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Friday, 22 March 2013

A day out at the Edible Garden Show

Last weekend my friend Laura and I toddled off to a special show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.We moaned about the driving rain on the over there, but thank goodness it was only rain. Today there's snow outside, ice and a biting, gusty wind to freeze the nadgers off a badger....

We went to this

Neither of us had been before ....but we were well prepared, with bags, a big four by four (to take all our purchases home), comfortable shoes, boots and rainwear.

On our way in we pitied the poor stallholders outside, huddled up trying to escape the rain, but once inside, we tried to be methodical...working our way around the huge main hall row by row so we didn't leave any of the 160 plus stalls unvisited.

First things first.. a  few little practical necessities, such as plant supports and something for a broken hose for Laura , bamboo socks and angora socks  for both of us...

A wander into the smallholder marquee, where I fell in love. With these....

I've never thought about owning a goat, although my dog Boo was  friendly with a rather jolly old goat who used to live in our village....but after seeing these...oh they were gorgeous. Perhaps I could keep a couple? Giving myself a mental slap for even thinking about it, we moved swiftly on, where we admired the hens and pigs.

Moving through back to the main hall, we found , by sense of smell, the specialist food tent..burgers of every description....and water buffalo ice cream...

By now, feeling peckish, we wandered along the food stalls at the far end of the hall. Each stall attracting those wanting to try and buy....who were hoovering up the free samples of jams, cheeses, bacons, relishes,dressings, breads, oils and vinegars.

We spent a while at the Wolmersley Fruit and Herb Vinegars stand, where I was bowled over by their intense flavours and the banter from Rupert Parsons. Their raspberry vinegar is simply divine..I shall be using that alot.....and the apple and apache chilli jam tingled my tastebuds.

I caught sight of other bottles bottles..

Those who know me understand that I'm utterly incapable of walking past wine anywhere....and luckily Laura is of the same persuasion....we tried  a few wines including a beautiful prosecco from Bat and Bottle, a specialist wine importer  from Oakham. Now Ben and Emma are the sort of people I'd like to go on tour with . A wine tour around vineyards...quaffing and buying.They're very knowledgeable, full of fun...and they drink buckets of the stuff. Just like Laura and I....

There was just time to stuff a peppermint in my mouth before heading off to interview the lovely Alys Fowler...who was running herself ragged at the show, giving talks about edible flowers and herbs for salads and fruitful crops to big crowds at the experts theatre, and talking to lots of people. More about Alys in another blogpost...

Also strutting his stuff , and equally passionate, about growing your own more exotic edibles,  was James Wong . He was inspiring lots of people to buy his book " Homegrown Revolution"  and seeds from Suttons. When I say people, many of them were women of a certain age!

I though had my eyes on a number of other products that I liked the look of....I bought a couple of grow bag frames for growing some tomatoes in the courtyard here at home...they were light and portable...and then I saw these..

 I've had my eye on one of these after reading about them....but it was good to see them in the flesh as it were. I'd love one of these ...planted with cut and come again salads, plus some dwarf beans, strawberries and carrots that I can pick without breaking my back. On the wish list for when I save some more money though.

But that's what I enjoyed about this show....lots of really practical products to help us all who want to grow our own food, plus expert advice and demonstrationsfrom both enthusiasts, celebrity chefs, celebrity gardeners, plus knowledgeable helpful people from associations and societies.too
We 're a growing band of enthusiasts too - the number of us growing our own fruit and veg have gone up from 34 per cent in 2008, to 43 per cent today. And despite the rain last weekend, there were lots of us at the Edible Garden Show at Stoneleigh.

Next year the show moves to Alexandra Palace...where the organisers hope to increase both exhibitor and visitor numbers. I wish them well, but.....and it's a fairly big but. What's wrong with Stoneleigh? It's accessible, has a central location, there's space for the show to expand...and I heard both exhibitors and visitors  questioning the move. Of course, I'm biased, Stoneleigh is close to home.....but will the Edible Garden Show attract us down to  Ally Pally next year ? Hey this space.....

 Today's track is from the Lumineers  ....Ho Hey....a real sing along song ..and I do like their energy! Could do with some of that during the growing season!



  1. Sounds like a lovely day out. Yes you should buy some little goats their so cute and you'd never have to mow the lawn again. I like those vegstrugs I've been looking for something like that so I coukd try growing some vegs without bending down ( bad back) need to google and see if I cand find them.

  2. Anne, don't encourage me!The goats wouldn't just eat the lawn ...they 'd eat everything!Re the veg trugs...these ones were very well made.

  3. I'm looking forward to eating salad dressed with that vinegar next time I visit! I rather fancy one of those vegtrugs but I fear it might be not masculine enough for Mr A!

  4. Ros my dear....salad is the last thing I'm thinking about eating in this snowy weather! I want hot comfort food...gratins, carb laden pasta or meaty cassoulets or stews ...