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2014

Time to rest


Rest & Reflect Time to rest and recharge. Take a break. Re-energise and realign with what is important. Enjoy the long dark evenings and frosty mornings and the warmth of fires with family and friends.

Contents Winter at Trill Farm, Romy Fraser Weeds & Slugs, by Ashley Wheeler Healing Foods, by Daphne Lambert Winter Recharging, by Sandra Hill Hello, from Chris Onions The Dilemmas of Livestock Farming, by Jake Hancock Fish, by Steve Shaw Hedgerows - Foraging for Health & Beauty, by Amanda Cook Trill People


at Trill Farm At last it feels like winter is on its way. There were comments recently about it being the warmest year since the 1700’s. But I have always liked and looked forward to these crisp mornings of December when the sun is low and the light on the frosty grass is magical. Outside it is quiet and cold here at Trill, but there’s warmth and a good welcome indoors, with fires burning and a year of our preserves to enjoy! And we have something to celebrate! Joylon is joining The Trill Trust as Director of Education in January. This is good news indeed. Zoe and I have already planned the outline of the courses for 2015, along with our team of tutors who by now are all well proven to be inspiring teachers and professional experts. We all know there is so much more to do! I am really looking forward to Joylon bringing his passion for conservation to Trill and introducing some initiatives to make this a thriving and challenging place to learn about and connect with nature. In the meantime, my plan is to curl up in front of a log fire, catch up on reading and indulge in some reflections. It’s the time of year to do this and to prepare for the winter festivities and celebrate with friends and family. Have a happy new year and everyone at Trill welcomes you to our courses and products in 2015!

Romy Fraser


WEE DS & SLUGS by Ashley Wheeler


For a vegetable grower, autumn and winter is the time for slowing down and putting the garden to bed. On our heavy soil we tend not to grow too much winter veg, other than a few brassicas (which never seem to like it very much) and some parsnips, as well as plenty of jerusalem artichokes. This means that there is not much to harvest through the winter, as the salad and other crops in the tunnels sit and wait for longer, warmer days. I am never fussed about keeping the garden weed-free over winter -- in fact quite the opposite. I like to ensure that as much of the soil as possible is covered and protected over winter, and leaving weeds is one way of doing this. They hold the soil together, protecting its structure and minimising soil erosion caused by the heavy rains of winter. Any ground that is bare until about November tends to be sown with cereal rye and vetch (weather permitting – it has been too wet to get onto the ground and cultivate it in preparation for sowing this autumn). This ensures that the nutrients in the soil are not lost through leaching. The rye has extensive roots, which are great at holding onto nutrients and also bringing them up from deep in the soil. The vetch fixes some nitrogen from the atmosphere, and so when the green manure is turned in during spring, there is a steady release of nutrients for the following crops. If, as in this year, the soil is too wet to cultivate and prepare for sowing green manures in the autumn, we tend to either leave a weed cover or cover it with straw to protect it and add organic matter, as well as providing a good habitat for worms, which aid drainage.

Looking after crops in the tunnels is very different, as they don’t get the continual winter rain that leads to leaching. We try to keep the tunnels weed free most of the time. This helps to remove slug habitats, which cause the most damage over winter. We have had probably around 500 lettuce and chicory eaten by slugs in the tunnel this autumn, making me resort to collecting the dregs from a local brewery and enticing the slugs with award-winning beer. Slugs are by far our main pest, especially in the tunnels, and they are not especially easy to control organically. One method is “organic” slug pellets based on Ferric Phosphate (Iron). However, I am not totally comfortable using these, having seen reports suggesting that the chelating agent used in these pellets, called EDTA, is poisonous to other species and highly toxic to earthworms. I think I will stick to the beer. Winter is a time in which I delve deeper into the politics of what we do as farmers and growers and put more time into working for The Landworkers’ Alliance. We have recently formed a seed saving co-operative amongst farmers and growers in the South West, and will be hosting a session about seed sovereignty and seed networks at the excellent Oxford Real Farming Conference in January. It is great to get a wider picture of what we are doing and be able to step back from it in the winter to realise why we are doing it. We can then get back to it in the spring, re-fuelled with enthusiasm and energy.

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.


Healing Foods by Daphne Lambert In the Winter there are two healing foods in abundance - nuts and dark green leafy vegetables. Packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, nuts are one of the Winter season’s best foods. Buy unshelled nuts so that all the nutrients are preserved right up to the moment you crack and eat them. Cracking nuts around the fire with my Dad is one of my earliest memories - also never being able to crack the Brazil nuts!! Nuts vary a lot in their nutrient profile. Almonds are high in mono-unsaturated fat and a good source of protein. They are very rich in calcium and contain good quantities of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin A. Rather than buying almonds from vast Californian mono-cultures, try to source your organic nuts from Spain or Italy. Brazil nuts grown in the Amazon forest are an important indigenous food. The protein in Brazil nuts is high in methionine, which can be the deficient amino acid in a plant-based diet. Unusual for a vegetable food, about 30% of its total fat content is saturated fat, with the remainder made up of mono & polyunsaturated fats. The high fat content means shelled Brazil nuts go rancid quickly. Hazelnuts are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, iron, calcium and vitamin E. Hazelnuts are one of the best natural sources of the trace element boron, which is associated with calcium, magnesium and phosphorous metabolism. Walnuts are very rich in zinc and calcium, also thiamin, vitamin B6, folic acid and iron. They contain good quality protein, together with polyunsaturated fats made up predominantly of omega 3. Studies have shown health benefits in eating walnuts. Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of carotenoids, the compounds that give foods their vibrant colours. Carotenoids are critical to the photosynthetic process, and protect a plant from damage by light and oxygen. By consuming plants that contain these pigments, you gain a similar protective benefit. There are more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids found in colourful vegetables and fruits and the more we eat the more we harness the benefits. During the Winter months eating a variety of seasonal green leafy vegetables provides us with an array of anti-oxidant active carotenoids. Kale, spinach & celery are packed full of two important carotenoids, zeaxanthin & lutein. Studies show that these antioxidants help lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Zeaxanthin and lutein concentrate in the macula of the retina, giving it its characteristic yellow colour. Unless snow grinds us all to a halt, we can choose from a huge variety of green leafy vegetables over the next few months, including Belgian endive, oriental salad leaves, kale, parsley, rocket, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and chard – enjoy!


Daphne Lambert is Medicinal Chef & Nutritionist. Daphne is writing her third book ‘Living Food - a feast for soil & soul’. She is the director of Greencuisine Trust, an educational charity working to deepen the understanding between soil, food and well-being.


WINTER RECHARGING by Sandra Hill

From the gateway at All Hallows Eve, winter progresses to its solstice on December 21st - the shortest day, the day of minimum light. In Scandinavia a candle is traditionally kept burning until the light begins to return. We light up our houses and our streets to compensate for this lack of natural light, the traditional decoration of an evergreen tree reminding us that life continues and will soon burst forth again in Spring. This time of darkness and cold is traditionally related to retreat. The four seasons act as a reminder that life is a constant process of change and transformation; of growth, fruition, harvest and storage. To have constant growth without the necessary phase of rest and recuperation will eventually lead to burn-out. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we need times in our lives when we recharge. In order to be creative, to move forward, we also need times of quiet, calm contemplation; times when we rest the body, quieten the mind, and contact something deeper. Making sure that we have enough in store to remain warm and well-fed, we turn our

attention to the inner world. It’s time to take a break from achieving and moving forward – a time to take stock, to re-energize, to realign with what is important to us. In classical Chinese medicine, this winter time of retreat and restoring relates to fertility. The maintenance of the fertility of the land, but also of the maintenance of the ‘yin’ aspects of the body – the ability to be still, to nurture, to nourish. It is the balance of these yin (nourishing, maintaining) and yang (energizing, moving) aspects of life that enable us to constantly maintain our own bodies, but also give us the ability to create another being from our own. Both qualities are needed, and in our ever-moving fast paced life, yin qualities are increasingly lacking. In the same way that the seed needs to be still and held within the earth in order to be productive in the spring, so we can nourish our lives in the quiet of the winter.

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.


HE L LO, I ’ M CHR IS by Chris Onions I’ve recently taken on the kitchen here at Trill, which I have re-established as my own business, The Old Dairy. I’m happy to be the latest member of Trill’s ever growing group of independent small businesses. The chance to both contribute to and gain from the knowledge base held by so many passionate and skilled people here is a great resource. Their ability to run viable businesses whilst maintaining a respectful, caring relationship with the land is an on-going inspiration. Before moving to Trill, I spent four years in Scandinavia running a land based social co-operative, using the farm’s resources for rehabilitation, education and wellbeing. We also hosted dinners, serving meals throughout the farm and creating sensory experiences for our guests. As two chefs and two farmers, we formed a unique relationship between the farm and the kitchen, using these areas to improve the flavour and the health of the farm whilst sharing this with many people. On return to the UK I took up a position as a chef and teacher on Trill’s neighbouring farm, River Cottage HQ. My time spent at HQ reinforced my beliefs in working closely with the producers using ingredients grown to the highest environmental and ethical standard. Here at The Old Dairy I will build on this by making the best of the resources I have close-by to produce beautiful food. The potted pheasant for the winter box is an excellent example of this, a bird that is worth £40 flying and nothing once shot, every year being buried by the thousands in mass graves. What a waste of a healthy source of protein and life. As with every ingredient from the pheasants to the chickweed I hope that I can do them justice. Primarily catering for all the events and the daily meals for staff at Trill, I also intend to offer hands-on skills for employability courses. The emphasis of this is on seasonal and nutritious cooking for adults who are not currently in education, employment or training. Together we will use the whole farm as our classroom and larder, in constant pursuit of those flavours and cultures unique to our soil and all that lives around us. From Kate and Ash’s garden we have an amazing array of vegetables to play with; from Jake and the pastures we have beef and lamb of the finest quality; the woodlands provide us with fungi, game and forest herbs; the hedgerows overflow with edible berries and delicious green shoots; and Steve and I are now discussing the introduction of native fish into the waterways. I am pleased to be able to share these diverse, seasonal flavours with you and hope one day to welcome you into the kitchen.


Carrots cooked in hay, honey & herbs

Chestnut Pate Serves 8

Serves 2

Preheat oven to 160C, gas-mark 3

Heat oven to 180C, gas mark 4

8 small carrots 2 handfuls of aromatic, organic hay 50g honey 150ml dry cider 15ml rapeseed oil 20g unsalted butter 1 bay leaf 4 sage leaves 1 sprig of rosemary 3 sprigs of tarragon salt & white pepper The trick to cooking in hay is in the preparation. Ideally the hay is soaked in the cider solution for at least 3 hrs first, to absorb some of the liquid and aromas from the herbs. Pulse the honey, cider & herbs in a food processor. No need to be too fine as you are just looking to release the oils. In an oven tray combine the liquid and the hay and leave to rest for 3 hrs. Mix every hour to ensure all the hay is well soaked. Wash (don’t peel) the carrots. Remove half the hay from the dish and pat down the rest to form a bed. Season the carrots and coat with the oil. Lay them on top and cover with the remaining hay, pressing gently to ensure they’re well packed. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hr or until beginning to soften but still a little hard in the centre. The time will vary depending on the carrot you use. Remove and brush off any hay stuck to the skin. Melt the butter and gently fry for a few minutes to caramelize the skins. Correct the seasoning and serve. They’re great as a small course with some roasted chestnuts, good crème fraiche and peppery winter leaves.

250g chestnuts (or chestnut puree) 150g chestnut mushrooms chopped in ¼ 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped, 75g butter 60ml olive oil 6 finely minced garlic cloves 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped 1 egg, whisked. 150ml water salt & white pepper Grease a 1/2 kilo bread tin or oven-proof dish. If using fresh chestnuts, score the bottom and roast for 30 mins to remove the shells and cook the chestnut. Peel and reserve. In a pan heat a little oil and the butter. When the butter is foaming fry the mushrooms in batches, for 1 min, on a high heat. Don’t overfill the pan, as you want plenty of caramelized edges. Set aside. Add the remaining oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic & herbs and fry for 1 min. Add the chestnuts and fry for 5 minutes. Return the mushrooms and their juice and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool. Blitz in the food processor until almost smooth. Add the egg and a little of the water until it resembles a thick batter. Correct the seasoning. Place in your tin and bake in a bain-maire for 30 minutes or until firm to touch with a slight bounce. Remove and allow to cool before turning out. Can be served hot or cold.


A versatile stuffing made from TRILL barley & leeks Serves 6 people

(1 week in advance: cover raisins with the cider brandy & store in fridge.) Melt 1/2 the fat in an oven-proof pan, add the garlic and sauté for 2 mins. Add the celeriac and squash and sauté for a 5 mins.

Heat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4

150g Trill pearl barley 2 leeks (trimmed, washed and dried) 150g celeriac (1cm dice) 150g small squash (1cm dice) 300ml chicken or vegetable stock 120g raisins 100ml cider brandy 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped) 60g goose fat or butter 1 bay leaf 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves 1 tsp shredded sage leaves salt and black pepper ½ tsp ground mace

Add the thyme, sage & mace. Drain the raisins and add the cider brandy to the pan, taking care as the alcohol may ignite. Simmer until syrupy, add the barley and a good pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly for 3 mins, then add the stock and bay, stir, cover, and pop in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the barley has softened and absorbed most of the liquid. Heat a heavy based pan. Season the leeks with salt and place into the hot dry pan. Blacken all over; don’t worry about the outer leek being burnt, this is a fantastic way to cook leeks, they are steaming in their own juices. It is ready when you can insert a knife and remove it easily. If it is still hard but well blackened, remove from the heat and cover with a cloth to complete the steaming. Peel off the burnt layer and roughly chop. Remove the pan from the oven and add the remaining fat, raisins and leeks. Correct the seasoning with plenty of black pepper. The stuffing is now ready to be used: ideal for game birds or with a couple of beaten eggs, it can be shaped into small patties and fried.


The dairy, where we eat together & run courses


REd berries in winter - food for the wildlife


standard footwear at Trill farm


Our Gotland sheep stay warm throughout winter with their beautiful thick curly pelts


L IV E ST OC K T HE DI L E MMAS O F L I V E STO CK FARMING

by Jake Hancock I have been asked to write something about why I farm organically, and why rearing cattle at Trill make sense for the terrain. The organic part is simple and straight forward. Farmers use pesticides because they poison pests, be they plants, insects or fungi. As someone who grew up in the countryside with a love and fascination for the natural world, one of my primary motivations in becoming a farmer was to protect wildlife on any land that I have the privilege of caring for. For this reason alone, farming using pesticides was out of the question for me. When you add to this the pollution caused by pesticides and fertilisers to water courses and the cost of cleaning up drinking water for human consumption the case mounts further. The issues surrounding use of dwindling fossil fuels, and responsible and sustainable use of veterinary medicine (especially antibiotics), are equally good reasons for a strict control of many widely-used farm inputs. Lastly, given that we share the majority of our DNA and therefore metabolic processes with plants, insects and fungi, it seems very probable that we should work on the basis that most pesticides would have a negative impact on human metabolic processes and health. Shortsighted insanity, then, to produce our food (of all things) with them! To the people who ask how organic farmers could feed the world, I suggest they could start by stopping using cereals and pulses to feed ruminants to turn into meat (highly inefficient). Those crops would be much more

efficiently utilised directly by people, and this would free up hundreds of thousands of productive hectares in the UK alone. This leads neatly into the question of why cattle are suitable for the terrain at Trill. Trill Farm is a mixture of woodland, scrub, unimproved grassland, wet grassland, improved grassland and cropped land. The unimproved grassland with scrub is highly valued as a wildlife habitat (particularly for plants and insects) and makes up almost half of the grassland area of the farm (about 130 acres). Much of this area is in addition too steep or wet for cropping. These areas therefore should not be ploughed or cropped, and lend themselves perfectly to extensive grazing. Nature conservation organisations have long extolled the virtues of traditional beef cattle (in preference to all other species of domesticated grazing animals) as the best way to maximise plant and invertebrate diversity, as well as the birds, bats and mammals up the food chain which depend on them. The cattle graze at very low stocking rates and are not fed cereals, and so, in spite of rather a lot of negative press, they have a low environmental impact per acre when you compare them to most other forms of land use. We mustn’t forget that, unlike sheep and goats, the ancestors of our cows have been roaming the lands of Britain from the last Ice age at least, so it could be argued that their domesticated descendants have both a right and role in being represented in our countryside.


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.


F ISH

Winter Spawning

by Steve Shaw


As daylight hours shorten and winter approaches, vegetation regresses and animals prepare for the lean months ahead. The countryside rests. Although not all is dormant as beneath the surface of rivers and streams: members of the Salmonide family, which include salmon and trout, are stimulated by the seasonal changes and prepare to spawn. Spawning takes place in the shallow reaches of pools often in less than six inches of water. The female digs a depression in the gravel bed, known as a redd, with her tail. Then the male stimulates her to release her eggs by rubbing up against her flank, and as she releases her eggs he fertilises them by releasing his sperm. The eggs settle into the redd and the female covers them with gravel displaced by vigorously flapping her tail. This all sounds straightforward but it marks the beginning of a battle for survival for developing eggs. On contact with water the sperm has approximately 30 seconds to find an egg before dying. Upon reaching the egg the sperm enters via an opening called a micropile and releases its DNA. Cell division now commences. This stage is known as the ‘Green’ stage. Water temperature is the main catalyst for fish egg development: the cooler the water the slower the growth rate. Scientifically, this is measured in degree days. For example, if the mean water temperature is 10 degrees then the eggs will hatch after 45 days. If the temperature is 5 degrees the egg will take twice as long to hatch, and so on. The typical temperature of the Trill stream in Winter time is between 7 and 8 degrees, but can vary greatly depending upon the air temperature and weather conditions.

After about 40 days, eyes can be clearly seen beneath the egg shell. From this point on the embryo becomes robust, enabling it to withstand the stresses as it prepares to hatch. This stage is known as the ‘Eyed’ stage. Approximately 20 days later the egg shell begins to weaken due to enzymes being released as the embryo starts to hatch. After hatching, the young fish, known as an alevin, rests beneath the gravel of the redd absorbing yolk contained in a sac like appendage. This will serve as a source of nutrient for the first 20 days of life outside of the egg - a ‘packed lunch’ until the youngster becomes fully acclimatised to its environment. A very cold winter may put egg development only slightly above suspended animation but as milder weather returns so the growth rate accelerates. This ensures that the egg develops in line and in tune with its natural environment. Such is the synchronicity of the natural world. As the first signs of Spring breathe life into a dormant world and the rising temperature stimulates aquatic life, the young fish, now two centimetres long, emerge from the gravel that has been home for three months, to feed freely in the open stream upon micro-organisms that drift by. Life as a juvenile fish begins in earnest!

Steve Shaw cares for Trill ponds, streams and gardens as well as running a hatching programme for the River Axe. He’s a keen fisherman and keeps a close eye on local conservation issues.


Hedgerows by Amanda Cook As winter settles in over the hedgerows at Trill Farm, we’re collecting the last of the sloes, hawthorn berries and rosehips. Even though the bright and bountiful spring and summer wild harvests have finished, and we’ve moved into the slower season of the year, there are still plants to give us a health and beauty boost, if you know where to look! When you think of winter remedies, the first thing that comes to mind is defence against common colds and flu. Fortunately the Trill herb garden is still filled with plants that can help us boost our immune system and stay healthy this winter especially the kitchen favourites thyme and sage. Both thyme and sage are antiseptic, but thyme is traditionally used for chest infections and congestion, while sage is specific for sore throats. Of course you can simply include more of these herbs in your winter soups + stews, but for best effect make a tea from your herb of choice, sweeten with honey, and drink small amounts regularly throughout the day. You can even use cool sage tea as a gargle for a sore throat. NOTE: Thyme and Sage teas should not be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding. Another cold-busting classic that anyone can make (with or without a garden!) is Onion Cough Syrup. Variations on this simple recipe have been used by generations of mothers around the world to soothe children’s coughs. The recipe is quick and easy, but it doesn’t keep - make it fresh when you need it and replace after 2-3 days.

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.


Onion Cough Syrup You need: 1 onion white or brown granulated sugar glass jar that fits the onion Method: Coarsely chop the onion (you could just slice the onion in 7-8 slices, if the jar will hold it) Layer onion and sugar in the jar, top with sugar, and close the lid - Let it sit for several hours until the sugar has liquified. This forms your syrup. Take a spoonful of syrup up 3-6 times per day, as needed, to soothe coughs and boost your immune system. Note: a stronger adults-only version of this cough syrup is made by putting chopped garlic in honey and eating a spoonful several times per day. Winter weather can dry and irritate sensitive skin. One of my favourite simple winter warming treats is a soothing oatmeal bath in the evening with a cup of hot tea!

Skin-soothing Oatmeal Bath ROOT You need: 1 cup porridge oats (uncooked) square of muslin or a thin flannel, and a ribbon/string to tie it closed optional - 1 heaped spoonful of dried chamomile or calendula (or a tea bag!) If you’ve never taken an oatmeal bath before, you’re in for a treat. The oats turn the water silky smooth and milky coloured, and leave your skin incredibly soft. This bath is especially good for people with sensitive or irritated skin, even eczema. It’s effective for children and adults. Method: Lay the square of muslin flat on a table. Pour the 1 cup of porridge oats in the centre of the muslin. Add the dried herbs if using. Gather up the ends and wrap the string around to tie closed, making a little oatmeal bag. Place this bag in the bath while running the water. Squeeze the bag occasionally in the water - you’ll see the oats make the water milky. Use the oat bag to wash yourself while in the bath. There is no need to rinse off the oat milk after bathing, unless you want to. After the bath, untie the oat bag and put the oats on the compost. Wash the muslin for reuse.


T rill PEOP LE

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Joe Seasons are wonderful, they transform and sculpt the environment in which we live, bring us new challenges and hopefully, fingers crossed, snow. Winter is now upon us and thus swept away the unusual warmth of Autumn, moving in like it owns the place, taking away our light at night, yet presenting us with those beautiful, crisp, frosty clear mornings, even more delightful witnessed at Trill. Having now worked all four seasons at Trill you really understand the importance the seasons have, not only on the environment and the herbs which can be grown but the effect seasons can have on us. The cold weather which winter brings is low in moisture, compounded with the cold winds which blow away moisture off your hands and face can leave you with dry and damaged skin, thus important to keep your skin moisturised at this time of year. These dark nights are also a great excuse to run a few extra baths and you may find a few products in the Winter box to help you enjoy your bath even more.

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THIS TRILL SEASONAL BOX WAS A GROUP EFFORT Romy produces the brochures and the inspiration! Zoe does the overall coordination Chris creates the delicious edibles Daphne advises on nutrition Joe makes our fragrant soaps and beauty products Sandie grows and makes the tea, and helped to make the gorgeous beeswax candles 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 Teresa sewed the beautiful barley bags Pip & Naomi look after our guests while the rest of us are busy with the boxes!

Photos by Beki Bernstein


Musbury, Devon, EX13 8TU post@trillfarm.co.uk 01297 631113

Trill Farm Winter Seasons Booklet 2014  
Trill Farm Winter Seasons Booklet 2014