“Blossomtime is back!”  News from the Big Apple

The Big AppleThe buds are starting to burst on the apple trees, last autumn’s cider is getting ready to be tasted, and the time is fast approaching for Blossomtime in and around Putley where the Big Apple has been welcoming visitors for thirty years.  Having cancelled this spring event in 2020 and 2021, the community organisation behind the Big Apple is delighted to be able to invite them back again on Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May

“When we were able to hold our autumn event last October, visitors were enthusiastic about the opportunity to enjoy being out and about in the countryside”, says spokesman Jackie Denman.  “Our cider and perry community responded so positively when we managed to arrange a delayed Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials in July 2021.  Now we can bring it all together again, with a Grand Cider Tasting at Putley Parish Hall, time spent under the apple trees at Dragon Orchard, and one-off events at Court Farm Aylton and Pixley Festival Church.  The full programme is available online at www.bigapple.org.uk.  We can’t wait to get back!”

As well as opportunities to taste a whole range of entries to the Cider and Perry Trials, cider and perry on sale will include Artistraw Cider and Perry, Bartestree Cider, Gregg’s Pit Cider and Perry, Halfpenny Green Cider Company and Pope’s Perry.

Highlights include:

  • ‘#RethinkCider’, a talk from Jane Peyton, the UK’s first accredited ‘pommelier’ and founder of the School of Booze.
  • The Elmley FoundationDrop-in printmaking with Laughing Betsy, supported by the Elmley Foundation, using ‘kitchen lithography’ and inspired by objects and images on loan from local families associated with cidermaking and apple growing.
  • Three guided walks each day will tell the stories of the orchards in and around Putley – will it be Norman’s Gap, Dorothy’s Delight or Nigel’s Pride? 
  • And, of course, there will be the usual delicious lunches and teas (and this time a brunch) provided by local community groups. 

The Ledbury Big Breakfast 2022 – a big thank you!

 Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of last weekend’s Ledbury Big Breakfast celebrating a healthy start to the day and Ledbury and district’s riches in local food.

Nineteen local food businesses – Hotels, cafes, pubs and delis – provided the widest range of breakfasts of all sizes from the lightest to the “super heaviest” for those who chose to “eat out”.  Local butchers, delis and the Country Market had local favourites for those who fancied a breakfast at home. 

There were Full English Breakfasts of all sizes for the cognoscenti, but also lots of other delights including a Breakfast Nest, a twist on Eggs Benedict, breakfast salmon, breakfast baps with all kinds of filling, a loaded breakfast rosti and a breakfast waffle. Increasingly there more vegetarian and vegan options on the menus this year.

On Friday, “Breakfast Bells” pealed from the Church to mark the opening of the Big Breakfast weekend.

 

The High Sheriff of Herefordshire Jo Hilditch, The Chair of Herefordshire Council Cllr Sebastian Bowen, Deputy Mayor Phillip Howells, Town Clerk Angela Price and members of Ledbury Food Group celebrated the event with breakfast at the Market House, followed by visits to some of the businesses taking part.  They also visited the Ukrainian Aid centre in the Market House and the new premises of Ledbury Food Bank.

On Saturday, the busiest day, local MP Sir Bill Wiggin toured businesses in Ledbury to thank them for taking part and meeting most of our “first-timers”.

On Sunday there was more choice this year for those who fancied a special Sunday breakfast.

We hope that next year we can run the event at the end of January its
“traditional” time.

Please let us have your feedback and suggestions for next year.

Again many thanks!

Full details of the 2022 Ledbury Big Breakfast now available

Join us for Ledbury’s Celebration of Breakfast over the weekend of Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March – the 10th Ledbury Big Breakfast (postponed from January). 

19 local venues in and around Ledbury are taking part on one or more days in this event organised by Ledbury Food Group to celebrate our local food and drink producers and retailers and a healthy breakfast.  The event takes place at cafes, pubs, hotels, butchers and delis in and around Ledbury.

Again there is lots of choice from the lightest to the heaviest breakfast showing the ingenuity of our local food venues – check through the listing below for something to sample, savour and enjoy

Visit our butchers – Gurneys and Wallers – to discover their breakfast delights for you to take home and enjoy. 

Our delis will feature a wide range of local produce to take home to make a special breakfast.

Ledbury Refugee Support are again holding a special Middle Eastern themed breakfast at The Organic Café (above Handley Organics) on the Saturday to raise funds. 

The Country Market at Burgage Hall on Friday will have lots of local produce for sale for your breakfast at home. 

Things get very busy on the Saturday morning – if you see something or somewhere you fancy please book in advance where possible to avoid disappointment.  More places now offer breakfasts on Sunday.

See below for full details of what specials are available, where and when – many venues will also offer their normal breakfast menu.  A number offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.

The full listing of special offerings – what, where and when?

Based on information provided by the participants.  Many will also have their usual breakfast offerings available and will be open during their normal hours.

Cafés, Hotels and Pubs 

Corner House Cafe, 1 The Southend

9.45-16.00 FRI, SAT & SUN        

Phone 01531 635752                  Take-aways Bookings

  • English Breakfasts of all sizes –full, mini, non-meat, hard-worker’s, apprentice’s
  • Free tea, coffee or juice before 11 .30

Produce from: Willow Bromyard (eggs), Sessions (sausage/bacon), Bakers Dozen, Waller’s (Meat products)

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

The Feathers Hotel, 25 High Street

8.00-11.00 SAT only                   

Phone: 01531 635266                  Bookings

  • Hot smoked salmon with spinach omelette and cream cheese
  • Bacon meatball with white pudding and bine tomato baguette and mushroom ketchup
  • Rarebit, glazed muffin and fried egg.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Janey’s, 15 The Homend

9.00-13.30 FRI & SAT

Phone: 01531 248008                 Take-aways Call & Collect

  • Full English.
  • Savoury and Sweet Breakfast Waffles
  • Granola/cereal station with yogurt and fresh fruit.

Produce from: Bakers Dozen (Bread etc.), Jenkins Greengrocer

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

The Ledberry, 36 The Homend

9.00-12.00 SAT & SUN

Phone: 01531 632676                 Call & Collect  Bookings

  • Waller’s Bacon and Sausage baps
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels
  • Ham and smashed avocado bagels
  • Overnight oat pots with fruit compote

Produce from: Waller’s (meat products), Bakers Dozen, Hedonist Bakery, Jenkins Greengrocer

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Ledbury Rugby Football Club, Ross Road   

9.00-11.00 FRI & SUN                  

Phone: 01531 631788                 Take-aways Bookings

  • Full English
  • Breakfast Baps
  • Freshly made Omelettes
  • Freshly made Pancakes

Produce from: Gurneys Family Butchers

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Malthouse Café & Gallery, Church Lane

9.30-15.30 FRI & SAT,               

Phone: 01531 634443                 Take-aways Call & Collect Bookings

  • A range of special breakfasts to sort all tastes from our ever changing menu

Produce from: LDA Meats, Peter Cooks Bread, Mays (eggs)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Market House Café, 1 The Homend

9.00-15.00 FRI & SAT, 10.00-14.00 SUN         

Phone: 01531 633011                 Take-aways Call & Collect Bookings

  • “Breakfast Nest” – crispy bacon, Sunnyside egg, melted cheese nestled in hollowed out baked potato with chives
  • “Café Pancake Platter” – pancakes, maple syrup, berries, bacon, scrambled egg, chocolate chips, fresh cream

Produce from: Waller’s (meat products), Baker’s Dozen, Jenkins Greengrocer, Total Produce (fruit & vegetables), plus local eggs

 Gluten Free

The Organic Cafe (Handley Organics), 5 High St

9.00 – 13.00 FRI & SAT (last orders)               

Phone: 01531 631136                 Booking advised for Saturday

  • Friday only – Mixed roast vegetables (made in house) on toast (bread made for us by la Delice) with dressing (made in house)
  • Saturday only – Specially inspired menu supporting Ledbury Refugee Support Group – Falafel wrap and dips (both made in house).

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Pot & Page, 8 New Street – vegan specialist cafe

10.00-15.00 FRI, SAT & SUN      

Phone: 01531 248743                 Bookings

  • Loaded rosti stack with a savoury compote.

 Produce from: Tuston Market Garden (Ashperton)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Pot and Page are also running a tea tasting event featuring British grown teas on Friday 11th March evening – find out more at https://potandpageevents.square.site/events

Weston’s Cider Scrumpy House, HR8 2NQ

9.00 – 12.00 FRI, 10.00-12.00 SAT & SUN      

Phone: 01531 660626                 Take-aways (1 Hr notice) Bookings advised

  • Full English with vintage cider sausage
  • Vegan Breakfast Hash – Potato, peppers, mushroom, roast tomato on toasted sourdough
  • Eggs Benedict with cider baked ham

Produce from: Neil Powell (cider sausage) LDA Meats, Country Flavours (eggs), Total Produce (vegetables), St George’s Bakery (Corse)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free (on request)

Seven Stars, 11 The Homend

9.00-11.00 SAT & SUN               

Phone 01531 635800                  Take-aways + Call & Collect (Baps only) Bookings

  • Full English
  • Small full English
  • Vegetarian Breakfast
  • Sausage or Bacon Bap

Produce from: LDA Meats

 Vegetarian, Gluten Free

Sunrise Café, 23 High Street

9.00-12.00 SUN only                  

Phone 01531 634111                  Take-aways Call and Collect.  Bookings

  • Our full English breakfast with a free drink.

Produce from: Gurneys Family Butchers, Total Produce

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

The Nest, Hereford Road, HR8 2PZ

10.00-13.00 FRI, SAT & SUN (last bookings for special breakfasts 12.30)

Phone: 01531 670816                 Call & Collect (1 Hr notice) Limited Bookings. 

  • Benedict Stack – eggs benedict with pesto, prosciutto and hollandaise
  • Little Verzons Breakfast Roll – Ploughman’s Scotch Egg Mix (or Veggie option with Beanie HMSE Mix or Vegan Option with Negg HMSE Mix as a pattie) accompanied with  Willys Kitchen balsamic, Nest onion marmalade dressing and a fried egg (Veggie and Meat) 
  • Homemade baked beans on toast – Vegan and GF
  • Banana and Carrot muffins – Vegan
  • Sweet and Spicy BC – A Chorizo, sausage and marmalade casserole – using Severn Spots chorizo and homemade marmalade with bread – Veggie option available.

Produce from: Willys (Balsamic), Severn Spots (Chorizo), Burger mix from HMSE, Nest Marmalade, Local Eggs from Filly Brook (Bishops Frome), Peter Cooks Muffins, Bakers Dozen Muffins, LDA – Meat, Netherend Butter, Nest Pesto, Cotteswold Dairy, Nest Coffee, Trumpers Tea

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

The Talbot, 14 New Street

8.00-10.00 FRI, SAT & SUN        

Phone: 01531 632963                           Bookings

  • Severn & Wye smoked salmon and eggs
  • Full English breakfast
  • Full Veggie Breakfast
  • Eggs on toast “your way”
  • Bacon or Sausage sandwiches

Produce from Severn and Wye Smokery, Walter Rose Wiltshire Sausages

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

Trumpet Corner Cafe, Trumpet HR8 2RA

9.00–14.00 FRI, SAT & SUN       

Phone: 01531 670082                           Take-aways Call & Collect Bookings

  • Full English breakfast
  • Full Veggie breakfast
  • Smoked salmon & scrambled egg on toasted bagel
  • Brûléed porridge with fresh berries
  • Fresh pastries

Produce from: Legges of Bromyard, Jus apple juice, Macneil’s salmon, Berries Unlocked (Munsley)

 Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Delicatessens & Shops

Ceci Paolo, 21 High Street

9.0-1700 FRI & SAT                   

Phone 01531 632976

Local breakfast produce including smoked fish, yoghurt, cheeses, bread, honey and our own delicacies.

Local producers products sold include: • Severn and Wye Smokery, Three Counties Honey, Peter Cooks Bread, Charles Martell (cheeses), Neal’s Yard Creamery

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Handley Organics, 5 High Street

All day FRI & SAT            

Phone: 01531 631136

Lots of local produce and ingredients to make a tasty breakfast to take home including cereals, eggs, croissants, bread etc.

Organic, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

Butchers

Gurneys Family Butchers, 21 The Homend

All day – FRI & SAT

Phone: 01531 632526

Try our new recipe sausage – the Gurney’s Banger – as part of your breakfast.

David T Waller and Sons, 71 The Homend

All day – FRI & SAT          

Phone 01531 632739

Taste and take home our special breakfast sausage. Tastings 9.00 to 12.00

Country Market

Burgage Hall, Church Lane

9.00 – 12.30 FRI only

Local produce for you to take home for a special breakfast (or other meal!)

Christmas wishes, Events in 2022 and a way to help

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 weekend Friday 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.

Let’s hope!

And finally…

Have you applied for the Herefordshire Shop Local Card loaded with £15 to spend in local businesses?  You can apply for this at https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/business-1/shop-local.

With this someone has suggested you can bring double benefits – here’s how:

  1. Use the card to buy locally produced food or drink in a local shop – helping the local economy.
  2. Donate the equivalent that you spend to Ledbury Food Bank – find out how at  https://www.ledburyfoodbank.org/index.html#help

It’s a thought? Share it around

Diversify Your Grains: Throw in Some Beans

Local Writer Liz Pearson Mann issues the following challenge

Photo credit:  Wesual Click on Unsplash

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.

Go Local

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.

Recipes

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.

Ledbury’s 2021 Vintage goes on sale

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.

English Nouveau

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.

If you want to try this most local of wines, the 2021 vintage is on sale from 18 November from Waitrose – waitrosecellar.com and from sixteenridges.co.uk.

Eat Like Your Ancestors and 2021 Great Taste Award winners!

Eat like your ancestors

Liz Pearson Mann has written a book “Eat Like Your Ancestors” – a sustainable food journey round the West Midlands.

She will be setting up a display about her book in the lobby at Ledbury Heritage Centre this Saturday 30 October.

Eat Like your Ancestors

 
Liz will be there to tell you more about how the past can show the way for the future.

Date: Saturday 30th October

Place: Ledbury Heritage Centre, Church Lane, Ledbury

Time: 10.30 to 16.00

  

Great Taste Award winners

Congratulations to these local food and drink producers who have won awards in the 2021 Great Taste Awards:

 

Willy’s Ltd of Little Marcle for their Apple Balsamic vinegar – 3 stars

Gun Dog Gin for both their Damson and Quince Liqueurs – both 3 stars

Berry’s of the Hop Pocket – formerly Just Rachel Ice Creams – for their Damson and Sloe Gin and their Dark Chocolate Orange ice creams – both 2 stars

Weston’s Cider of Much Marcle – one star awards for Henry Weston Organic, Henry Weston Vintage and Stowford Press Low Alcohol ciders

Friday Beer Co. of Malvern – one star for their Holly Bush Ale