Friday, 18 June 2010
So yesterday it was with the understanding of the city girl gone country that I watched the chickens at Freightliner's Farm off Holloway Rd pretend that their life was a fox free zone. Clearly they didn't read the newspapers; Hackney and its child-mauling fox family isn't that far away. They had clearly been schmoozed by the tanned and handsome king of the veg box, Guy Watson who was in town with his Travelling Field Kitchen Roadshow to spread the organic word that grilled courgette, tomato and bean salad with basil dressing is so much nicer than a £2 chicken from Tesco. (Mind you, had Freightiner's own hens had a chat with the bleating lambs next door, they might not have been so frisky with him; Watson's vision is certainly no vegetarian dream).
The Riverford staff had already erected a yurt on the farm, connected by struts carved from his own ash trees in Devon and filled with tables and benches from the same eco-sound materials. Packed with Islington's most holy, including the very lovely and jolly eco-pioneer, Jill Barker and her Green Baby gang, the yurt felt like a wedding marquee as the food came and came and came. Anna Colquhoun, the Culinary Anthropologist and author of Eat Slow Britain, Secret Restaurant chef and sometimes cook at Riverford's culinary retreats was at my table. Sneaking another forkful of the sumptuous borlotti beans, she told me that the secret was wet garlic - which of course you can only really get in a Riverford box unless you grow your own. Picking them when still green and unpapered, she said, is the key to the sublime delicate taste, before chopping them into a swig of olive oil. Joined with the juice of the tenderest of lamb which was spooned with a sweet tomato salsa, it was the centrepoint of a table brimming with seasonal colour. Beets and carrots dripping with honey, new potatoes, buttered and minted, and a plate of summer greens, again sweetened with wet garlic and topped with Parmesan, and all washed down with real water - none of that poncey stuff from Brecon or the Pyrenees - for £20 a head. It's amazing what you find at city farms.
I asked Watson if he would bring his yurt to our paddock and show the good folk of Transition Town Lewes what the future of eating out looks like. He paled at the thought of doing it all again, but I bet that this time next year, he'll be pushing up our Michaelmas daisies with his ash tables.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
A sleepless night over the thought of what Dave'n'Nick are planning to do to our already creaking overdraft and I'm told to ponder on the notion of simplicity. And the vicar is right; I was never one for consumerism anyway. Poor is cool these days, and very soon everyone will be growing their own rather than leaving it to a bunch of middle class planet-savers, largely because they won't be able to do anything else. The new food market in Lewes will be buzzing with basket carrying veggie fans, driven to the sprouting and rooting rather than the lowing and bleating not because of any methane issues, but because we just can't afford it.
Do you think Nick'n'Dave will actually enforce vegetarianism in this new age of austerity?
Bring it on; lamb is so last year.