Time to harvest
Harvest & celebrate Enjoy your harvest, gather in the last of the summer crops, orchard fruits and hedgerow berries. Reflect in the morning mists and marvel at the spider webs.
Contents Autumn at Trill Farm, Tamsin Loxley Salads and saving seeds, Ashley Wheeler The dilemmas of livestock farming, Jake Hancock Enzymes, Daphne Lambert Autumn compass, Julian Barnard Recipes for Autumn, Chris Onions Badgers, Jolyon Chesworth Autumn health & hedgrows, Annie McIntyre Trill people
AT TRILL FARM
Welcome to the Trill Farm Seasons box for autumn. Our aim is to provide a physical snapshot of what Trill Farm is all about, what we’re interested in and where we’re going. This box contains an accurate portrait of our land and our people at this particular point of this particular year. There is an unmistakable delight in each season, especially the transitions between them. We feel it coming, sense the changes, relish the first dip into the wardrobe for that woolly jumper. The year and its weather are moving on regardless of our actions, the world has its own business to attend to. Earlier this year my family and I were in Malaysia working with a turtle conservation project. We had planned to arrive after the monsoon, seasons in that part of the world being more polarised than the quartered year we enjoy in Europe. Waiting for turtles to check out the beach for nesting sites I realised how much I love our UK seasons, our changeable weather and the possibilities it affords us. Even surrounded by such tropical beauty I knew I would miss our changing seasons if I lived away from my idiosyncratic corner of the world. Each of our seasons has its own character, its own function. At Trill Farm the seasons are our guide: we structure our planting, our products, what we eat, when we get up in the morning, how we celebrate, all by the distinct properties of the seasons. Every part of our working day is in some way dictated by the season, and for the most part, we love it. Bring on the rain, the earlier, darker evenings, the dropping temperatures; bring on the stunning fire of the falling leaves, spiders’ webs weighted with dew, the sound of an axe chopping firewood. Pull on your boots and get out there.
SA L A DS & S E E D SAV IN G by Ashley Wheeler
Ash and Kate have created a vegetable growing enterprise, Trill Farm Garden at Trill Farm, supplying the Trill kitchen as well as neighbouring restaurants with fresh, seasonal, varied produce.
It has been a mixed growing year. A dry June and early July, but with cool nights, meant that many of the summer vegetables took some time to get going: our tomatoes only got into full production at the very end of July and beginning of August. We had a lot of mildew on our courgette plants early on. This is caused by dry soil but high humidity, so they slowed down rapidly in July. There were blackfly as I have never seen before on our tunnel-grown french beans, so much so that we had to pull them out in July. Then the dreary weather during August led to more mildew and slow growth. However our salad has been very productive this year, and we have harvested about 1.75 tonnes from April to September, growing a wider variety of leaves than ever before. We are also saving seed from a wider variety of crops than ever before, including beans, tomatoes, beetroot, peas, various salad leaves, phacelia and many more. It is something that few growers practice: instead, we habitually sit down in the autumn and go through the seed catalogues, picking out the old favourites and choosing some new or interesting varieties. The skill of seed saving has been all but lost. The craft of being a grower or farmer is slowly being marginalised as farms become larger, more mechanised and less hands-on. In much the same way as many of the traditional crafts have been industrialised, so have traditional methods of farming and growing. As these skills become rarer, people think of them as old-fashioned, outdated and inefficient. To me it makes perfect sense to be saving seeds from the crops that grow best on our soil. In doing so we are selectively breeding crops that are suited to our location, soil and climate, rather than buying seed, much of which is grown in hotter, drier climates and is suited to very different conditions. Although it takes a bit of time to plan which plants to save seed from, and time to harvest and process the seed, much of this time taken is
when the growing season is slowing down, so it fits into our work patterns well. Something often overlooked about these traditional skills is the joy taken in practising them. I donâ€™t think I have enjoyed any other horticultural task more than harvesting, threshing and winnowing seed. It is a similar feeling to preserving food for the winter months, as the seed is dried and packed away ready to be sown next year. Another benefit of saving seed from many crops is that the plants are left to mature to a stage that is rarely seen. They are left to flower and seed, when many would be cut down and cultivated-in, or pulled out before they get the chance to flower. Flowering plants of coriander and chervil attract huge numbers of parasitic wasps and other beneficial wasps that can help to keep pest numbers in check, whilst allium flower heads are covered by bees when they open. The diversity of insect life attracted to the flowers to pollinate them is quite remarkable and must not be overlooked as a benefit of saving seed.
Keeping this fundamental horticultural skill alive is one way in which farmers and growers can take back control of a food system that has become industrialised and controlled by a very few large companies. We must try to build a food system that is based on food sovereignty principles - putting control back in the hands of people, localising the food system, building knowledge and skills, and working with nature.
L IV E ST O C K THE DI LEMM AS O F L I V ESTO C K FARM ING
by Jake Hancock As I write, we are a fortnight away from the autumn equinox and we are certainly feeling the shift in seasons, with plenty of moisture to stimulate the grass after the dry summer months; but the nights are cooling off quickly and the days are following suit. And the mushroom season is upon us. The lambs have been weaned for a couple of months, although they got off to a bad start this year, which I think was down to a gut parasite called coccidioisis which has caused us greater than normal problems this season. So they have grown slowly and we have not sold as many as we would have liked by this time of year. This has been confounded by a poor exchange rate with the Euro (the French buy half of the British lamb crop), and a slowdown in the Chinese and Indian economies (which have been stimulating the international meat prices in recent years). This ultimately means itâ€™s a bad
Following roles at the Soil Association and National Trust, Jake took on the tenancy of Trill Farm in 2010, where he runs 40 Devon and Angus suckler cows, and about 160 Exlana and crossbred breeding ewes.
year to be a British lamb producer. We have started selling lambs to a local organic farmer/retailer called Eversfield Organic who have helped the situation with a small premium over the going market rate. The cows have established their winter coats over recent weeks. They have done very well this season and we will soon wean the calves. We will also sell most of the 2014 calf crop next month, when we predict the grass will run out of steam as the autumn tightens its grip. In conjunction with Ash and Kate we held a Soil Association farm walk last month which was really well attended with more than 40 organic farmers coming to see what we get up to. It was great to have the opportunity to meet other farmers and exchange ideas. With Jolyon now helping the Trill team to increase the educational programme, we are again doing a good number of farm walks, talks and school groups. This is one of the great things about being involved at Trill, and something I very much enjoy doing.
E N Z Y MES B I OLOGIC AL C ATALYSTS
by Daphne Lambert Enzymes activate and carry out all the biological processes in the body, such as digestion, nerve impulses, the detoxification process, the functioning of RNA/DNA along with repairing and healing the body. Dr Edward Howell, a pioneer in the field of enzyme research, concluded after 40 years of study that an abundant supply of enzymes was a key factor in preventing chronic disease; how the capacity of an organism to make enzymes was exhaustible and how we utilised and replenished enzymes in our body was a measure of overall health. There are three broad categories of enzymes; metabolic, responsible for activating all our metabolic processes; digestive, which enable food to be digested; and the enzymes you take in with your food. Of the 50,000 plus enzymes, about 24 of them are digestive enzymes. The main types are proteases, which digest proteins; amylases, which digest carbohydrates; and lipases, which digest fats. The enzymes in raw food help to start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to make digestive enzymes. Constantly having to make digestive enzymes puts a strain on certain organs, in particular the pancreas causing it to swell in size, while other glands and organs, notably the brain have been found to actually shrink in size. Enzymes are destroyed by heat above 110F and in some cases lower. Too many highly beneficial enzymes are destroyed in our diets of predominantly cooked food. Enzyme deficiency will lead to poor digestion & poor nutrient absorption. This creates a variety of gastro intestinal symptoms including constipation, bloating, cramping, flatulence & heartburn. Over time, the body loses its ability to manufacture enzymes (young adults have thirty times the enzymes of the elderly) so ensuring we eat at least some enzyme rich food daily will help support digestion and vitality. Some of the most vital enzyme rich foods to include in your diet are fermented foods and sprouted seeds. All seeds have enzyme inhibitors which the soaking and sprouting process deactivate, making available to us the metabolic and digestive enzymes. Seeds that have the highest enzyme content are those with a 1⁄4-inch sprout. Both fermenting and sprouting are simple preparations and very easy to add daily to your meals.
Daphne is currently establishing her new teaching and overnight home stays near Lewes. She will still be returning to teach the Living Nutrition course at Trill Farm. Her latest book, ‘Living Foods’ is due out in January, email@example.com
RICH BLACKBERRY & APPLE BREAKFAST
Serves 1 Handful of sprouted buckwheat 1 tbsp Hemp seeds 1 dstsp Pumpkin seeds 1 dstsp Sunflower seeds 4oz (110g) Almond milk 1 tsp Honey 1 Apple diced Handful of blackberries 1 tbsp Ground flax seeds Soak the buckwheat and seeds with the honey in the almond milk overnight. Add the blackberries and apple. Serve topped with ground flax seeds. .
Autumn Compass by Julian Barnard Trill Farm nestles in a valley that runs north-south. The stream which flows down from the south widens into three shallow lakes: nearby Pudleylake is the name of the road which leads to Trill Cross and so to The Great Trill. No more than three miles from the sea and only some 50 metres above sea level. On the landscape stage of Trill we can watch the changing patterns of the year, as spring leads through summer to autumn. The shorter days and longer nights of winter a reflection of the narrowing horizon as the sun rises further towards the south and sets further from the north. At the equinox it is true east-west and by September 25th this year the sun was visible for exactly twelve hours. Except that, at Trill, sunrise is hidden behind Trinity Beacon where warning fires were once lit to alert the community to danger. The shortening days mean less light and warmth as the sun arcs ever lower in the midday sky, due south, out over Charton Bay. Most plants follow the same curve as the sun in terms of the cycle of growth: seed in the earth, climbing up through stem, leaf and on to flowering at mid-summer. As the sun declines so the cycle of growth declines with seeds falling back to earth. All very obvious for farmers and all of us gardeners. A seed catalogue arrived this morning with the allure of next spring and the temptation to plant dreams. But I shall try to watch the cold skies with joy and a sense for the great cycles of time and space. An exercise in orientation.
Julian Barnard Julian Barnard is the founder of Healing Herbs, producing Bach flower essences. Also an established author and teacher, he regularly stays in this part of Devon and visits Trill Farm.
R EC IP ES FOR AU TU M N FROM THE OLD DA IRY K ITCH EN
by Chris Onions AROMATIC PHEASANT BAKED IN HAY Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 Serves 4 1 1.5kg Whole pheasant 4 Garlic cloves 1 Star anise 300ml Dry cider 3 tsp Trill autumn seasoning 3 Bags of Trill Farm hay 100g Unsalted butter 40ml Rapeseed oil 300ml Chicken stock 1 Muslin cloth (large enough to completely wrap the bird in)
Place the pheasant on top of the muslin cloth. Rub a little rapeseed all over the bird and season well inside and outside with the autumn Seasoning. Lightly crush the garlic cloves and place inside the carcass along with the star anise. Wrap the pheasant tightly in the cloth. Now to bake you need a heavy based ovenproof pot with a lid. You want to create a nest of hay in which to bake the bird. Make sure you also cover the top with plenty more hay. Pour the cider around the sides and place on the lid. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, this will vary depending on the weight of the meat. Check by stabbing a knife through the cloth and into the thigh. The juices should run clear. Put the lid back on and let the bird rest, out of the oven, in the juices for 30 minutes. When the rest is finished remove the bird from the cloth. You now want to colour the skin. Add a touch of oil and the butter to a frying pan large enough to accommodate the whole pheasant and melt until the butter begins to foam. Place the pheasant breast side down in the pan and gently colour all over, twisting and turning the bird to ensure all over colour. Meanwhile strain the juices from the oven dishes through a sieve and add the chicken stock. Place on heat and reduce until you have made a lovely, rich and delicious sauce. Carve the pheasant and serve with the sauce. This works well with many garnishes - roasted pumpkin and chestnuts for an autumn supper or a little damson and beetroot slaw at lunch.
CHILLI, GINGER & APPLE JELLY 2kg Apples 1.2l Water 2 Lemons (zested and juiced) 700g Cane sugar (depending on juice) 2 Medium hot red chillies (finely chopped with seeds in) 1tsp Ginger (peeled and finely grated) Wash and roughly chop the apples, keep the skins on and seeds in. Put the apples into a large saucepan along with the water, ginger and lemon zest. Bring to the boil and then strain overnight through a sterilised muslin cloth or jelly bag. Measure the strained juice and add 490g of sugar for each 600ml of juice. Return the strained liquid to a large saucepan and add the chilli and sugar. Slowly heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat to a rolling boil until setting point is reached, 104.5 C. Add the lemon juice and pour into sterilised jars. Put the lid on immediately and cool for 30 minutes. Turn the jars every 30 minutes to ensure chillies are evenly distributed until the jelly has set.
DAMSON & ALMOND PASTY Makes 4 pasties
225g Unsalted butter (cut into 2cm cubes and chill) 165ml Water (chill in the freezer for 30 minutes) 3/4tsp Salt 320g Plain flour Beaten egg and sugar for glazing
100g Soft unsalted butter 125g Cane sugar 2 Eggs 125g Ground almonds 1 Vanilla pod (seeds scraped out) 60g Plain flour 400g Damsons (pitted and chopped into quarters)
These little sweet treats are perfect for those mid autumn picnics. Sieve 3/4 of the flour onto the work surface and spread into a rectangle about 1cm thick, sprinkle over the salt. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour and toss the remaining flour over the butter so that your rolling pin wonâ€™t stick, and begin rolling. When the butter starts flattening out into long, thin pieces, use a dough scraper and scrape the flour and butter mixture back into a square. Repeat the rolling and scraping 3 or 4 times. Make a well in the centre and pour all of the water into it. Using a dough scraper, scoop the sides of the dough into the center, cutting the water through the dough. Keep scraping and cutting until the dough is a shaggy mass and shape into a rectangle. Lightly dust the top with flour and roll out the rectangle until it is half as large again, then scrape the top, bottom and sides together to the original size and re-roll. Repeat 3 or 4 times until you have a smooth and cohesive dough. Transfer the rectangle of dough to a large baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.
Cream the sugar, butter and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the eggs and the chopped damsons. Then fold in the almonds and flour. Place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
TO MAKE THE PASTIES Roll out the pastry to a 7mm thick sheet and using a pastry cutter or a 10cm plate cut out circles. Brush a little whisked egg around each circle and place a spoonful of the filling in the middle, carefully fold over one side of the pastry and stick it to the other. Use a fork and seal around the edge. Place the pasty onto a baking sheet and repeat until all the pastry and filling is used. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Remove the pasties from the fridge, brush with a little egg wash to glaze and sprinkle over a little sugar. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until they are golden and crisp.
BADGER S by JOLYON CHESWORTH
“That most ancient Briton of English beasts”, as the poet Edward Thomas once described Mr Brock (the Old English name for the badger) has rarely had an easy relationship with man. The badger is now our largest land carnivore and has been burrowing these isles for over 500,000 years. During this time they has been vilified in folklore as harbingers of death, described as vermin and blamed for crop damage and predation of game, livestock and other wildlife. They were the subject of widespread persecution and “sport” in the form of baiting, whereby they were
either dug out of their setts, or chased out by terriers, and set upon by large dogs. Despite now benefiting from high levels of legal protection they are still baited, snared and gassed illegally. Public attitudes towards badgers have shifted somewhat, due in part to the portrayal of Mr Badger as a fatherly, morally upstanding character by Kenneth Grahame in The Wind in The Willows. This hugely influential story paved the way for a more positive and rigorous approach to understanding these animals, old myths and legends
were debunked and a more accurate picture of badgers emerged, proving them to be highly social and complex animals with fascinating habits. The dark loving badger is again very much in the glare of the spotlight, continuing to polarize opinion, this time over their role in the transmission of Bovine tuberculosis (bTB). The views of the Government and the National Farmers Union are that culling up to 70% of badger populations in bTB hotspots is necessary. Somerset and Gloucestershire will see a third year of culling and this year the programme will be rolled out to Dorset. Devon has been muted as a possible cull location for the future. At Trill, bTB has been a source of frustration but we do not believe that culling badgers is the way forward and we would not allow the badgers on our land to be shot. Rather than sitting around and waiting to see what happens, we thought we would be proactive in helping with an alternative solution, badger vaccination. Somerset Badger Group is made up of extremely dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers, trained and licensed to carry out badger vaccinations. All summer, Somerset Badger Group, their colleagues from Dorset Badger Group and ourselves have been surveying the Trill setts, identifying locations, activity and where possible, badger numbers. In July, we initiated the vaccination programme, which involved placing peanuts every evening in specific locations around six active setts on the farm. This feeding gets the badgers used to taking the â€˜baitâ€™ and our scent and activity around their homes. After a week of this feeding, cage traps were introduced and again each evening peanuts were placed inside the traps to get the badgers acquainted with them. After a further week of this, over a period of two nights, the traps were set to capture any badger that went inside.
Capturing a wild animal is never a particularly pleasant thing to do and I wasnâ€™t sure what to expect when, at 5am, walking through the woods on a beautiful and misty morning, we went to check the traps. I was pleased and surprised to find that the badgers we had caught seemed quiet and not anxious in their traps, it was the first time I had seen a badger so close and their brilliantly defined stripes and silver grey coats seemed to shimmer in the early morning light. The process of injection was over in a blink and the trap door was opened for the badger to be released. Rather than bolting for the nearest hole, a number of the badgers stayed in their traps and had to be cajoled out, before ambling into the bushes, none the worse for their experience.
Two things struck me as I watched the badger in its trap; the dedication, passion and hard work of the volunteers who give up enormous amounts of time, and their beds, to help look after our beautiful wildlife in the face of ever increasing threats and how, when facing these badgers, I would much rather see them vaccinated than to pull the trigger.
Jolyon Chesworth is Director of Education of The Trill Trust, having previously worked for 15 years as a marine ecologist, conservationist and educator for wildlife conservation organisations. He is passionate about providing opportunities for people to re-connect with nature.
AUTUMN HEALTH & HEDGEROWS Annie McIntyre A healthy immune system is the key to warding off colds and coughs, particularly in the winter when infections are rife. A good diet with regular exercise, rest and relaxation will help to keep infections at bay. Take plenty of your exercise outdoors to keep your lungs healthy, and to minimize the hours spent in stuffy overheated rooms.
To maximize your resistance to the infections that cause coughs there is a wealth of remedies from the plant kingdom to help you. The best are vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, sweet peppers, blackcurrants, blackberries, apples and green vegetables. They stimulate the little hairs lining the bronchi in the lungs and help them to clear out toxins and irritants efficiently.
50g Fresh or 25g dried thyme leaves 600ml Boiling water 300g Runny honey 300g Sugar
Onions, leeks and garlic have antiseptic qualities and can prevent and clear infection from the chest. Turnips and brassicas, such as cabbage, stimulate the immune system and also fight infection. Carrots have expectorant action that can clear phlegm from the throat, while spices such as ginger and cayenne can decongest the airways.
This sweet fragrant syrup from Greece makes an excellent remedy for all kinds of coughs. Thyme is highly antiseptic and, with its expectorant action, chases away infection and clears congestion from the chest. A perfect syrup for children with its smooth velvety texture and delicious taste.
Place the thyme in a teapot. Pour on boiling water, cover and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Heat the infusion with the honey and sugar in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Stir in the mixture as it starts to thicken and skim off any scum from the surface. Leave to cool. Pour into a cork-stoppered bottle and store in the refrigerator. Take 2 teaspoons, 3 times daily for chronic problems and every 2 hours for acute conditions in children.
CHILDREN’S FEVERS Fevers produced by childhood illnesses represent a strong and vital response to toxins and provide an opportunity for the child to cleanse the system and throw off toxins accumulated not only during the child’s life but also inherited from parents at the embryonic stage of development. We can aid this process by not giving a child with fever solid food, just plenty to drink. This encourages sweating and elimination of toxins via the pores as well as through the kidneys and bladder. There are certain herbs that actually encourage sweating which would be ideal here, including basil, lime-flower, lemon balm, elderflower, peppermint, yarrow, chamomile, ginger and cinnamon. Drinks prepared from fruits, vegetables and herbs packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements will provide nutritional support for the immune system in its fight against infection. Those with a mild laxative action will also help to speed the cleansing process. Apples, apricots, blackberries, bilberries, blackcurrants, carrots, peas, celery, garlic and onions would all be beneficial.
ENGLISH BLACKBERRY CORDIAL This sweet spicy cordial is delicious enough to be loved by children and provides a great remedy for aiding the body’s fight against infection and throwing off a fever at the same time. Blackberries are packed with vitamin C and bioflavonoids, they have a decongestant action and clear toxins from the body through their laxative and diuretic effects. The spices increase sweating by stimulating the circulation and have powerful anti-microbial properties.
900g Ripe blackberries or enough to produce 600ml juice 6 tbsp Runny honey 10 Cloves 5 Slices fresh root ginger 1 tsp Ground cinnamon Press the ripe, raw blackberries through a sieve to obtain the juice. Place in a pan and add the honey and spices. Bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring until the honey has dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool. To drink add hot water and dilute to taste. Drink a cupful every 2 hours.
The season of â€˜mists and mellow fruitfulnessâ€™ is certainly a good time to make use of the abundant fruit that might otherwise go to waste on the ground in the orchard or in the fruit bowl. Drinks packed with vitamins and minerals made from apples, pears, plums, blackberries and elderberries, provide vital nutrients for the immune system and serve to prepare us well for the onslaught of winter and the ills it may bring. Spices added to enhance the flavor of the fruit have the extra benefit of stimulating the circulation, keeping us warm as the weather turns colder.
This rich dark-red cordial is a storehouse of vitamins A and C, and a delicious syrupy remedy for preventing and treating coughs colds and flu, sore throats and fevers. Until the end of the 19th century hot elderberry drinks were sold on the streets of London on cold winters days and nights to give cheer to workers and travellers and to keep out the cold. Cinnamon was often added to elderberry rob to enhance its warming effect.
450g Fresh elderberries 450g Brown sugar Strip the berries from their stems, wash and then crush them. Place in a pan with the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer until a syrupy consistency is reached. Pass through a sieve and bottle in clean airtight bottles. Take 1-2 tablespoons in a cup of hot water regularly as a preventative or at the onset of cold symptoms. This recipe works well with other fruit such as blackberries and blackcurrants.
Annie McIntyre Annie runs a one year course in experiential herbalism at Trill Farm, using the herb gardens and hedgerows to teach the practical side of using herbs.
Musbury, Devon, EX13 8TU firstname.lastname@example.org 01297 631113
TR I LL PEO PLE “
Bringing the seasonal boxes together is a creative challenge - but one that we all enjoy. Around me there’s a flurry of fragrance trials, foraging, recipe tasting, and copy writing, while I work on marketing, queries and keep an eye on sales. Its a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the team here that we manage to produce such lovely boxes on time as well as running courses, lunches, a B&B, a herb garden, livestock and volunteers! This time around we are very pleased to be making up the boxes up in our newly completed packing room. Finally a dedicated space to help create order from the chaos! Next thing needed is to get a wood burner in there so we’ll be cosy when preparing the winter box!
Woodwork is a practical skill that requires practice. At the end of the process you can arrive at something tangible and I have heard that this is one of the most satisfying things you can do. It is the tools that shape a piece of timber but as you use them they start to become an extension of your body. Your ability to manipulate them becomes second nature. As you form the separate parts of the joints you know they are the piece of the whole. Not until the parts are joined together does it becomes clear. A fine approach to finishing the piece will bring a smile that lasts for years.
THIS TRILL SEASONAL BOX WAS A GROUP EFFORT Zoe does the overall box co-ordination Ruth creates the woodwork products Chris makes the wonderful cordial, salt and salsa Daphne has made the delicious jam preserve Joe makes the fragrant soaps and beauty products Sandie helps all our products come to fruition Jane keeps the accounts immaculate and the rest of us in order Romy edits the Trill mag Tamsin brings our ideas to life
Photos by Rebecca Bernstein