Tag Archives: St Werburgh’s

Harvest supper with Grofun

Grofun - 12.7.09

Sunday 6pm. Everything in the picture was grown on our community allotment: the beetroot, turned into slivered (use a potato peeler) salad, and the spiced Mumbai potatoes, both decorated with courgette flowers, and the green beans in their bag – all on the table in the evening sun, waiting to be eaten.

We have GROFUN, Growing Real Organic Food in Urban Neighbourhoods, to thank for this miracle.

Nadia Hillman, GROFUN’s 33 year-old Bristol-based founder, was on BBC’s Gardening World at Easter helping Birmingham set up a similar scheme.

Is your garden overgrown? Would you like help getting it fit to grow organic vegetables?

GROFUN volunteers pitch in and in return for their impressive labour they get reciprocal gardening-help either in their own garden or at the community allotment in St Werburgh’s, Bristol.

We are learning how to grow. And everyone involved gets invited to the harvest meals.

“The best thing for me is the connecting of people” says Nadia.

We sat around the fire into the evening. Mel played a haunting song on the guitar.

It sounds a moment of peace. And it was.

Amazing asparagus


I had never tasted asparagus so tender and young before. Out of this world.

Asparagus in the UK has a short season from May to mid-June.

Well, it used to.  The season now starts  in April in the UK. When a fellow food blogger bought hers last week, I was surprised – that’s climate change for you.

In supermarket-land, they appear all year long, spears the regulation length, lined up in rows in small plastic boxes. They look pretty – and are pretty tasteless.

The supermarkets now race to get seasonal British-born asparagus on their shelves.

Waitrose failed the test yesterday according to my mum, the queen of real food lovers. Shocked by its offering of Peruvian asparagus, my 80+ mum made a special trip to Marks & Spencers for the British kind. (Reader, thus is my provenance).

It’s not that I am jingo-istic, set against Johnnie-foreigner.

Nooooo, hardly. a) I believe in a world without borders b) I am of foreign-blood myself.

My love of seasonal stems from common sense. Eating food grown as near to where I live tastes fresher. Looking at the bigger picture, my spears’  journey-to-market is less polluting too.

My asparagus came 10 minutes away by foot thanks to the local organic grower setting up stall in the self-build eco-houses at St. Werburgh’s every Thursday afternoon until 6.30pm.

Mike is going to check the name of the grower for us next week. We hope to find out more how it was grown, as growing it organically is supposed to be hard.

He barely steamed the young spears then latticed them over fried brown rice, chilli and mushrooms (above).

We love brown rice but let’s face it, that’s hardly local.

So, Little Englander or bigger picture and more taste? Why do you like local food?

Stop press: Wrington Greens sell their fresh organic veg every Thursday 4.30-6.30pm at the Self-Build homes at Ashley Vale, St. Werburgh’s – please buy if you like to be wowed…