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Amazing Maize, Falling Leaves and Foraging

Fine Foods...as ever it has been pretty busy since my last blog. We are now pressing the new crop of rapeseed which is giving us a good yield and beautiful golden oil. Next year’s crop went in at the end of August and is already coming up.

We have been at Melplash Agricultural Show, River Cottage, Dorset Show and Frome Cheese Show; all of which kept me very busy. Tim and Andy caught up with friends and family at Frome. I was invited to demonstrate a recipe showcasing our products at the Dorset County Show, which was great fun and gave me an opportunity to share our passion for what we do here at Fine Foods. Our next event takes us into October and to Powderham Castle. A beautiful venue and enjoyable event for us. We then head to the Wells Food Festival followed by Wimborne Food Festival where I am cooking on stage again!

Getting 'miked' up and a smile of relief as it's over!

Above: Getting 'miked' up and a smile of relief as it's over!

I didn’t really want to mention the ‘Christmas’ word but for us we are already planning the stock needed to cover the Bath Christmas Market and a few other events happening around that time. It is an exceptionally busy time for us with 18 days of trading! Regarding the Christmas Market, we are looking for people to man the stall and so if you have good people skills and are interested, then please get in touch by email info@fusselsfinefoods.co.uk. The atmosphere is great and the time flies by as it’s so busy!

We have hosted some ‘Field to Plate’ Tours recently, which were very much enjoyed by our visitors; so much so that after asking so many questions, they were late leaving!

We often host local companies too. It is a chance to get staff together socially and learn at the same time. If this would be of interest to you then again, please give me a call.

Our kitchen continues to be busy with bookings for private events. I was introduced to ‘hedgerow foraging’ last month. It was so interesting finding out what is edible right under our noses (and what is not!!) with suggestions for adding to recipes! So much more than blackberries! I did forage for Wild Garlic earlier in the year with which I made a delicious pesto (recipe here).

On the Farm...‘AMAZING MAIZE’...It’s almost time for the Maize to be harvested; 65 acres here at Church Farm (early by about 4 weeks due to the hot summer). Because the maize is so tall, you can see how the drilling (planting) is so precise. The crop has done very well, as it went into naturally fertilised soil. We all know in the village when the ground is being fertilised and ploughed, prior to drilling, if the wind is in the wrong direction!

The maize is cut by a different piece of kit: A ‘Forage Harvester’. The crop of maize is chopped to about 10mm in length and then blown into a following trailer, which is then taken to the silage clamp where it is tipped up and ensiled (levelled out, rolled and then sheeted) keeping out air and moisture. This will then keep through the winter as feed for the cows. The Forager working is something worth watching as it is a ‘BEAST ‘of a machine with 650–800 HP on tap …I’m hoping I can observe from the cab and maybe even sit in The Seat! The maize is ready when the cob is hard and yellow and no evidence of drips of water from the stalk when rung.

The wheat will be drilled early in October here at Church Farm and also at other local farms where we rent and also manage the land. Approximately 360 acres will be drilled by Shaun followed by Andy with the roller which consolidates the soil ensuring that there is good seed to soil contact, giving the seed the best chance of quick germination and good establishment. The little green shoots of new life poke through in about 7-10 days, so look out for the brown fields turning green again. Andy has added stubble turnips to the rotation this year. These crops are being grown for a local sheep farmer for feeding his flock through the winter and spring. Also the fields will be naturally fertilised prior to ploughing! These fields will be planted with maize in late April depending on the weather then once chopped in Oct/Nov will be planted with winter wheat. And so the season changes to Autumn...

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Audience tasting after my demonstration

Above: Audience tasting after my demonstration.

Lizzy Etheridge - Production | Sales | Events