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A REAL-LIFE HARVEST CELEBRATION

Every year, drinks editor Susy Atkins looks forward to The Bridford Growers’ Feast – a gathering of veg growers, allotment-tenders, cooks and foragers from her village in Devon. They invite friends and neighbours to join in this celebration of ultra-local food that does the village proud – and we persuaded them to share their favourite recipes

MENU OF THE MONTH

Susy tells the story of how the feast began…

"Take one small village with a much loved but often empty village hall. Throw in a handful of keen amateur chefs, then gather your main ingredients, as many as possible from the local area. That’s all the vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, eggs, bread, most of the drinks and even the flowers to decorate the hall: all bought, foraged or donated from the growers in the village itself, or nearby.

Here in Bridford, on the outskirts of Dartmoor, almost everyone has a vegetable plot or an allotment, fruit trees or chicken coops. There are endless woods and high hedgerows to forage in, and beautiful reservoirs close by for fishing. There’s Devon milk and cream, and fresh meat, veg and fruit, all farmed on the fields by our houses.

So a group of us set ourselves a challenge: to feed 50 people with a fine autumnal Sunday lunch in the village hall. We called it The Growers’ Feast. The cheffing team brought varied but crucial skills: Sam Henderson is a local organic farmer and we bagged a lot of produce from his Whippletree Farm; Georgina Evans is a caterer; Dan Nicholls is a talented amateur chef; and Melinda Dowding is one of the best organisers I know. Me? I manned the bar (of course) with elderflower cordial, lavender lemonade and cider from Brimblecombe’s, just down the road.

Francis, a local allotment grower, gave us produce; Fran and Trudy made breads, desserts and sides and Bryony decorated the hall with wildflowers. The menu was led by the apples, onions, squash and tomatoes that are in good supply in October. Other dishes were shaped around the offers we got close to the event. A neighbourly fisherman donated a few trout from the reservoir, a farmer gave a big discount on his local grass-fed beef, and the pub did a deal on Devon ale. There was one supermarket run for things like oil, sugar and spices.

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About Delicious Magazine

As the nights draw in, October’s delicious. brings comforting cheer with Jacob Kenedy’s guide to game cookery, Debbie Major’s best recipes using beer and Maria Elia’s favourite moussaka. You’ll also find Halloween snacks, chocolate cinnamon buns (yum!), guilty pleasure puds (lots of chocolate), Italian midweek suppers, Middle Eastern vegetarian meals and breakfasts to leap out of bed for. Plus (cue fanfare!), editor Karen Barnes reveals the Produce Awards 2016 winners.
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