Since moving to the farm in the summer of 2017 we have been experimenting with and developing a number of core products that we hope to sell to locals and visitors of the farm. One of our main aims is to offer high-grade and long lasting permaculture produce that allows people to eat locally throughout the year. One of the ways that we can do this is by preserving the food that we grow. This post will delve deeper into the provenance and benefits of our farmmade produce.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is quickly becoming integrated into the daily routine of many health-conscious folk, and for good reason - the health benefits are fantastic. Our cider vinegar is made up of a mix of local heritage apples. We were kindly gifted a large barrel of apple juice from a neighbouring cider producer called Ty Gwyn in our first year and we have been crafting the perfect vinegar from that ever since. All of our cider vinegar has mother included and is 100% natural and sulphate free! Personally, I love to use the cider vinegar in sauces and especially curries - the well-rounded acidity has a great ability to bind flavours. We are also currently experimenting with our own perry vinegar which should be on sale next year!
A great way to preserve vegetables from the garden is to pickle them. We have created a double-headed preservation and health benefit combo by incorporating our own cider vinegar into our pickled products. This means you will get all of the health benefits from the vinegar as well as being able to enjoy our market garden produce during the colder months (if you can wait that long). Our pickle range will include beetroots, onions, radishes and carrots. As well as this, Poppy has planted a specific vegetable bed with chutneys in mind so that your ploughmans will never be the same again!
A wise man once said that ‘it is the small bubbles that are created from fermentation that act as a fuel for our own bodily biome’. Every time you eat a spoonful of fermented goodness you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora. This increases the health of your gut microbiome and digestive process, therefore enhancing your immune system. Most recently it has been the honourable leek of Wales, which we make into leekchi, that has been filling our fermentation chambers! We will be selling this alongside other types of home-grown and homemade sauerkrauts, kimchis and kombucha as part of our fermented range.
One of the first activities we did when we arrived at the farm in 2017 was to harvest all of the hedgerow fruit we could and embark on the process of making jam. Having previously been urban dwellers with urban lifestyles, we were not the most experienced jam makers to say the least. We were, and still are, hugely grateful for the help of jam and jelly legend Kitty Hagenbach who showed us the ropes. There is an abundance of wild hedgerow fruits around the farm, and the way that we manage our land from a permaculture perspective encourages these fruit bushes to thrive. We also use fruit from our ever-evolving forest garden! This year's jams include; bramble, bramble & black pepper, damson, and plum. Jellies include; crabapple & rosemary, and redcurrant & gooseberry.
As the permaculture systems that we have in place continue to grow and thrive alongside our preservation ventures, we will be expanding our product range. We hope to one day grow and provide whole-basket solutions for customers as well as providing the best quality pasture-fed meat for restaurants and for our own events. What is also key to us is that our systems and techniques can easily be replicated by other farmers and producers. For this to work, we need to show that produce created from a holistic system like ours has a place in the market and that produce from these systems can be profitable. Thank you for your continued support in our long-term project!