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This afternoon we popped down to the Walton Lea Garden Party in Warrington.  We went last year and it’s always a lovely opportunity to go and enjoy their pretty walled garden and buy some gorgeous homegrown vegetables and fruit. 

We had a nice wander round the walled garden whilst munching on teeny tiny cupcakes – literally a mouthful.  I so enjoy seeing vegetables and fruit growing in such a beautiful old walled garden and going to the Walton Lea Project is almost like going to a National Trust garden.

Everything is looking a lot more parched and dry than last year what with all this steaming hot weather we’ve been having recently. 

But there is some gorgeous vegetables – like these stunning onions, all of which are for sale in the shop…

There is also a lovely selection of bedding plants and some good sized fruit bushes (redcurrant, whitecurrant and jostaberry) for a very good price – I would like to come back and get a few for the allotment.

We came away with…a selection of yellow and green courgettes, a punnet of redcurrants (destined for the pot to make a relish to go with a bacon and brie sandwich Mr Rigg fancies) and a punnet of blackcurrants (possibly for blackcurrant cordial)…

They were out of blackcurrants when we arrived, so whilst we enjoyed a stroll around the walled garden, someone went off to collect us a punnet of them!  Where else do you get service like that?!

And this gorgeous bunch of sweetpeas picked from their walled garden – and for only £1!

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A quick hello at the end of long day.  N and I have had a lovely week of cooking and eating – we’ve made fairy cakes with butter icing and raspberry jam…pink gooseberry and nettle fool…pasta with homemade fresh tomato sauce and basil dressing…and pea, mint and taleggio risotto. 

I’ve spent hours stood in my vegetable patch munching on so many peas that I couldn’t eat anymore….picked juicy strawberries that have never reached the kitchen…tidied the allotment and watched ladybird larvee turn into ladybirds…and been to a lovely garden party in Walton Lea’s walled garden.

ladybirds

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Tuesday night was the event that I’ve been working towards for the past year.  The culmination of a year’s volunteering for my local branch of CPRE(Campaign to Protect Rural England), single-handedly running their local food work.  We have been running ‘Buy Local’ Food Awards to celebrate the fantastic work of businesses in Cheshire that grow/sell us great local food. 

The event was a combined effort from myself and Helen Meade, who is the Regional Co-ordinator for the CPRE ‘Mapping Local Food Webs’project which is being rolled out across England.  Helen has been running a pilot project in Knutsford, and with my local food awards coming to an end, it was a perfect opportunity to join forces and put on a lovely event. 

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We have been busy advertising the event through our different networks, but we still didn’t know how many people would turn up – I think we were hopefully for 30 (my secret goal was 50 though).  We had a number of interested businesses who offered to bring along samples of their food, and all five of our award winners were able to come.

So Tuesday evening finally rolled around.  My car was filled with tablecloths, earthenware vases, chalkboards and hedgerow flowers (a mixture of elderflowers, daisies, grasses, and cow parsley).  We had about an hour and a half to set the room up, with the normal hiccups (no glasses or cutlery…aah!). 

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Businesses started arriving and setting up their displays of food, leaflets and samples of food – yumm!  We had Riverford Organic:

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One of our ‘Buy Local’ Food Award winners – Riverside Organic – brought some baskets of the seasonal produce grown on their farm.  We also had sausage rolls from another of our winners H Clewlow Butchers, homemade gooseberry fool (I really want this recipe!) from the Walton Lea Project also an award winner, homemade cakes from Abbey Leys Farm, and chutneys and jams from a lovely company that I don’t know the name of! 

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Over 50 people turned out for the event, which is more than we ever imagined, so are so pleased and hope that people enjoyed the evening.  It was so lovely to see my local food awards come a glorious end with the winners accepting their awards.  I have really enjoyed running the awards but it has been exhausting at times, so I’m looking forward to a month off from volunteering before I start planning my next project.

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There should be some professional photographs available soon as a journalist from the local paper came along to the event.  If and when they are available I will post them or a link to them.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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