We hope that, despite everything, you have a pleasant Christmas and enjoy better prospects in 2022.
We are hoping to hold the following events inn 2022 – circumstances permitting:-
The Ledbury Big Breakfast 2022
At the end of January 2021 we had to hold a virtual Big Breakfast because of restrictions then ruling.
This year preparations are underway for a real Big Breakfast 2022 over the weekendFriday 28th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th January. Now postponed to 11th to 13th March.
All local food venues in the “breakfast industry” in Ledbury and district are keen to be part of this and are looking forward to serving you with a special breakfast or with local breakfast products for you to take to eat at home.
We are very conscious of the unknowns of the latest Covid variant and will be reviewing the feasibility and general safety of holding the event as planned, as things may change. It may be possible to postpone or hold another virtual breakfast if we can’t go ahead as planned.
The Ledbury Celebration 2022
We are pleased to announce that we are also preparing for Ledbury’s celebration of local food and drink, poetry, music and heritage – the Ledbury Celebration – on Sunday 10 July.
The event will give local food producers the opportunity to tempt you with their wares. It follows the tradition of celebrating local food and drink on the last day of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.
We plan to hold the event again in St Katherine’s next to the historic Master’s House – a background for music and poetry to enrich the event.
Again our concern is that it will be safe to hold this popular open air event in July.
Local Writer Liz Pearson Mann issues the following challenge
The nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping, and our thoughts may turn to thickened winter stews, filling puddings and toast and butter. Now is a good time to think about your grains, peas or beans of choice. Diversify your grains (and your pulses). Look into where they came from and how they were grown too. As a result, collectively, we may do much to improve food security, local farming economy, soils, and the life of animals.
This is good news – hunker down for winter!
If you live in or around Ledbury, you live in a landscape of stiff, relatively fertile clay that has always produced good wheat. At least, it has in abundance since the ploughman of old sliced through clay with a newly-efficient mouldboard plough. Casting that clay sideways, he ploughed a straight furrow, producing the medieval ridge and furrow still visible in the landscape today.
Diversify Your Grains
Wheat takes more nutrients out of the soil, and is more fussy about inclement weather than other grains. No wonder that we find rye was more common on loose, loamy, poorer but well-drained soils to the west, along the English/Welsh Marches. There was an oaty flavour to those hills too, as oat wins out over wheat on cold, damp soils. Diverse crops have always helped with security against crop failures, and against exhausting soils. Local crops for local soils. This is what we need to return to, and we as individuals can help.
Beneficial Beans and Peas
Throw in some beans and peas into the pot too, for they have long been in the mix, with fallow periods and manure of animals for keeping up soil fertility. This is thrifty food, and food from outside your front door can help with food security for us all. Soak your grains, peas and beans – make bread, pottages and puddings.
We all like some pasta, rice and chickpeas. But if you can source temperate climate-friendly and locally-grown supplies, all to the good. Often, where we find these, they’re not grown for the global commodity market. They’re more likely to have been grown on a smaller scale, with minimal, or no, agricultural chemicals. Animals fare better where soils are fed with manure and are full of microbial, fungal and insect life. Hedgerows and meadows are their home too.
For wheat, you may want to start with spelt wheat from Toad’s Mill near Bromyard. Spelt is an ancient wheat, known from prehistoric times, though most often thought of as a Roman wheat. Standing shoulder-high (not knee high like modern wheats), it shades out some of the weeds, leaving the farmer less dependent on herbicides, and provides more shelter for small animals too.
Try working windmills, or watermills, in and around the region. Some of them, like Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire and Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire sell their own flour.
For British-grown flour, grains and pulses pop into Handley Organics (Shipton, Bacheldre and Sharpham flours plus grains and pulses), or Ceci Paolo (Wessex Mill flours) on Ledbury High Street. Or try newly opened Seed and Source at 6 New Street, Ledbury (Shipton Mill flour and an increasing range beans, grains and pulses) – take your own containers for purchases! For those who shop from home try Bakery Bits online. In all these places you can find supplies produced with time-honoured cultivation and milling ways.
For thrifty fare in days gone by, vegetables, grains and pulses (together or separately) were always on the stove. If you’d like a Tudor thick pea pottage, Angela Hursch from Bite From the Past translates a Tudor recipe into an easily-used modern format. The Tudor version starts “To boyle yong Peason or Beanes, first shale and seethe them….‘.
The Shakespeare Trust presents us with pea porridge with onions. And, if you want to experiment with rye, Roggenbraut (a traditional sweet and heavy rye bread) may be up your street.
Diversify and relocalise with your grains and pulses. There are, though, only so many crops we can ever raise from the ground without livestock in the mix. A further blog on “Nose to tail eating” is coming up soon.
Liz Pearson Mann is a writer, archaeologist, crafter and grower. She writes about being rooted in landscape, traditional culture and evergreen skills. She is author of Eat Like Your Ancestors (From the Ground Beneath Your Feet): A Sustainable Food Journey Around the English West Midlands available at Ledbury Books and Maps.
From Sixteen Ridges’ vineyards on the sunny slopes of Walls Hill, Ledbury’s latest “English Nouveau” has come to the market this week.
Simon Day, winemaker and Production Director for the Sixteen Ridges range, is one of a handful of second generation English wine makers in the country, carrying on in the footsteps of his father. With over 25 years’ experience making wine in England and abroad. Simon is known in the industry for his innovative approach to winemaking, and his commitment to ‘let the fruit do the talking’ ensuring minimal intervention in the winery.
The original idea for an English Nouveau came from a trade enquiry in 2019 which led to a small experimental batch being made for trade only sale.
As a result, Sixteen Ridges English Nouveau was created for Waitrose and sold out within 24 hours online in 2020. Simon in collaboration with new Sixteen Ridges Winemaker Joshua Ravell-Gough has increased production threefold this year to meet demand.
In France this style of wine e.g. Beaujolais Nouveau is produced using the grape variety Gamay, but Sixteen Ridges used our Pinot Noir Early which ripens some 2 to 3 weeks earlier than standard Pinot Noir.
In terms of production, the Nouveau is made using similar methods as used in France’s Beaujolais region. Sixteen Ridges want to highlight the delicious fresh fruitiness, and reduce the tannins. This is done using small tanks into which whole bunches of grapes are placed into CO2 and undergo an intracellular fermentation for a short period of time – a process called carbonic maceration. These fizzy grapes develop fruitiness and start to take on colour. Once they reach around 2% alcohol, the berry drops off the bunch, and releases the juice. The wine then continues to ferment in a more conventional manner with yeast. Then the grapes are pressed to yield a lovely fruity easy drinking light red wine.
Look out for two local food events in the next few weeks:
“The Scratch of the Hop”
Ledbury Places host an illustrated talk by local author Marsha O’Mahony. Marsha traces the story of hop-farming in Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Shropshire through local archives, interviews and a wealth of unseen photographs.
Date: Thursday 28th October 2021
Place: The Upper Floor, The Old Grammar School, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DW
Tickets: £7.00 (to include a glass of real ale or soft drink)
Following a successful “try-out” in August, Hellens Manor at Much Marcle hosts another market on Saturday 6th November. This is the successor to the award winning Kempley Market which closed in 2020. Many faces from the old market will be there to tempt you with their local produce – and some new ones as well!
Date: Saturday 6th November 2021 Time: 9.30 to 11.30am Place: Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, HR8 2LY
On this occasion there will also be a special display of carriages, with experts from the Carriage Foundation on hand to answer your questions.
…and they are selling bacon sandwiches!
Our delayed AGM for 2020/21 will be held on Monday 18th October at the Market House, High Street, Ledbury at 5.30pm.
You are very welcome to attend.
We will be electing our serving committee for the business year 2021/22.
The committee will be tasked with taking forward the activities of the group with due regard to continuing circumstances, guidance and restrictions.
After a successful year in 2019 with an excellent Ledbury Celebration event in July and very popular evening Farmers Food Market running in St Katherine’s and the Barn (see photo above), we had hoped to continue with similar activities supporting our local food economy through 2020.
Instead our major activity has been to provide a Food Information Page on our website. This provides a listing what local producers and retailers are doing in terms of local deliveries, call and collect, food takeaways, outdoor eating etc. to help people – and businesses – to get through the pandemic safely.
Thanks to all of you who have continued to support local producers, local retailers and local hospitality businesses through this time. It is encouraging to see how well these businesses have coped and survived, and that we are now welcoming new businesses on the local food scene.
It’s a great event for savouring all that’s apple and enjoying the wonderful countryside below Marcle Ridge.
Photo Exhibition Reminder – We are mounting a small exhibition feature life at three local farms as part of Ledbury Market House’s participation in this year’s national Heritage Open Days. It’s open on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Cameron and Swan Café Closure – Louise and her team have been providing great local food at Cameron and Swan for more than 8 years, appreciated by locals and visitors alike. They have been regular participants in our annual Ledbury Big Breakfast event.
Sadly Louise has had to close the café for health reasons. A new business will be moving into the premises. Our thanks go to Louise and her team for feeding Ledbury so well.
Picture: Louise with Big Breakfast potato rostis
A shop in a bus – If you live in the Newent area you will be interested in the Blue Bus venture that just started. The bus, operated by Market To Your Door, tours local villages stocked with a large range of local produce on its itinerary. All markets run from 10am until 12noon and each hosting venue will be offering refreshments of their choice.
The monthly itinerary is:
1st Friday: Upleadon Village Hall
1st Saturday: Harts Barn, Longhope
2nd Friday: Good News Centre
2nd Saturday: Oxenhall village hall
3rd Friday: Pauntley Village Hall
3rd Saturday: Kempley village (Layby near village hall)