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Welcome back! I'm a little late because I was away at the end of June and I wanted to do justice to this Somerset Food Trail special edition!
The Somerset Food Trail "celebrates the best, most sustainably produced local food. It's the first of its kind: a countywide event focused specifically on our more nature-friendly farmers and artisan producers - the local food heroes who are leading the transition to a new era of regenerative, 'agroecological' farming, to cut emissions, restore wildlife and produce better, tastier, more nourishing food."
Amen to that!
So how can you get involved? Well first of all head on over to their website where you can search all the events by date, type or geographical cluster. I've chosen to highlight a few events below and my most recent article will help you plan how to get involved. The "trail" element of the festival is 100% DIY so you can simply sign up to one thing, or you can sprinkle your diary with a whole host of events across the festival from the 14th - 30th July.
The Main Course...
This year's theme is... Feast and Tastings
Apparently nearly 40 venues have taken on the challenge of the 30-mile feast. I recognise a few names in there but it's great to see collaborations, and people not usually in the catering game, throwing their hats into the ring.
Horrell & Horrell is my most guiltless of guilty of pleasures right now. I honestly can't get enough of their high-end, rustic countryside vibes and the importance they put on their producers. The ex-Roth Bar and Grill husband and wife team have moved home and transformed their barn into... well just all of my dreams. And they are hosting a feast on 3 separate nights.
Feltham's Farm have teamed up with On The Spoon to produce a farm feast using their own cheeses, meats, vegetables and fruit. What's more they have a journalist giving a talk and they invite you wild swimming. Now that's how you nourish yourself body, mind and soul!
Another farm worth hanging out on is Vallis Farm. I went to visit them a few weeks ago and was really impressed by all the activity going on there. You'll be welcomed with drinks and nibbles, given a tour of the farm and then invited to join a long table feast before winding down by the fire.
Rounding out the festival, Rockaway Park are hosting Sunday dinners and honestly the venue sounds so cool! "Based in a disused quarry [...] with artists’ studios, a community forest garden, vegan café, music venue, rehearsal studio, sculpture park, School of Curiosity, creative workshops, plus regular art and music events, we are a continually expanding hub of creativity and grass-roots culture." Boom, sign me up!
Finally and probably most thought provoking of all, This Food Is Rubbish. I was so excited to get along to the first version of this event and wow is it original. Open your mind, accept that not everything will be to your taste and be brave to try all of it. This event will leave you chewing things over long after you leave the dinner table.
Events and Experiences
Some of the venues have focused a little less on the feast and more on tastings with an experience.
How about Jazz and Wine on the vines at Wraxall Vineyard? If relaxing in their beautiful tasting venue, looking out over the rolling vineyard, listening to local jazz musicians isnt' your thing, you can still enjoy tours and tastings on additional dates.
How much do you know about aquaponics? Well visit BioAqua to find out more about how they produce their organically fed rainbow trout and vegetables on just an acre of land. I hope it's not the only way we grow in the future but I strongly believe it will be an important part of it.
Whilst we're on the topic of learning, have you ever been to a forest garden? Transition Town Wellington are the community gardeners behind Fox's Field who are hosting an open day. Learn how they are restoring a healthy ecosystem; about foraging, medicinal herbs and the soil; and the importance of a regenerative farming revolution. Bring your own picnic and enjoy live music.
After all of this eating you might want to burn some calories and what better way than with Bruton Bike Hire and Tours. Spend half the time cycling, half the time eating. My kind of exercise!
A Little Something Sweet...
This time the something sweet is in a name... My favourite name of all the amazing experiences goes to Fanny Hatstand & The Bridge Bakery. And the fun doesn't stop there! There will be music from The Clay Bottom Jug Busters and a play from Langport Mummers. It sounds mad and wonderful and inviting; exactly the sort of thing that I'd expect from Somerset's rural community.
I'd love to hear from you if you attend any events during the festival - you can message me via Instagram or simply reply to this email. I hope if you hadn't already got plans that I've inspired you to find out more. Last year I attended a farm tour of Meadowsweet Beef and I now not only buy regular meat boxes from them, I've also become friends with the farmer Hannah and her household of wonderful people.
Enjoy the Somerset Food Trail, maybe see you out there!
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Thank you from The Tale of a Teaspoon