Hall Bower Supper – 6th August 2012

plate of fresh vegetablesMonday 6th August
From 6.30pm
Hall Bower Chapel

Join staff and volunteers from Stirley Farm for a friendly evening to reflect on Stirley’s past, present and future. We really enjoyed last year’s Supper and lots of Growing Newsome participants will be there again this year. Please come and say hello.

Arrive at 6.30pm for a film show and presentation.

Locally grown produce will be served at 7.30pm.

Book your ticket by phoning 01904 659 570. £3 on the door. Children welcome.

Organised by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Wild Food Wombling


A few of our allotmenteers took a gentle walk on the wild side last week. On Tuesday 17th April we joined Chris and Rose Bax from Taste the Wild at their woodland in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. We had the great pleasure of spending the day taking part in one of their wild food foraging courses. We were excited to see what we could find.

It was a miserable-looking day when we set off from Huddersfield. We arrived in North Yorkshire slightly soggy to find Chris standing tall at the entrance to the woodland, being his own landmark. And the sun came out. So we found ourselves suddenly in a sunny, peaceful woodland full of Rose’s wonderful wood carvings and the sound of birds in the trees. Every Tuesday should be like that.

Throughout the day, Chris and Rose showed us lots of plants that are easy to find and easy to use, from thistle stems to delicate wood sorrel (both to be handled with care, although only one of them fights back). We also found out what the law says about foraging. Along public rights of way, you can forage without a problem, so long as it’s for your own use.

Theft Act 1968 Section 4(3) states that:
A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose. For purposes of this subsection “mushroom” includes any fungus, and “plant” includes any shrub or tree.

What you shouldn’t do is dig up roots without the permission of the landowner, or deprive the owner of the whole plant by taking all the foliage. You should also pick from several different trees or shrubs if possible – and remember to leave some for the birds.

Foraging is getting quite popular (you might have noticed more funny ingredients popping up on the Great British Menu this year) and Chris thinks that there might be a backlash at some point from people who are worried about the countryside being plundered. But foraging is very much about getting to know, understand and respect the natural environment.

Chris Bax showing us wood sorrel Many plants have only a very short time of bounty. You need to be watchful, to know the right time for harvesting, so that you can use and preserve as much of this bounty as you can. Chris told us about the first smell of the elder blossom each year and his expectation of it. For him, this is what’s magical about foraging.

Chris said that there seems to be a trend towards enjoying the countryside at breakneck speed – people want to ride through it, or run through it, or drive through it. He told us about the importance of just stopping to look at what’s there. Foraging is all about observation.

You need to know the land, to experience it, using all your senses.

We learnt about the sad affliction of ‘forager’s anxiety’, caused by people wanting to find something so much that they take leave of their senses (or rather, they forget them). Chris told us not to rely only on our eyes, because when you really want to see something, your mind can start to see what isn’t there. This causes people to identify plants incorrectly, sometimes with painful consequences.

However, forager’s anxiety is soon avoided by just stopping and thinking about it. We learnt about the importance of smell – fir smells like a citrus fruit, and if a plant doesn’t smell of garlic then it won’t be wild garlic (even if it looks like it). Places are also important. A plant that looks right but which is in completely the wrong habitat is very unlikely to be the thing that your eyes might think it is, because habitat influences what type of plants will grow.

Timing is important too. Wherever a plant is directing its energy at any given time of the year is also where the goodness is. Burdock has a two year life cycle. When it is sending up flowers to create new seeds, the plant will be using all its energy to do that, so the parsnip-like roots will no longer be good to eat.

At the end of the afternoon, we gathered a basket-full of greens to make a snack with.

Platter of foraged greensOur feast included nettles, thistles, jelly ears (a type of mushroom), goosegrass (also known as stickywilly or cleavers), reed  mace and rose bay willow herb. Perhaps that might not sound too appetising, but we made some delicious Tibetan momos together and Chris fried the willow herb in butter and oil, which was another tasty revelation.

When I told Andy that I was going on this course, he described it as ‘nutritious wombling’. I’ve since discovered that the term wombling is used in statistics (thanks to statistician William H. Womble). It describes techniques for ‘identifying zones of rapid change, typically in some quantity as it varies across some geographical or Euclidean space.’ This made me think about the pace of change that some of our edible wild plants have, and how people will miss out on this fleeting bounty if they’re busy hurtling through the countryside at a rate of knots.

But the ‘real’ wombling is of course done by those little pointy-nosed creatures who potter about in green spaces and make good use of the things that they find. The Womble motto is: “Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish.” I think that cooking rose bay willow herb, scourge of our allotment boundaries, fits that description very well.

Photos of our wild food foraging day
Wild plant identification sheets (pdf)
Tibetan momos recipe

Local Food Cafe / Kitchen Manager job

Local Food Cafe / Kitchen Manager

Hours: Full-Time (37 hours per week and may include some weekend work)

Salary: £20,000 per annum

Closing date: April 4th 2012

Paddock Community Trust require an experienced cafe / kitchen manager to lead an exciting new BIG Lottery funded project supporting local food growing and healthy eating in Paddock until 2014. The successful applicant will manage West View Cafe – a new cafe / kitchen facility at Paddock Village Hall and coordinate the work of volunteers in the effective running of the cafe and local food sales through our community shop opening in May 2012.

We are seeking an experienced manager, with appropriate qualifications and relevant commercial experience, who has the drive, enthusiasm and skills to develop the long term sustainability of West View Cafe. We believe this is a unique opportunity for an enterprising and imaginative individual with a genuine interest in the benefits of local food growing to play an important part in the Trust’s strategic development. The Cafe manager will also work with our Local food partners in Kirklees in developing the long term aims of this project beyond 2014.

The ability to communicate effectively with a range of staff, volunteers and customers is essential. Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications is highly desirable and is the ability to drive as a limited amount of travel may be required. An enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure will be required at the expense of the Trust. The Cafe manager will also work with the Trust’s Training manager to develop and implement a varied training programme in both horticulture and catering.

Paddock Community Trust is a registered charity with an established track record in community development project work and operates a number of programmes in adult learning, the environment and health and well-being throughout Kirklees.

To apply submit a CV and covering letter detailing your skills and experience to:

Simon Ashbee
Managing Director Paddock Trust
Paddock Village Hall
West View, Paddock
Huddersfield HD1 4TX

Tel: 01484 431400
Email: simon@paddocktrust.org.uk

Local Food Cafe Vacancy (pdf)

What can I do with my green tomatoes?

At a meeting this evening, our community worker, Dot, posed a question that has been asked more often than usual this year:

“What can I do with all those green tomatoes, other than make chutney or fry them?”

Even around just one table, there were many keen to offer suggestions, such as:

  • Leave them on the vine, with the plant unwatered, to ripen.
  • Put them in a biscuit tin with a banana.
  • Put them between your pajamas (presumably, not whilst you’re wearing them).

So we decided to ask how everyone else has tackled their green tomato glut this year. Do you have any tips for ripening tomatoes, or do you have any favourite green tomato recipes to share?

Please put your ideas in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box on this page (then select ‘Post Comment’) or send us an email. All suggestions welcome.



Autumn Gathering – 22nd October 2011

Join us for a day of events to celebrate & share local food

Saturday 22nd October

Autumn Fair
10am to 1pm at
Newsome Scout Hall
Newsome Road South

Pumpkin carving with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – free pumpkins for the first 30 participants. Pumpkins kindly supplied by Morrison’s as part of their Let’s Grow scheme.

Jam, chutney & cakes on sale – made in Newsome from local produce.

Family activities with Newsome Out To Play – Help to make a scarecrow or try your hand at Vegetable Skittles.

Reading Circle book stall (with all sorts of books).

Recipes and produce swap – please bring along your recipes, home grown fruit and veg, or anything you’d like to share.

Spice Co-op – small bags of spices on sale.

Autumn planting vegetables for you to take home.

Plant protection materials on sale.

Tea, coffee and home made cakes available.

Plant pot and jam jar amnesty – please bring along your spare pots and jars.

Souper Soups:
served from 12 noon to 1pm

Enjoy a choice of seasonal soups for lunch at the Scout Hall, made with local vegetables and accompanied by fresh bread from the Handmade Bakery in Slaithwaite.

Stirley Farm harvesting:
1pm to 3pm

Join a guided walk from Newsome Scout Hall to the Stirley Farm veg garden, where we will harvest the ingredients to make your own delicious soup. If you have too much to carry, we can transport your pumpkins & other goodies for you.

Organised by Growing Newsome and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Broad Bean Plasticine and other adventures

Thank you to everyone who supported us by visiting our stall at Berry Brow Carnival on Saturday 6th August – and to everyone who helped with getting the food and plants ready. We were determined to make a few goodies with some of our produce from the community allotment, and with the fruit that you’ve started donating for the Growing Newsome ‘jam factory’.

As usual, it was a pleasure to hear your stories about growing your own food at home, on local allotment sites and elsewhere – we really love finding out how you’re getting on. We were also delighted to have the chance to swap some of our broad beans for two big bags of plant pots, and to meet people who might like to participate in our community projects.

We even persuaded the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Eric Firth, and his wife Janet to try our produce, including Cherry’s new inventions, Broad Bean Pate and Potato Bread (made with veg from our community allotment).

The pate was given a slight adjustment overnight after someone who shall remain nameless (but who may be related to Cherry by marriage) unkindly dubbed it ‘Broad Bean Plasticine’. A little lemon juice and it looked much more like pate, and it still tasted great (well, we thought so anyway).

But did the Mayor like it? See if you can tell from his expression…

Our visitors also tried my tomato tart and went away bearing a jar of Newsome-grown Redcurrant and Blackcurrant jam, chosen from our little array of jars. Rachel’s Carrot and Orange Marmalade was also a big hit and (not for the first time) there was nearly a fight over the last jar of lemon curd. We admit to not growing the lemons, but maybe someday we can manage to produce a few local eggs to make it with?

What we made:

Broad Bean Pate
Tomato Tart
Broad Bean and Pea salad
Potato bread
& some lettuce

plus a selection of jams, chutney, marmalade etc.

Photos: Berry Brow Carnival 2011

Help us to find some fruit

If you’ve been wondering what we’re going to do with all those jam jars that you’ve been kindly donating, it will probably come as no surprise to you that now we’re on the hunt for some fruit.

We’re opening our ‘jam factory’ soon. It’s not really a factory of course, but we’re encouraging everyone to make jams and chutneys with locally grown fruit and vegetables – and we intend to do our bit.

We hope you’ll see us out and about at community events for the rest of the year with those jam jars filled with local produce and local enthusiasm.

But first, we’ll be needing some ingredients…

Please let us know if you have any surplus fruit that you’d be willing to share with Growing Newsome, or if you can recommend a good spot for us to go foraging. We’ll be looking for ingredients between July and October, so whenever you spot something going spare please let us know.

We want to start making better use of Newsome’s bounty, so please help us to make sure that no locally grown food goes to waste.

Please get in touch if you can help.

You can contact us using this site, or email Diane: sims31@btinternet.com

Stirley Farm Supper Evening

Stirley Farm Supper Evening and Celebration of Our First Harvest

Tuesday 19th July

from 7pm to 9pm

Hall Bower Chapel, 69 High Lane, Newsome, HD4 6RL

With a presentation from Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, an exhibition of paintings of Stirley Farm from Hall Bower Art Club, a chance to meet the staff and find out how you can get involved and feast on a meal of Stirley Farm vegetables.

Booking is essential – catering for a maximum of 50 guests. There is no charge, but the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will welcome donations towards the project.

To book your place telephone 01904 650440.

We regret that the chapel is not wheelchair accessible.

Sharing the fruits of our labour

Growing Newsome is all about sharing.
Thank you to everyone who has already shared something with other Growing Newsome participants. Last year you shared your plants, patience, jam jars, elbow grease, equipment, seeds, knowledge, skills and enthusiasm – by the bucketful, bagful, basketful and pocketful. And in ways that can’t be measured.

We really appreciate everything that you’re all giving to this project. We wanted to let you know that nothing ever goes to waste. If you’ve come along to one our previous events and you wonder what we do with the ‘leftovers’, here are a few examples…

We used the apples that Gwen and her son brought to our Autumn Fair to make apple cakes, apple jelly and chutney, which we sold at the Paddock Christmas Fair to raise money for our community growing projects.

We used the potatoes from last year’s Seed Swap (which were kindly donated by Information by Design) to start off our Community Allotment.

We used the marrows that Andrew and Karen brought to our Autumn Fair from their allotment to make ginger & marrow jam. Surprisingly tasty (honest). In the process, Diane learnt how to make jam (in a borrowed jam pan), ably assisted by her mother and by Rachel, our Timebanking Co-ordinator. Rachel also made the lovely curry and soup you might have tasted at the Fair.

We potted on the seedlings that you brought us last Spring – some for the next Growing Newsome event and some for planting in communal food growing spaces around Newsome after the last frost had passed.

What do you want Growing Newsome to do next?
We’re going to carry on sharing what we have – including our ideas and aspirations. If there’s something you’d like to give (or to get) this year, please let us know.

You can Contact us here.

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