. 

 


They do well known varieties as well, generally at less than supermarket prices, and full flavoured apple juice pressed from single varieties, which is also available in farm shops around the area. Have a look for it if you are in the South Cambridgeshire area. Also, occasionally homemade apple muffins still warm from the oven appear on the cash desk.

There were two but one got eaten before I could take a photo…

Do seek them out and remember what apples should taste like – a touch tarter and more complex than the modern commercial varieties and perfect with Wensleydale cheese from the Hawes Creamery.

NB the shop is now closed until the season starts again in August.

Cam Valley Orchards Farm Shop
25 Whitecroft Road, Meldreth,
Royston, Herts SG8 6ND
07770 461 685
Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only, 9AM to 6PM, August – February
No website