Ledbury Country Market – has now been open since Friday18th September – 10am to 12 noon at the Burgage Hall on Fridays weekly
Food Deliveries – details of those who continue to provide delivery, order and collect or takeaway services have been updated.
Local restaurants, pubs and cafés – thanks for continuing to support these – it enables them in turn to support our local food producers.
A Virtual Orchard tour – The Big Apple’s Harvestime event sadly did not go ahead this month, but you can go on a virtual harvest-time orchard tour round Dragon Orchard, Putley by visiting https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/
The apples are coming in, the presses are at work, and it’s almost that time when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years. But, sadly, not in 2020. The event, which was scheduled for 10th and 11th October, has been cancelled. The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within COVID-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far. “We’ve been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman. “We’d like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen. In the end, the decision to cancel was our own. The timing just wasn’t right.”
Messages of support followed the announcement late last week. “Everyone agreed that we had made the right decision, but they also took the trouble to tell us that we would be much missed.”
This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people. Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled. “We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event that was still in this year’s calendar. We’ve put a special area on our website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/, with information about the producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce.” Many familiar Big Apple venues are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.
A Poem from Sara-Jane Arbury
The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on 2nd/3rd May and Harvestime on 9th/10th October.
The cider makers are uniting around three common themes: diversity – of both style and occasion, community – whether it’s cider’s rich heritage or orchards for the people, and sustainability – cider’s impeccably green credentials.
Over the next months, you are being invited to Discover Cider, with a chance to win mixed cases of cider by sharing your own cider stories.
There will be opportunities to visit producers and to meet the makers via a programme of events and tastings, virtual and otherwise, including the Cider Critic whose “virtual” tastings of products from a range of cider makers is available on the website.
There are links to local cider makers’ websites where you can order cider for delivery and discover even more about each producer.
Simon Day, production manager for Once Upon A Tree ciders says, “I have seen the need for a co-operative approach to cider marketing for a number of years, however several attempts to get something working have stalled for one reason or another, but mainly because there are just too few hours in the day.”
“Lockdown has provided the urgency among cider producers to come together to advance some form of co-operative marketing group, and the time to make things happen. Gabe Cook (renowned industry expert aka the Ciderologist) steered a growing number of progressive producers to come together and discuss the needs of cider makers generally, and in these challenging times of Coronavirus specifically.”
“Some cider makers have seen sales reduce by 80% over lockdown, as their route to market was blocked (pubs, restaurants and events) and the recovery, although happening, is slow and sales are still significantly lower than normal. We have seen redundancies and closures in the industry, with the smaller scale producer hardest hit. Something had to happen to help raise cider’s profile, to protect jobs, and to help protect our dwindling orchard landscape.”
“By working together, and with Gabe Cook at the helm, the hope is that we are able to amplify our key messages that we all share as producers: To introduce our ciders to new consumers and show off the variety of cider that is available; highlight our environmentally sustainable credentials and share our cider stories.”
“Early results are encouraging, with a number of online events and conversations happening and will continue to build over the remaining 9 weeks of the campaign. Our hope is this will lead to increasing demand with existing retailers and introducing exciting cider ranges to brand new stockists, particularly outside our usual “cider bubble”.
“I believe there will be a lasting legacy to our current activity, and #DiscoverCider will continue as a hashtag and website for some years to come, and most excitingly this will open the door to new collaborative approaches to help all British cidermakers in the future.”
Ledbury Country Market – is re-opening fully at the Burgage Hall on Fridays from Friday 18th September initially between 10am and Noon. Entrance from Church Lane – one way system for social distancing. Please wear face-masks. A full range of local food products, Chinese delicacies and plants and flowers will be available.
Food Deliveries – details of those who continue to provide delivery services have been updated.
Local restaurants, pubs and cafés – Thanks for supporting those that are now open. Trumpet Team Room reopened on 1st August now run by Annie Badham and the Market House in Ledbury is now open again.
Please wear a face mask in shops to protect all those who work hard to serve us – “Shop Safe Shop Ledbury”…
…and thanks to all those who contributed to Janie Clarenne’s recent appeal via Justgiving to help her take her husband Pascal of Chez Pascal on a last visit to France – the target sum of £5,000 has now been exceeded.
Many of you will have enjoyed Pascal’s special pastries at Chez Pascal – Ledbury’s “little bit of France” lately in New Street.
Janie and Pascal had to close Chez Pascal permanently following Pascal’s diagnosis with cancer earlier this year.
Janie has launched a fund to help Pascal to visit France one last time as follows:
“Pascal has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and is battling his illness with great courage. It has been a difficult year with the loss of our business and Pascal’s declining health. My wish is to take Pascal to France when he is feeling stronger. He will need additional medical insurance as he is on oxygen 24/7. If anyone would like to make a donation to this, please donate to help – it would be gratefully received. I will keep you all updated on Pascal’s progress. Janie x”
As courgettes are so readily available this month here are two recipes.
PUREE OF GRILLED COURGETTES WITH GOAT’S CHEESE AND HAZELNUTS
This recipe is for a starter but it would make a light lunch.
675g/ 1½ lbs similar sized courgettes
a little olive oil
40g / 1½ oz butter
¼ nutmeg, grated
75g / 3oz goat’s cheese log
40g / 1½ oz chopped hazelnuts
salt and pepper
Top and tail the courgettes, cut them in half lengthways and smear oil all over. Heat the grill high and grill the courgettes on both sides until blackened in places. Then put them in a food processor with the butter, grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Whizz until smooth and scrape into a gratin dish.
Crumble the goat’s cheese into small pieces and sprinkle over the puree. Scatter on the hazelnuts, drizzle over a little oil and put under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling. The dish can be kept warm in a low oven for up to half an hour.
Tips – Grilling the courgettes instead of steaming them dries them out a bit and also adds a pleasant smoky taste. Serve with crusty bread.
FLORA’S FAMOUS COURGETTE CAKE
For the cake:
60g / 2 oz raisins, optional
250g / 9 oz courgettes (2 – 3) weighed before grating
2 large eggs
125ml / 4½ fl oz vegetable oil
150g / 5½ oz caster sugar
225g / 8 oz self raising flour
½ tsp. bicarb of soda and ½ tsp. baking powder
For the icing:
200g / 8 oz cream cheese
100g / 4 oz icing sugar, sieved
juice of 1 lime or more to taste
2 – 3 tbsps. chopped pistachio nuts
For the filling:
Lime or lemon curd
Preheat oven to 180C / gas mark 4. Line 2 x 21cm / 9 inch sandwich tins and grease.
If you are using raisins put them in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump up. Wipe the courgettes with a kitchen towel and grate. The coarse side of a box grater is best. Put them in a sieve over the sink to remove excess water.
Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and beat until combined. Stir in the courgettes and add the drained raisins. Pour into the tins and bake for 30 minutes. Leave in their tins for 5 – 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a rack.
If you cannot buy lime curd a good lemon will do with a little freshly squeezed lime juice added. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, add the icing sugar and beat and stir in the lime juice to taste. Put one cake on a plate and spread with the lime or lemon curd. Put the other cake on top and smear thickly with the cream cheese icing. If you feel the icing needs firming up put in the fridge for a while.
Just before serving scatter over the pistachios. Serves 8.
Trade deals in respect of farmed food products will define what standards should apply to produce traded between countries. The UK Government is currently developing new trade agreements with foreign countries as part of the Brexit process.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has launched a petition asking for your supportfor their campaign to ensure that standards agreed in these negotiations on imported food to the UK should be to leading world standards, recognising the UK’s high standards of safety and welfare.
Some might argue that standards in the UK could or should be at more sustainable levels than now in many differing ways, but relaxation of import standards would create a lower base from which improvements could move forward, quite apart from any economic or health implications.
The NFU state: “Farming throughout the UK has high standards of safety and welfare with an ambition to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. There are very strict controls on farming methods allowed in the UK.” They ask that such standards should apply to all food which is imported here so what we eat is safe, traceable and produced to high welfare and environmental standards.