Fresh Seasonal Local Produce
Supporting local businesses and sourcing fresh, seasonal local produce for our customers is as important in our new Food Hall today as it was over ten years ago when we opened our first small Farm Shop within the Garden Centre. Since those early days Mandy and Matthew Cowan have taken this project from strength to strength, building up excellent relationships with local producers and expanding to create our brand new 3,000 square foot Food Hall that opened it’s doors for the first time earlier this year.
Mandy and her team have a real passion for cooking which you can see when you visit our home cooked food counter. They are always trying out new recipes using the seasonal produce that we stock within the Food Hall.
Spring is a wonderful time of the year starting with local asparagus. There are many ways to cook it - Mandy’s favourite method is to put the asparagus into a saucepan with boiling water for three minutes, drain, then put back into the saucepan. Add a knob of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt. Serve while still warm. Asparagus has many health benefits, containing a rich source of vitamin C to boost immune systems as well as vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood clotting. It also promotes healthy bacteria within the large intestine, which can help with bloating.
Look out for seasonal raspberries and strawberries from Ardleigh and Fiveways that give a real sense that summer is on it’s way. Try simple strawberries and cream, which is delicious on it’s own, or make a refreshing fruit salad by adding raspberries, chopped melon, sliced banana and anything else you fancy.
A nice glass of something is always welcome during the summer, especially if you are sitting outside in the garden enjoying the sunshine with family or friends. We stock selections of beers and ales from five local breweries, wines from New Hall, Tuffon Hall, Giffords and Toppesfield Vineyard and have an great selection of local gins, which are of course hugely popular at the moment.
Speaking of summer and the delights of outdoor dining and entertaining brings us to the subject of the Great British Barbeque. Look out for our next Food Hall blog where we will reveal some of Mandy’s favourite barbecue recipes and may even show some of Matt cooking in their garden!
Don’t forget that there’s lots more to see now we have all this extra space, including an even wider selection of local cheeses and charcuteries as well as freshly cut flowers from local growers.
We look forward to welcoming you when you visit us.