It is the time of year in the vegetable garden when we are picking an abundance of fruit and vegetables daily; the reward for months of hard work and the devoted nurturing of plants and soil. We do grow vegetables all the year round, and our polytunnels provide a more agreeable environment for some of our more delicate winter crops, but it is now that we can really see the fruits of our labour and the real purpose for the vegetable garden comes into light. The majority of the produce that we grow in the vegetable garden is used by the chefs in the kitchen on-site, meaning that as many of the fruit and vegetables that they use are as fresh as they can be, and have travelled the shortest distance possible.This means that all of the food served in our on-site restaurant is as fresh and local as possible.
I liaise closely with the head chef, Clemie, who has been working at Sissinghurst for the past 8 years, to ensure that she gets the produce that she needs, at the time that she needs it. Each week I draw up a list of the produce that I have available, and how much I will be able to bring her each day of the following week. Clemie then fills in the order and returns it to me, and we can then use this list as a reference of the quantities required depending on the menu that week.
This week alone we have taken a selection of broad beans, beetroot, cabbage, courgettes, cucumbers, kohl rabi, lettuce, mange tout, rainbow chard, raspberries, spring onions, blackberries, blackcurrants, loganberries, raspberries, red currants and white currants down to the kitchens to be used in the dishes which are currently on the menu. We also provide herbs and edible flowers to the kitchen to flavour the dishes and make them look even more appetising.
It is such a pleasure to grow produce that is used in such locality, and to know that the food that we provide in our restaurant is as fresh as it can be, and in addition is grown with organic principles to provide good quality, wholesome meals.
Helen (Senior Veg Gardener)