You all know how much we love Dorset but what does everybody else think...we’ve teamed up with a few peeps that we happen to know share our passion for this little gem too.
Our last 5 questions with James Golding delved into his world of culinary capability as chef director of the Pig hotel group and our neighbour in Studland, so here we are looking at the other end of the story; ‘from plot to plate’ with our pals at Goldhill organics based in Child Okeford at the foot of Hambledon Hill, they share their love of local produce with the rest of us by hand delivering their boxes of lovingly grown organic goodies around the county (& beyond)!
F/A: Jane, for those who don’t know you, give em’ a little intro
J: I first visited Goldhill Organic Farm over 20 years ago with Nick, my husband. We fell for the uniqueness immediately and of course the amazing vegetables and for the work that Sara and Andrew put into every single plant and vegetable that is sown. I began working with Sara and Andrew 5 years ago and soon realised that these amazing vegetables needed to reach further afield (excuse the pun) in Dorset than the plots here in Child Okeford, and that is when the veg box scheme began. We actually began thinking about it while walking on the top of Hambledon Hill, the ancient Iron Age hill fort that the farm sits at the foot of.
F/A: We are fortunate enough to be in an area of outstanding natural beauty in studland, can you describe your location and what makes it unique.
J: We too are within the Dorset AONB and it is incredibly special to us here. Each morning we can look up at Hambledon on Hill, which is said to have healing qualities and we often climb up there and survey as far as we can see out, across the beautiful green and lush fields. We are also within walking distance of Hod Hill and not far from Bulbarrow too. The landscape here is breathtaking. The family have lived on the farm for nearly 60 years and were originally dairy farmers, but that all changed 25 years ago when the first raised organic beds were dug, and as they say the rest is history.
F/A: What do you think is the best bit about living and working in Dorset?
J: The best part of living in Dorset is it's varying landscapes. Here we are in land and pretty unspoilt really as although the villages have all expanded, it's hardly built up. There is always somewhere new to discover for walks and bridle ways, and importantly to us we seem to have our own little micro-climate here. We also love being so near to the sea, only a half an hours drive away and we can paddle in the sea water.
F/A: Our trusty tools for a day of adventuring are our knives, baskets for gathering and fire steels for lighting the fire, with these 3 things we can pretty much rustle up anything anywhere, what are your tools of the trade that you couldn’t be without?
J: Our tools of the trade are mostly our hands! Working would be much harder with out a trusty old tractor, wheel barrows, hoes, gloves and very important are our watering pipes for the poly tunnels, which ensure the vegetables growing inside them are watered at the right moment, and we used harvested rain water for this.
F/A: Living and working on the coast gives us access to oodles of foraged finds, (hence why one of our 5 a day is seaweed!) can you tell us what’s the most unusual thing we are likely to find on the Goldhill organic farm?
J: Hard to say really, as there is always some experimenting going on. Trends are important, but not at the expense of quality and flavour. A wide variety of vegetables are grown on the farm which is what makes it completely unique. We did enjoy growing tomatillos, a member of the tomato family, but with a fresh citrusy flavour and they grow in their own lanterns and are the base of salsa!
F/A: Finally, we love your veggies and can personally vouch for their tastiness! Can you give everyone else a little teaser and share a favourite recipe or dish that could be made from some of your ingredients?
J: One of our favourite recipes and ever so easy, is to slice a squash in half, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with some oil and salt and bake until soft. While the squash bakes gently cook some sliced leeks, once cooked add some cream (be naughty and go for double) and some grated cheese, gruyere is good as it's lovely and sticky. Add the leek mixture to the squash, return to the oven and bake until bubbling, then scoff the lot!!