New beginnings With spring there is new opportunity Vibrant energy heralds new life inspires renewal & well-being
Contents New beginnings, spring at Trill Farm by Romy Fraser Sowing and saving seeds by Ashley Wheeler Spring hedgerows by Amanda Cook Juice by Daphne Lambert Silver birch by Cathy Skipper Calving and lambing by Jake Hancock Recipes for spring by Chris Onions The Trill Trust & education by Jolyon Chesworth
Trill Farm NEW BEGININGS A New Education Director for the Trill Trust It is with great pleasure that I’d like to introduce you to Jolyon Chesworth. He joined us at Trill Farm in January after years working for environmental conservation charities (and a short stint at Natural England). Keep an eye open for new courses, developments and changes in our educational work. A Carpentry Workshop Ruth Thomson is setting up a carpentry workshop and carpentry courses at Trill. As well as being a great wood worker, Ruth also plays the guitar, sings and rides motorbikes. Her first two courses have got off to an acclaimed start. Hopefully we’ll start to see some beautiful benches appear around the farm. The Kitchen at Trill Farm Chris Onions is starting some new projects here at Trill – open lunches on Wednesdays. Drop by at 1pm and for £8 you’ll get plates of Trill Farm produce, deliciously cooked and served with lots of friendly people around. Come and visit. A Wetland Walkway Steve has completed the walkway made from the alder trees. Making a virtue of the storm-destroyed weir and wetland regrowth, we have planned a mini adventure across the middle pond. We’ll be able to spot the freshwater wildlife, relax on the island and jump across the stepping stones. New Products Time to dream up new products and ideas, this is where my heart is. How can you fail with such a beautiful place to inspire you? This spring we have collected birch sap. The box is a treat four times a year, to arrive at your door and reminding you that life can be good, delicious and from an organic farm. Have a good year and in the meantime, listen out for the birdsong, such a wonderful way of heralding the spring.
SO W I NG & S AV I N G SE E D S by Ashley Wheeler The propagating tunnel is the engine room of the vegetable garden. During spring it is literally full of seeds: some waiting to germinate; some in the first stage of germination, pushing the cotyledons up through the compost that surrounds them; and some which still cling to the leaf after they have used all of their resources to sustain the plantâ€™s first few days. Stress caused to the plants at this early stage of development can have a hugely negative impact on their growth when planted out. Sowing at the correct times, providing enough warmth and frost protection, watering sufficiently and ensuring good air flow, are all essential in raising healthy plants, which are less susceptible to pest and disease attack. Over the year we usually sow around 300,000-400,000 seeds, so it is extremely important that we get this bit right. I have spent some time this winter preparing the propagating tunnel â€“ building new benches, and improving the frost protection around the heat benches. These improvements make better use of the space and mean that we can propagate plants more efficiently. I also take great pleasure in not just getting by in a haphazard way, but instead working in an organised environment where systems are in place and work well. However, after being at Trill for five years now, I am only just getting to this point.
We are also planning to cultivate new ground within the garden this year and dedicate it solely to the production of seeds. We will use the seed saving area not only to transplant biennial crops such as beetroot, carrots and parsnips (which would otherwise get in the way of our growing system if left in place to seed), but also to grow annual crops for harvesting seed from. I hope to save seed from over 20 different vegetable varieties this year. By selecting the healthiest plants we will be choosing those that are most suited to our soil and location. In doing so over a number of years we hope to build up a number of varieties that have adapted to our situation and become an important backbone to a resilient garden. The seed is where it all starts and ends for a vegetable, and it is critical that we develop varieties that are suited to the land that we grow on. Rather than relying on a handful of large companies controlling our seeds, we must take the seeds back into our own hands. With this in mind we have recently set-up a seed saving network in the South West amongst growers and farmers. Each member will commit to saving at least one variety of vegetable and we will exchange seeds at the end of the season, as well as getting together for workshops to develop our skills of our seed saving. Gradually we can take back control of our seeds and our future...
Ash and Kate have created a vegetable growing enterprise, Trill Farm Garden at Trill Farm, supplying the Old Dairy Kitchen as well as neighbouring restaurants with fresh, seasonal, varied produce.
Spring Hedgerows by Amanda Cook Spring brings such a feeling of optimism and new beginnings. As the days grow lighter, and the new shoots of cleavers and nettles emerge through the grass, we feel drawn to lightening up our bodies as well. Much like giving your house a thorough spring clean, the idea of doing a spring detox for our bodies and our beauty routines is a timeless tradition. When people relied on eating what was only in season and growing around them, it was natural that their diet would shift to more cleansing greens as spring approached - because that’s what was abundantly available. Today we can use the hedgerows to add a cleansing but nutrient-dense element to our bodies as well as our beauty routines. It’s worth thinking about your internal beauty routine as well as the cosmetic approach. By cleansing and nourishing your body from within - you’ll see the results in your skin, hair and nails - much more effectively than simply relying on cosmetic products.
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
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. VintageAmanda.com
Nettles & CLEAVERS
Violet Facial Toner
Nettles and cleavers are some of the first spring-like shoots youâ€™ll see, and theyâ€™re often growing together. When taken together in a tea, they work in synergy to provide a big dose of greenery and minerals, as well as gentle cleansing of the lymph system, which should result in clearer, brighter skin!
Makes 100 ml
Chickweed is a soft, gentle, cooling herb, which is great eaten in salads, sandwiches or as pesto, but also cools and soothes inflamed skin. Violets are another cooling, moistening herb that are very soothing to the skin. You can use both the flowers and the leaves in tea and beauty products.
Apple cider vinegar Handful of violet flowers and leaves Rosewater Vegetable glycerine Put the violet flowers and leaves in a jar, cover with apple cider vinegar and close the lid. Let it sit for two weeks. Then strain off the vinegar and reserve, discarding the violet leaves. In a pretty 100ml bottle, combine 20ml infused apple cider vinegar with 1tsp vegetable glycerine and fill the remainder of the bottle with rosewater (approximately 80ml). Shake gently to combine. Apply with cotton wool to the skin after cleansing.
Cleavers Cold Infusion My very favourite way to use cleavers. 2 handfuls of cleavers Jug/Pitcher Fresh, cold water Gently crush the cleavers in your hands, and then place into the jug. Cover with water. Drape a cloth across the top of the jug to cover, and let it sit overnight. Drink 3-4 glasses of the cold infusion spaced throughout the next day. Discard the cold infusion after 24 hours and prepare fresh. You can repeat this for 2-3 days for a gentle spring cleanse. The cold infusion tastes like a burst of spring in a glass - really refreshing!
JUICE by Daphne Lambert
Daphne Lambert is an award winning chef, author and founding member and CEO of Greencuisine Trust. She is an expert in the field of health and nutrition. Daphne’s new book ‘Living Food - a feast for soil & soul’ is out soon. See www.greencuisine.org for more details.
Pure raw juices have a great healing power: they quickly make available all of the valuable elements of the fruit or vegetable. If you feel tired or jaded they help to revitalise your energy. They do this by giving the digestive system a rest. They aid the body in destroying dead and diseased cells and help to give your body a kind of spring clean. Once you have a juicer they are simple to make and delicious to drink. Fruits are highly eliminative by nature, especially citrus fruits; vegetables have a milder cleansing action on the body and are extremely restorative.
Apple: Apple juice is a great cleanser: it purifies the blood and is helpful to the skin and liver. It is also a good general tonic. Juice and drink at once. Rich in Vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.
Beetroot: A great juice to improve the blood. A good general tonic. The minerals in beetroot juice make it an excellent liver, kidney and gall bladder cleanser. Contains potassium, iron, sodium and manganese. Juice the leaves as well, as they are particularly rich in manganese. Start by mixing 4 oz (110g) of beetroot with 12 oz (350g) carrot juice until you have become used to it.
Celery: Especially calming for those with nervous disorders. Rich in organic sodium chloride. Half carrot juice and half celery juice makes a particularly well balanced mineral drink. Fennel: Very good for indigestion as it is an alkalising food.
Garlic: Has a beneficial effect on the lymph system aiding the removal of toxins from the body. It is a valuable cleanser of the mucus membranes. Excellent for colds, flu and intestinal disorders.
Lemon: Has a powerful alkaline effect on the body. Full of Vitamin C. Powerful against bacteria. Cabbage: Excellent juice for constipation. May cause flatulence as the juice will break down putrefying matter in the intestines. Rather strong tasting on its own. Carrot: Everyoneâ€™s favourite juice. Rich in carotene, potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, with a good supply of iron, magnesium and manganese. The juice helps fight infection and calms the nervous system, it promotes vitality and a sense of well being. It makes the ideal mixer for other vegetable juices
Parsley: A very potent herb. Mix 2 teaspoons with 1/2 pint (275ml) carrot juice. Used as a general stimulant. Nettle: cleansing, nourishing, revitalising. Nettle juice is one of the most beneficial juices for the entire digestive system and all of the eliminative organs. Very rich in minerals. Watercress: A good juice for intestinal cleansing. The juice is extremely bitter: only use a little in combination with other juices.
Grapes: Grapes have a very powerful cleansing action and help to stimulate metabolism. Excellent for ridding the body of excess uric acid. *USE ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLES* By juicing you are concentrating both nutrients and any chemicals that may be present. We advise you to only use organic fruit and vegetables for this reason.
Si lve r bi r c h (Betula pendula) by Cathy Skipper I befriended this tree many years ago when as a young girl I was interested in runes and their meanings. The rune Berkana is the rune of the birch tree, re-birth, renewal, regeneration, sanctuary, and motherhood, but it wasn’t until I started collecting birch sap from a wood in the hills many years later that I began to understand the symbolism behind the rune. When the signs of spring are still only a pulsation from inside the earth, the silver skinned birch responds by calling the sweet mineralised waters up through her slender, luminous trunk with a force that triggers the awakening of spring and enables us to feel this seasonal re-birthing of life’s vital force. The first sips, straight form the tree of the sweet sap are still a moment when symbolically the seasons have turned and physically the groggy body fluids of a static winter can be renewed with the flowing waters of spring. The birch like the pine prefers the colder regions of this planet, noticed for their resistance, the birch is very well adapted to the extreme conditions of Northern Europe. It serves the daily needs of the northern people (housing, clothing, food, medicine) but also a link between the visible and invisible. The birch brings the liquids of the earth up through its trunk and the celestial forces down to the earth. The doorway that the birch opens is one that facilitates our communication with our natural surroundings and nature’s spirits. One of the major constituents in birch
is methyl salicylate, which alongside the draining and depurative action will ease muscular and rheumatism pain. Birch gets things moving and leaves way for renewal, cleansing and transformation of matter and energy. Birch sap is great medicine but difficult to keep for any amount of time, it is at its best of course when drunk straight from the tree; however not everyone is in a position to do this. It keeps for 3-4 days in a refrigerator before fermenting. Some companies in Europe pasteurize or freeze it for commercial use. Both of these methods will change the inherent make-up of the sap which, according to Dr Tétau, contains among other things two glycosides that liberate methyl salicylate through enzymatic hydrolysis, thus giving the sap its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. I prefer personally to keep well away from this type of product. The best way I have found to stabilize the sap is by making it into a tincture. The alcohol should end up at as near to 12° as possible: this way the sap can be preserved with as little dilution as possible. It can then be used alone, or added to other tinctures.
Cathy Skipper is a co-founder of the international herbal network, Herbalistes sans Frontières. Cathy teaches field botany, aromatic medicine, medicinal plants and practical herbalism in France. She has just published a book on Aromatic medicine.
Eggs collected from our hens
Zoe harvesting cleavers
CALV IN G & L A M B I NG T HE DI L E MMAS O F L I V E STO CK FARMING
by Jake Hancock Late winter to spring is my least favourite part of the year when grazing animals and the grassland on which they live feel bleak and hungry and in need of warm sunshine. There is no time to think about anything other than lambing and calving. By the end of this time the farm and its livestock will be looking at their best, and winter will be a dim and distant memory! At the beginning of March the calves that were weaned last autumn and have spent the winter in the barn eating silage and hay (from Trill meadows), were moved to their summer grazing on Turnworth Down in Dorset. This beautiful National Trust nature reserve is a sublime mixture of wood-pasture and chalk down and makes the perfect habitat for cows to find everything they could want, sharing their home with a wide range of endangered British wildlife and helping to preserve it. Meanwhile back at Trill there is only a two-week window to clean out the barns of winter straw and dung before cows start calving towards the end of March. They will be brought into Trillâ€™s new Solar Barn at this point to calve, although as soon as the calves are a few days old they will all go back outside to graze.
All the sheep stay outside for lambing, so we hope that spring has beaten winter into submission by the middle of the month - life can prove difficult until it warms up! There is a balance to be had between timing the lives of the lambs to make best use of spring grass growth, whilst not being born so early as to put new lives at unnecessary risk. Outdoor lambing in March takes a gamble on average seasonal weather conditions, so there is always a risk of getting caught out especially by a combination of persistent rain and cold. The Gotland ewes lamb two weeks later than the Cheviots but for both flocks we have dropped our lambing back by two weeks to the middle of March and April to reduce the risk of problems, and have made space in the barn to house newborn lambs and their mothers in a real emergency. At the time of writing we are keeping our fingers crossed for a warm and kind spring!
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.
R E C IP E S F O R SP R IN G by Chris Onions Spring shoots, puffed buckwheat, preserved lemon & labneh This is one of my favourite early spring recipes - it’s not only delicious, but it also draws me out to the hedgerows, searching for the first small shoots of the year. There is flexibility: the spring shoots could be whatever you fancy: asparagus, broad beans or even shaved fennel. The puffing technique works with other grains like barley, and feta could replace labneh. Makes four starter portions. Many of the elements can be prepared in advance.
500ml good quality full fat plain yoghurt ½ tsp fine sea salt
This will take some time to be ready but it’s a great way to use up left over lemons after juicing, turning their bitterness into a must-have salty and aromatic condiment. You can of course buy them!
1. Simply mix the salt and yoghurt together in a bowl then pour this mixture into a muslin lined sieve. 2. Draw in each corner to create a little bundle. Tie your bundle with some string and hang with a bowl underneath in the fridge overnight to create soft cheese texture. This is the labneh. 3. The leftover liquid is also delicious, great for braising celeriac in or adding into bread dough to bring extra flavour and a soft crumb. Reserve your basic labneh until needed.
10 unwaxed lemons (juiced or not juiced, and cut into wedges) 1kg fine sea salt 30 black peppercorns 8 cloves 8 fresh bay leaves 1.5 litre sterilised preserving jar In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well, rubbing the salt, herbs and spices all over the lemon quarters. Pack the lemon mixture into your jar, add a layer of lemon and spices, then salt, and repeat until the jar is well packed. Fasten the lid and wrap the jar in a cloth. Store at room temperature for 2 months before using. It is good to turn the jar upside down every few days.
To complete the dish
300g buckwheat 1.5 litre sunflower oil Sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp. labneh Puffed buckwheat 2 wedges of the preserved lemon (rinsed in cold water and finely chopped) Selection of shoots (pea, cress, sprouted alfalfa, ground elder, cleavers) 100ml extra virgin olive oil Juice of 1 lemon Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 80C or the lowest possible gas mark. Boil the buckwheat in water for around 15 minutes until tender. Drain well and spread out on a tray in a single layer. Put into the oven to dry completely. This may take up to 4 hours. Every half hour or so stir the buckwheat to ensure even drying. It is a lengthy process, which can also be done in a dehydrator. The results, though, are fantastic. When the buckwheatâ€™s totally hard and dry, heat the oil in a deep heavy-based pan to 180C. Carefully fry in batches for no more that 10 seconds. I recommend cooking a little batch first to get a feel for it. When you are happy with the crunchiness of the grain, drain onto kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and pepper. When all the buckwheat is done it can be stored in an airtight container and will remain crisp for 2 weeks.
Spread a layer of the labneh onto the plate and sprinkle with the buckwheat. Now arrange the shoots on top. In a small bowl combine the preserved lemon, olive oil and lemon juice. Correct the seasoning and spoon over the shoots.
Nettle Tagliatelle with Asparagus & Fresh cheese Serves four 400g nettle tagliatelle 100g fresh curds (recipe below) 150ml fresh whey 100ml extra virgin olive oil 3 garlic cloves(finely sliced) Small bunch chives (finely chopped) 10 mint leaves (finely sliced) 16 fresh asparagus spears (chopped into 1cm pieces) Zest of 1 lemon A pinch of Trill Spring Seasoning
Dandelion & Ginger Cordial Dandelions are not only beautiful but also versatile in the kitchen. The young bitter leaves make a great addition to spring salads, paired with young yarrow, sorrel, ground elder and a vinaigrette. Even the roots can be hauled up, dried and ground to offer a rather interesting coffee alternative. But itâ€™s the petals that we use here.
300g dandelion petals 15g root ginger (peeled and sliced thinly) 1.5kg cane sugar 6 lemon (juice and zest) 3 litres water
To make the fresh curds you will need 1 litre of full fat milk and something to split the curds from the whey. Lemon juice, vinegar, or even nettles work. For best results though, I use either animal or vegetarian rennet which will come with simple instructions. When you have separated the curds and whey, strain the curds in a sieve lined with muslin until it resembles cottage cheese. Reserve the whey. For this recipe the curds are left plain, but lemon zest, garlic, black pepper or chopped herbs make for a delicious topping for bruschetta.
Pick the dandelions on a sunny day. This is when the juices are high in the plant and at their most delicious. Using scissors, snip off the petals into a bowl. Discard the green bits.
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Warm half the olive oil in a frying pan and add the asparagus. Fry on a medium heat for 3 minutes, add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the whey and boil to reduce by half. Add the lemon zest. Drain the pasta and add to the pan along with the remaining oil, herbs and spring seasoning. To emulsify the sauce and make it creamy, toss the ingredients in the pan. This ensures that the pasta will be nicely coated with all the flavours. Serve immediately.
Pass the liquid through fine muslin then bring to the boil, add the sugar, stir to dissolve, add the lemon juice and return to boil for 1 minute.
Add the ginger and 1/2 of the dandelion petals to a pot of boiling water and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Put the rest of your petals and the lemon zest into a container and pour over the boiling liquid. Cover and leave to steep for 24-48 hours, no more.
Pour into hot sterilised bottles and seal immediately. Store in a cool place and enjoy with plenty of ice and soda, it also makes a superb addition to a botanic gin cocktail.
Barley, Wild Garlic & Nettle Arancini Arancini are a great way of using up left over risotto rice. For this recipe I have substituted the rice with barley. These little savoury balls sing of spring with their green, creamy filling, and the wild garlic cuts the richness well. This recipe will make 12 arancini and easily feed 4 people as a main course.
30 nettle tops (pick the top 4-6 leaves) 20 wild garlic leaves (finely sliced) bunch of parsley (finely chopped) 3 eggs 300g pearl barley 75g grated hard goats cheese 1 small onion (finely diced) salt and pepper 50g butter 200g plain flour 350g fine breadcrumbs 1.5 litres sunflower oil
To make the nettle puree, blanch the nettles in salted boiling water for 1 minute, remove and plunge into iced water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Place the nettles in the food processor with one egg and the parsley, blitz to a puree, and reserve. Melt the butter and sweat the onion gently until tender and translucent, add the barley and a good pinch of salt, and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the stock ladle-by-ladle until the barley has become creamy and tender. You want it to be slightly thicker than a risotto as the puree and cheese will moisten the mixture. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Spread the barley onto a tray to cool. Once cool, scrape into a bowl and add the nettle puree, finely sliced wild garlic and seasoning. The mixture should be dry enough to form small balls with your hands, if not, add a little plain flour to achieve the desired consistency. Roll your arancini balls and pop in the freezer for 1/2 hour to firm up. Remove and roll firstly in flour, then the remaining whisked egg, and finally coat well with the breadcrumbs. Return to the fridge for 1/2 hour. Heat the oil in a deep pot to 160C. Deep fry the balls in batches till golden and crisp. Drain, season and serve.
The trill trust & ed u cation by Jolyon Chesworth Spring is all about seeds, whether they be those planted by Ash and Kate in their market garden to harvest later in the year, or our wild annual plants and flowers that start to unfurl with the light and warmth after the winter. As the new Director of Education for The Trill Trust, the education charity based on Trill Farm, this spring I will be working to plant our own metaphorical seeds in peoples’ fertile minds, hoping they too will germinate and burst in to life. I have a passion for the natural environment, having spent the last fifteen years working for conservation organisations, helping to look after it, and encouraging others to do the same. I’m never more content than when outside experiencing the natural year and in these parts you don’t have to go far to see amazing sights; woodlands carpeted with bluebells, swallows cartwheeling in the skies, or the winter waves pummeling the shore making you marvel at how anything can survive, let alone thrive, under such conditions. I am not alone in feeling like this, there is now a wealth of evidence that demonstrates that the simple act of being outside, soaking up the sights and sounds and discovering new things, contributes so much to our physical and mental health and wellbeing, making us happier and healthier, qualities we value greatly at Trill. But it is easy to get sidetracked by our busy lives, and to forget all this, and to take for granted what our natural environment does for us. My aim at The Trill Trust is simple, to provide inspiration and opportunities that allow people to connect with their
natural environment, to enjoy it, to learn from it and to develop a strong desire, and the knowledge, to take care of it so that it will continue to bring us the benefits that we can sometimes forget. We already have a diverse range of adult education courses, affording opportunities to learn crafts and skills such as carpentry and willow weaving, or how to use our natural environment to look after our health through food, herbal remedies and natural beauty products. We will be supplementing these with other further courses focussing on farming and food. I am also keen to place increased emphasis on nature connection for children, young adults and families. A recent study found that just 10% of children play in the natural environment compared to 40% of adults when they were young. This ‘extinction of experience’ can lead to apathy and has a detrimental long-term impact on environmental attitudes and behaviours, as well as limiting the opportunities for developing ‘soft skills’ such as independence, resilience and self confidence that are critical for young people if they are to become inspiring leaders of sustainable and environmental practice in their own right. Trill Farm is such a wonderful classroom and by working with others in the local and regional education community I hope we can develop the Trust and the farm into a real community asset, sowing the seeds that will help influence, and ultimately improve, the stewardship of our natural environment and resources.
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.
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.
THE TRILL SEASONAL BOX IS A GROUP EFFORT Romy produces the brochures and the inspiration Jolyon has been busy creating new courses for The Trill Trust Zoe does the overall coordination Chris creates the delicious food Joe makes our fragrant soaps and beauty products Sandie grows and makes the teas and packs the boxes Jane keeps the accounts immaculate and the rest of us in order Lou tackles processes and organic certification Tamsin brings our ideas to life, from the first creative seed to the final product
Musbury, Devon, EX13 8TU firstname.lastname@example.org 01297 631113