The Market Year - August
The July heat really speeded up the growing season so that now, in the height of the season, we have all the English summery treats in plenty. The glowing juicy berries are so tempting so try them in our simple but stunning recipes (below). Then buy extra soft fuit, convert it to frozen compotes, jams and cordials to bring that taste of summer to our winter fare.
Do not miss any picnic, barbeque and alfresco opportunities by ensuring that you have plenty of salads and fruits and choose tender or easy cuts of meat and fish. Ready made pies, tarts and dips will make the picnic a treat and a simple supper can soon be rustled up with the fresh beans, courgettes and other vegetables on offer at our market.
Photograph: Carlotta Luke
Greenway Fruit Farm in Herstmonceux is one of the last of its kind in Sussex. Once, the temperate conditions, the Tunbridge Wells green sand and the reliable British market for homegrown fruit supported many similar farms. Graham Love's will to grow and feed people has kept his farm going through very difficult times. “Supermarkets have the pick of all the international produce”, says Graham, “and the result is that customers expect perfectly formed fruit every month, whatever the season.”
His father, Stanley, bought 32 acres of land in 1950, and started growing apples and pears to avoid hay fever from cereal crops. Of four boys, Graham was the least adventurous although before working with his father he did stints in the Netherlands and Africa, building on his training at Hadlow College. He came back and took over in 1983.
He has needed to spread out the harvest and labour on the farm to keep viable so now his season starts with asparagus in late Spring through berries and cherries to apples, plums and pears. “Cherries and plums are increasingly popular, and as well as adding to those orchards, I have recently put in apricots and greengages. They are yet to crop, but if they do well, I know there will be a demand.”
The community on the farm has also grown as Graham leases one plot to the local council for allotments. He has also invested in PV panels on the barn to help with his costs and to support a new cold storage unit. ” Storage on site means I can sell more fruit direct - we all loose a lot through selling wholesale.”
The changing climate is a source of constant problems as pest and disease surges, winter water logging and drought periods all put a strain on the trees. To combat this, he plans to have better irrigation systems and choose the more resilient varieties. Old ones like Cox's Orange Pippin are susceptible and need more spraying and attention. Expanding the range of crops too will help avoid total crop failure.
Graham wishes the government would help farmers by investing more in small businesses and less in dubious pension schemes. He is passionate that the farm stay in production after he has retired, so to that end, he has arranged that his farm manager takes over the growing while his daughter runs the business. ”I will continue to share my experience and knowledge as a consultant, but for the moment I am content to sell you fresh local fruit at affordable prices. That is what is important.”
More of Carlotta Luke's photographs of Greenway Fruit Farm can be found here...
In Season Now
Lettuce, spinach, cucumber, salad leaves, courgettes, summer squash, beetroot, carrots, potatoes, fennel, onions, french and runner beans, aubergines, peppers, chillies, tomatoes, herbs, raspberries, gooseberries, cherries, currants and blackberries. Lamb and hogget, crab, mackerel, plaice and sea trout.
Seasonal Recipes by Polly Senter
Lewes Food Market is run by Lewes Local Community Interest Company. It was founded to give the people of Lewes, and visitors, a unique opportunity to buy locally sourced fresh food products direct from the producers on a weekly basis.
Details of all the Lewes Food Market traders here...
See www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for help with wasting less food.
See www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk for exciting food news.
By buying local and eating food in season we are supporting and encouraging our local food producers. We can help them survive and multiply so that we are not so dependent on importing most of our food. With rising fuel costs, climate change affecting crops and constant international conflicts, importing is a risky business which can easily break down.