A time for plans & projects
Sow the seed With a burst of vibrant energy, spring heralds the beginning of new adventures â€“ a celebration of dynamic potential budding in the world around us, reigniting our passion for living.
Contents Spring at Trill Farm Seeds - Regaining control of our food Spring Intentions Spring Eating - Abundance of green leaves Spring Recipes - Wake up the taste buds Arable - Small scale cultivation of traditional crops Livestock - The dilemmas of livestock farming Hedgerows - Wild foraging for health and beauty Herbal Recipes using nettles, cleavers & plantain Climate Change - Mitigation & Adaptation Our Community
at Trill Farm Spring has arrived after a mild and very wet winter. It felt like the rain would never end as we squelched through the mud and across waterlogged fields. Life became increasingly miserable for the livestock and wildlife as well as for us, but then suddenly, the sun came out, and the lambs and calves have been born in the gentle spring sunshine. Welcome to a glimpse of Trill this spring and a celebration of its seasonal, organic and wild resources. Trill aims to become a thriving farm that respects and encourages our natural habitats and wildlife. We value the diversity that already exists on the farm â€“ in the woodlands, permanent pasture, water meadows and heathland. There are several different enterprises on our land and for this spring edition of our booklet, we have contributions and comments from everyone working here and also from a few friends.Â This spring marks the beginning of The Trill Seasons Box, an exciting new venture enabling all the various Trill enterprises to bring together a unique selection of their best seasonal products. By doing this we can grow and produce what we know we can sell and what our customers want. It allows us to be creative with the limited resources from the varied natural habitats of the farm. Selling these unique products directly to those who appreciate diversity and want to support small businesses is a project we hope will demonstrate a strong way to link the farmer with the customer. At the same time, it provides us an innovative way to earn an ethical living. The first spring box is packed with high-quality health & beauty, home & garden products and foods, based on whatâ€™s abundant right now from the land at Trill Farm. We hope you enjoy these products and our booklet as much as we have enjoyed producing them.
Regaining control of our food by Ashley Wheeler
Fundamentally a farmer requires seed and soil to produce a crop. How is it that the knowledge of these two most essential elements of farming has become lost? Seed saving is of course, as much an important skill of a farmer as knowledge of pests and disease and general crop husbandry. But with the rise of modern farming techniques the skill of seed selection and saving has been lost. For thousands of years farmers have been selecting the plants most suited to their land and collecting the open pollinated seed from them. This seed adapts to become well suited to the climate and soil type of that land and is known as a landrace. The consequence of each farmer saving his own seed and growing his own landraces is a huge genetic diversity within the crops. This leads to resilient plants that can tolerate stress caused by environmental pressures. Unfortunately, since the uptake of modern F1 hybrid seed, whose offspring would not produce traits true to the parent, and could therefore not be saved to reproduce reliable crops, farmers’ landraces have dwindled. The first Plant Patent Act came about in 1930 in the U.S. and led to large agricultural companies, who bred F1 hybrids, being given some legal protection for “their” seeds. The result
is that 67% of the world’s proprietary seed (i.e. seed with intellectual property rights) is owned by just 10 companies. This should be a reminder that we farmers, growers and amateur gardeners must re-envliven the skill of seed saving, and take back the control of our seeds, and ultimately our food system.
People have the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right to define their own food and agriculture systems. As spring is upon us we should not just think about where the food we are eating has come from, but also where the seed to produce it has come from. If we are growing our own food we should be saving our own seed and increasing biodiversity and crop resilience. So, if you grow your own food, think about trying to save one or two varieties of seed, and look for seed swaps in your area. If you buy produce directly from the farmer or grower, ask if they use open pollinated seed. Seeds are fundamental to our food system, and by regaining control of our own seeds it is one step towards regaining control of our food.
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.
Spring Intentions by Sandra Hill
Spring is the time of new beginnings. The days are getting lighter and after the darkness and hibernation of winter, nature springs back into life and growth. Seeds that were sown in autumn suddenly break through the ground. We follow this natural movement in nature in our own lives, our available energy increases and it’s time to put those plans that have been germinating all winter into action!
walk to free up the sides of the body; this exercises the liver and helps the body to cleanse. With the feet apart, rotate the waist, swing the arms from side to side while remaining rooted in the feet; expanding the chest and twisting and extending the sides.
Spring is about moving, stretching, cleansing, renewing. The cold of the winter tends to make us tense and withdrawn, and in the spring we need to stretch muscles and get moving! Walking, running, bicycling – any kind of exercise is good to get our muscles moving and flexible again. And it is most important to breathe. Make the most of the fresh spring air – and breathe deeply. Lengthen the breath, expand the lungs; expelling the old and taking in the new. Circle the elbows and shoulders, shake the shoulders loose to get rid of the tension that accumulates over the winter months. Swing your arms as you
Sandra Hill, acupuncturist, teacher and publisher, has worked with Romy for over 15 years establishing courses in various aspects of natural medicine and co-writing The Roots of Health. In 2003, she became a trustee of The Trill Trust. Sandra’s latest book, An Introduction to Classical Chinese Medicine, will be available in June 2014.
Cleanse your outer environment by de-cluttering, spring-cleaning and creating space to take on something new. This is the best time of the year to initiate projects. Start a new course, do something you’ve always wanted to do. The spring is the most exciting time of the year. Get in tune with that spring energy and expand into a new you – then the rest of the year will live up to your hopes!
Spring Eating by Daphne Lambert
New growth is pushing through the ground and a carnival of flavours, colours and textures are returning to the landscape. Cowslips, violets and primroses, together with blackthorn and cherry blossoms, lift the spirit after the dormancy of winter. There is an abundance of green leaves to harvest, both wild and cultivated, including nettles, salad burnet, chicory, yarrow, sorrel, dandelion, ransoms, fennel, lovage and chervil. The fresh, young, green leaves of spring help to gently cleanse, revitalise and remineralise the body, as they aid digestion, have a cleansing effect and enrich the body with important minerals and vitamins that help to bring about renewed energy. A good way to kick start your cleansing is to drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a pint of warm water each morning, then as soon as you are able, fill the fridge with the green leaves of spring and start making green juices, soups and salads. Wild-gathered ransoms and nettles are particularly good spring leaves and can easily be turned into dishes full of green vitality. The pungent smelling, green, shiny, broad leaves of ransoms (wild garlic) have similar medicinal properties to those of garlic but with the additional benefits of the cleansing and rejuvenating properties of chlorophyll. Young nettle shoots can be picked and prepared in the same way as you would spinach. Nettle soup, rich in iron, silica and potassium, is the perfect cleansing and nourishing food to be eaten as part of a spring revitalising diet.
Daphne Lambert is Medicinal Chef & Nutritionist in residence at Trill Farm. Whilst at Trill Daphne is writing her third book â€˜Living Food - a feast for soil & soulâ€™. She is the director of Greencuisine Trust, an educational charity working to deepen the understanding between soil, food and well-being.
Wilted Dandelion Greens with Fava Bean Purée 12 oz (350g) split fava beans 2 pints (1.2 litres) stock 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes ½ teaspoon chopped thyme Salt & pepper 1 lb (450g) dandelion greens Thyme sprigs
Soak the fava beans overnight, drain, cover with stock and bring to the boil, simmer until tender. Drain, reserving the juice and process in a food processor with the garlic, olive oil and lemon juice adding any of the reserved juice as required until you have a creamy purée. Return to the pan stir in the thyme and sun-dried tomato and keep warm at the side of the stove. Pour some olive oil into a pan, tip in the dandelion greens and heat through until wilted. Divide the fava bean purée between four plates and pile the dandelion greens on top. Add another splash of lemon juice, olive oil, a few thyme sprigs and a twist of salt and pepper to taste.
Spring greens and shoots to wake up the taste buds
SPRING FRITTATA Serves 4 8 spears of asparagus lightly steamed 8 eggs 2 teaspoons of Trill Spring Pesto 1 oz strong hard cheese, grated Salt & pepper 1 tablespoon butter Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 5. Roughly chop the asparagus. Beat the eggs and stir in the pesto & grated cheese, season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a sauté pan and, when foaming, pour in the egg mixture. Cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until the sides begin to set. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 – 12 minutes or until set and golden.
PEA SHOOT, CARROT AND ARTICHOKE KIMCHI SUSHI Serves 4 4 oz pea shoots 2 medium carrots cut into fine matchsticks 4 tablespoons Trill Artichoke Kimchi 4 sheets of nori 8 heaped tablespoons cooked brown rice flavoured with tamari Place a sheet of nori on greaseproof paper, cover the nori sheet with rice spreading up to the sides but leaving 1 inch at the top and 1 inch at the bottom. Arrange sprout greens on top, then the carrot sticks and finally the kimchi, then carefully roll up tightly in the greaseproof paper. Repeat 4 times. To serve cut each roll into 6 pieces. You could serve with a dipping sauce made from 1 dessert spoon honey, juice and zest of 1 orange and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce boiled briefly together.
Wild Garlic & Barley Salad Serves 4-6 200 g Trill lightly pearled barley 8 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked until soft in water 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar Salt & pepper 2 handfuls wild garlic Handful stoned black olives Handful flat leaf parsley Cook the barley in water until tender. Whilst the barley is cooking, blitz together the drained, soaked sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season well with salt and black pepper. Drain the barley, toss in the dressing and leave to cool. Finely shred the wild garlic and very roughly chop the olives and parsley. When the barley is cool, stir in the garlic, olives and parsley and serve. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Nettle soup Serves 4 1 lb (450g) nettle tops 1/2 lb (225g) floury potatoes peeled and roughly chopped 2 pints (1.2 litres) well-flavoured vegetable stock Plunge the nettle tops into boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, saving the water, then refresh in cold water. Set aside. Put the potatoes, stock and nettle water into a pan and gently simmer with the lid on until tender. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, add the nettle tops to the pan, then process to a purĂŠe in a food processor. Return to the pan and gently heat through. Season as necessary before serving.
Arable by Zoe Haigh
Our vision for Trill is a farm that thrives on diversity, with arable production alongside livestock and horticulture. The rolling hills of Devon are generally considered most suited to grazing. Of our 300 acres, most is under permanent pasture for our sheep and cows, but we have a precious 20 acres of land flat enough for ploughing and sowing with cereals. We originally chose to plant oats and barley, traditional and highly nutritional (and tasty) crops. However, growing on such a small scale (by today’s standards) is not without its difficulties, especially for barley and oats. The problem is not so much in the growing but in the processing. Unlike wheat, which is free-threshing, barley retains an indigestible outer bran layer on the grain after harvest. This needs removing by running the grain through a mill on a high setting, the result of which is pearled barley. Oats also have a husk that needs removing, and they are then often rolled if they are destined for human consumption. They are high in oils, which is what makes them an excellent food for both humans and animals, but it also means they go rancid quite quickly, and so they are then steam treated to enhance their shelf life.
These factors have made it extremely difficult for us to process our cereals as they are such small quantities. In light of this, we have stopped growing oats, but our barley, grown on “Puddley Lake” field, continues as (a delicious) part of our mixed farm strategy. Our barley crops are sown in the Spring, in March or April, depending on the weather conditions. They are a hardy crop and we don’t need to do anything to them until we come to harvest in late August/early September. We follow a very simple rotation, with a 2-4 ‘ley’ period when a mixture of rye grass, timothy grass and red & white clover is grown. The clovers are leguminous plants that capture atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into soil nitrogen to nourish the crop.
Zoe studied Biology at Lancaster University, volunteered at the Wildlife Trust and worked as a Researcher at the Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm before joining Trill Farm in 2009.
LIVESTOCK by Jake Hancock Surprisingly as a livestock farmer I am supportive of ‘eat less meat’ campaigns which are important for the environment, animal welfare and our health. However, it must be remembered that probably at least half of the UK is not suitable for cropping due to its topography, poor soils or environmental value as semi-wilderness, and I would estimate that almost 2/3 of the grass fields at Trill Farm fall into one of these categories. Most ecologists agree that grazing animals, and in particular traditional beef cattle, have an essential role to play in managing our most important grassland and heath land habitats. I am also conscious of the need to mitigate the potential negative impacts of livestock farming - especially in terms of pollution and our carbon footprint. Fundamentally this revolves around the maximum use of grazing and the minimum housing of stock which demands all the resources required for producing hay, silage and straw, as well as machinery for feeding, mucking out and dung spreading (with its risk of polluting streams and ditches). Generally we do pretty well, but since Trill is a relatively wet farm with clay fields we have to make compromises.
At Trill we don’t feed cereals to cattle or sheep, which, in terms carbon footprint, not mention feeding the world, is about the most inefficient land use going. Instead we select breeds and animals that do the job from
grass, hay and silage alone. Our Devon and Angus cattle and crossbred sheep do not get any concentrated feed at all. To highlight this point, if you assumed that all the 2 million cattle slaughtered annually in the UK were reared on an extensive system with a modest cereal intake of 225kg per head then about 500,000 tonnes of cereals would be fed to UK cattle each year. This would take up 70,000 hectares of prime agricultural land. Given the intensive beef and dairy industries from which more than half UK beef is produced, the real picture is that probably at least double this area is dedicated to producing cereals just to feed to the UK’s beef. This is just the UK picture and these acreages of land could be scaled up in terms of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and anywhere where similar forms of agriculture exist. Obviously land that can grow cereals for livestock could equally and more efficiently be producing cereals or vegetables for human consumption. The reasons for worldwide food shortages are far more complex than a lack of land to grow crops on, although there are many vested interests who would have you believe otherwise.
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.
Our flock of friendly Gotlands provide us with gorgeous grey fleece for knitting & weaving, stunning sheepskins, & lean, well-flavoured meat.
Eating sprouts is a delicious way of obtaining protein, vitamins, minerals & enzymes. Sprouts are nutritious because they contain all elements a plant needs for life & growth
Hedgerows by Amanda Cook
Our hedgerows come to life this time of year with wild plants that can be used in the kitchen and for simple home remedies. Everyone seems to talk about detox for spring, and with good reason. During the cold winter months our bodies crave hearty, warming foods to maintain our internal heat. Spring is a natural time to lighten up and switch our diets and our beauty routines to lighter, fresher, more cleansing alternatives to transition our bodies into warmer weather. Even before the garden produce is ready, our great-grandmothers would have used the first green shoots of wild plants to provide much needed vitamins, minerals and cleansing in the spring.
Amanda Cook is an award-winning certified holistic health coach specializing in natural health and beauty. She teaches women how to look and feel naturally radiant through whole foods, natural beauty and herbal remedies.
Foraging etiquetTE Always pick from abundant plants and leave more than you take Don’t pick directly along busy roads Pick above ‘dog height’ in frequent dog-walking areas Always be absolutely sure of the plant identification before picking
Nettles Nettles are some of the first spring growth to appear and are easy to identify (who hasn’t had a run-in with a nettle patch?) If you only try one remedy this year - make it nettles.
Spring Hair Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar handful of fresh nettles 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary apple cider vinegar
You’ll want to pick the young tops of the plant, just the first few sets of leaves and stem (wear gloves). You can pick nettles up until they start flowering in the summer - then stop. If you cut back the nettles in summer, you’ll get a fresh crop again in the autumn.
To make: Put the fresh nettles and rosemary in a jar, cover with apple cider vinegar. Cover the jar and let it infuse for 3 weeks, shaking occasionally when you think of it. Strain off the vinegar and put into a bottle near the bath.
As a food, nettles contain around 30% protein and are rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and silica. An easy way to get the benefit of nettles this spring is to make fresh nettle tea from the leaves. Simply put a handful of nettle leaves in a teapot, fill with justboiled water, cover the pot, and leave to infuse for 10-20 minutes before drinking. (It’s important to cover the teapot when making herbal infusions to capture any active constituents which might escape in the steam). Nettle tea is tasty and combines really well with mint leaves for a refreshing brew. Traditionally nettles have been used as an iron tonic (you can make a very nice one by soaking nettles in red wine). If you’re brave, stinging arthritic joints with nettles is a folk remedy to reduce pain and improve mobility. Because of their silica content, nettles were also used to strengthen thin skin and weak hair. I use nettles in my apple cider vinegar hair rinse, which you can use in place of, or after, hair conditioner - it makes your hair really soft and shiny! Women have used apple cider vinegar rinses for hundreds of years - and they’re still really effective today.
To use: It’s easiest to put a plastic cup on top of your bottle of hair rinse in the bath. After shampooing and rinsing your hair, simply pour about 1 tablespoon of infused vinegar into the cup. Fill the cup with water from the shower. Pour through your hair as a final rinse. There is a slight vinegar smell on the wet hair which disappears completely when the hair is dry.
Plantain is a plant that loves to appear where humans walk - you’ll find it along well trodden paths (and fortunately for foragers, in less-trafficked areas as well). Once you start looking for plantain, you’ll see it everywhere, even in urban areas. Plantain is one of the best common anti-inflammatory plants. A simple remedy for a bug bite is just to crush a plantain leaf and apply it to the bite to bring down inflammation. Aside from bug bites, plantain was also traditionally used for soothing internal tissues such as the digestive tract (gastritis, ulcers, colitis), bronchial irritation and coughs, and urinary tract (cystitis).
You might know cleavers by another name - sticky weed. It’s the plant that children like to throw at each other because its little hooks stick to everything! Cleavers is easy to identify and often grows with nettles - which is perfect, since they complement each other as a spring detox brew. Cleavers was traditionally used as a lymphatic cleanser and diuretic, and is especially good to drink as a cold infusion in the spring for a gentle cleanse.
Plantain salve is a useful preparation to have on hand for any kind of skin irritation. I pour mine into several smaller containers so I can keep one in my handbag. It’s a soothing, nourishing, moisturizing salve.
Soothing Salve with Plantain plantain sunflower or olive oil beeswax Take several handfuls of plantain leaves, and put them in a jar. Cover with sunflower or olive oil. (Be sure to cover all of the plant material with oil, as any exposed to the air may go off). Let it sit on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks to make a macerate. Strain off the oil and reserve. Put 80g of the infused plantain oil and 20g of beeswax in a bain marie. Gently heat until melted. Pour into containers and let sit until solid. Plantain salve will keep for 1 year.
Cleavers Cold Infusion 2 handfuls of fresh cleavers water Gently crush 2 handfuls of fresh cleavers in your hands, and place into a jug. Cover with cold water. Cover the jug, and let it sit at room temperature overnight. In the morning, strain off the liquid and drink 3 glasses per day during one week in spring for a gentle cleanse. It tastes like spring in a glass! Note: this cold infusion does not keep longer than 24 hours, so make fresh every day.
Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation by Godfrey Boyle
Britain’s recent torrential downpours and raging gales – extremes unprecedented for a century – must surely make the dwindling band of climate change deniers struggle to maintain their skepticism. Reports from the world’s science academies confirm that the world is rapidly warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause. The world needs to make major cuts in emissions over the next few decades if global warming is not to exceed two degrees, the level experts consider a danger threshold.
So what should the UK’s farming and food sector do to mitigate its emissions? And how should it adapt to a world of more frequent weather extremes? Mitigation One of the most detailed, and most radical, proposals for changes in Britain’s food and farming sector came in the Centre for Alternative Technology’s 2013 report Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB) Rethinking the Future. It advocates a shift to the ‘low meat diet’, involving a reduced land area devoted to animal husbandry, with much more land used for growing vegetables. This would radically reduce farming’s emissions of greenhouse gases – and lead to a much healthier diet for the UK population. Farming and horticulture would ideally be organic, as at Trill, minimizing use of artificial fertilizers, and farms would generate renewable energy from wind, solar and “second generation” biofuels to meet their own needs and to export energy to others. Trill has two banks of
solar PV panels that generate electricity for the farm. Accommodation is heated using ground source heat pumps and water is heated using solar thermal panels.
Adaptation Global temperature rises make it likely that farms will face increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, stronger winds in winter and more droughts in summer. Farms need to prepare for these weather extremes. Farm buildings and roads need to be adapted to withstand stronger winds and heavy rains. Increasing water storage should be provided for irrigation in dry summer months – though this is expensive. Farmers could be incentivized to protect natural landscape features that support the management of increased surface water. Trill has put in extra land drains for its new pear orchard – these have already made a difference. Streams have also been cleared to prevent building up of debris and work continues to strengthen weirs and bridges. More broadly, Trill advocates community supported agriculture (CSA) and co-operative/shared farming ventures, to encourage younger farmers to get involved. Trill hopes to become a partnership farm – it already has bee keeping, a livestock business and a vegetable growing enterprise working together. This year Trill Farm is looking for individuals to run its fledging herb growing business and to make a business of the 50 acres of woodlands.
Godfrey Boyle was founding editor of the Alternative Technology magazine Undercurrents in the 1970s. He is now Emeritus Professor of Renewable Energy at the Open University and editor/ co-author of the textbook “Renewable Energy” (3rd ed., Oxford, 2012)
O ur community We enjoy working and collaborating with others in order to build our knowledge and achieve our potential, and we do so in a number of ways. We are building up a diverse group of small enterprises based on the farm. While these are independently run, each contributes to the range of activities available at Trill, helping to support a thriving community and an educational trust. We also have dedicated space for volunteers to live on the farm, and get involved in our work and thinking. We benefit greatly from the enthusiasm and fresh ideas they bring to our farming and enterprises. More broadly, by opening Trill Farm up to local visitors and longer-term guests, with our activities, campsite and guest house, we are gradually building a wider community of friends who continually enrich our work in new and unexpected ways.
THIS TRILL SEASONAL BOX WAS A GROUP EFFORT Trill hand-produced ceramics are made by Sandie and Nick in our pottery Daphne creates wonderful food in the Old Dairy kitchen Joe makes our fragrant soaps and beauty products Zoe helps all our projects come to fruition from the office Jane keeps the accounts immaculate and the rest of us in order Lou tackles processes and organic certification Aysen is lending us a helping hand this spring with the overall coordination Amanda works behind the scenes to promote us Tamsin brings our ideas to life, from the first creative seed to the final product
And a quick farm update Ashley and Kate are putting up more polytunnels to satisfy the demand for salad and Jake is making use of the new Solar Barn put up last year. Noel has reported that the bees seem happy after the winter in all the 11 hives. After solving some technical problems last year, Joe is working on a range of new soaps and is ready to get on with new and exciting orders using many herbs grown in Trill Herb Garden and wild-harvested from our land. Neil and Sandie are busy looking after our newborn Gotland lambs.
Photos by Katy Peters
Musbury, Devon, EX13 8TU email@example.com 01297 631113