I am so happy to unveil our new range of 15 organic teas and herbal infusions. The ritual of drinking tea brings calm, comfort and revival. As our lives become ever busier, I cherish the moments when we can take time out from a busy day to sit quietly and enjoy a restorative cup of tea. Each variety of tea requires a different approach and to honour the care and skill of our producers, I wanted to share some tips on achieving the perfect cup.
As we gathered the honey from our hives in the summer, we were mindful of the remarkable effort that goes into every precious golden drop. The hard work of the bees begins long before harvest and at Daylesford we are committed to supporting our favourite pollinators throughout the year.
For me, there is no comparison to the classic English rose, picked straight from the garden and brought in to the home as part of a simple posey. Our cutting garden at the farm is filled with organic seasonal blooms and is now open for pick-your-own afternoons every Wednesday throughout September and October.
All good honey is said to have restorative, even healing properties, but certain batches of Manuka honey from New Zealand have been shown to have special antibacterial qualities – the Maoris traditionally put it on cuts to help fend off infection. Taken from our cookbook A Love For Food, this is admittedly not a cheap cake to make, but apart from being good for you it has a very distinctive, acquired flavour, quite potent and floral, from the Manuka.
Our busy bees have had a great spring and summer this year, with plentiful hedgerows, orchards and good flying weather in the early season all contributing to a bountiful harvest. The fields of wildflower and lavender that we have at Daylesford, together with the second flowering of clover and Sainfoin have also bolstered their reserves, making this one of our best years yet for our estate honey.
There are few things more important in life than good health and wellbeing, and yet so often these areas are neglected. On Monday 11th September we shall be meeting at our Notting Hill farmshop to talk about different ways to achieve a healthy balance in life.
At Daylesford we are looking forward to celebrating autumn at our HARVEST FESTIVAL later this month. Our excitement is being fuelled by the hedgerows and verges ripening with the mellow fruitfulness of the season. The early glimpses of the bright, glossy berries peeping out of our hedgerows are a sign of the colourful and delicious bounty to come in the full flush of Harvest.
This autumn also sees the return of Organic September – The Soil Association’s annual campaign dedicated to organic food and farming. It is a fantastic initiative and one that I hope will help encourage people to embrace sustainable principles – not just for the benefit of our own good health, but also for the good of our animals and the environment that surrounds us.
As we approach Autumn, now is a great time to get out in to the countryside and forage for berries to put in to crumbles, pies and smoothies. This vitamin C rich smoothie is made with blackberry, mint and honey and equipped with all of the soothing and nourishing benefits of our organic milk kefir, which we make fresh on the farm from the milk of our pedigree British Friesians.
Sarah Myerscough Gallery is somewhere that I love to go to discover inspiring works by contemporary artists and makers. In today’s world of high technology, it’s reassuring that craft still has a distinct and powerful role to play in art culture and I have always felt that it is important to support these handcrafted skills. This autumn we shall be welcoming Sarah Myerscough to our Bamford stores for a specially curated exhibition of works by international artists and designers.
In November 2015 we launched Agricology – an online and in-field platform offering practical information and advice for farmers about sustainable British agriculture. It is a fantastic, much needed initiative and I am very proud to be a founding trustee. Over the past two years the website has grown into an interactive, online resource centre, brought to life by a regular stream of industry news, educational resources and blog posts and a monthly video diary of agriculture at Daylesford provided by Richard Smith, our farm manager.
Tom Kitchin is a chef who I truly admire and a trip to his Edinburgh restaurant, The Kitchin, is something that I always look forward to. The youngest Scottish chef to ever win a Michelin star, Tom’s cooking brings together everything that I love about food: quality seasonal produce, sourced from local suppliers and served simply, in a beautiful and relaxed environment.