This is it! Midsummer’s Day, the longest day of sunlight, the best for growing! No wonder the swallows, martins and swifts make the long journey from Africa in order to feed during daylight hours and breed here. Nature is wonderful.

We visited the Cape of South Africa in March and I was enchanted to see the swallows lining the telephone wires in preparation for their trip here, just as I love to see them on the wires here before their return.

So far this spring, in our garden we’ve been able to enjoy asparagus, spinach, spring onions, chard, courgette, strawberries, garlic and so many herbs. It’s been delicious to add parsley, dill, lovage, chives, coriander and mint to salads and soups and sauces.

The strawberries were the result of my potting up a few hanging baskets in the greenhouse for an early crop, (variety Christine - recommended). My grandson took great delight in helping to pick these and devour as many as he could en route for the kitchen. The flavour was intense and eaten still warm made them even more juicy and such a treat. I’m determined to pot up multiple baskets next year!

When we returned from South Africa, I cut the chives back, quite hard, which always encourages them to restart growing. I’ve been rewarded with an intensity of

sow it, grow it, eat it! by Annette Gibbons

Annette Gibbons OBE is renowned as a champion of local food and whilst supporting Cumbrian farmers and growers, she cultivates her organic vegetable garden on the banks of the Solway Firth

flowers are done, it’s time to make chive and lemon butter for the deep freeze.

I’ve been ‘tickling’ the garlic this month. I think that’s the scientific name for it. Needing to check how the bulbs are fattening up, I tickle away in the soil at the base of the stem to see how they are getting along. I usually end up pulling the whole plant and we’ve eaten them in stir fries. The central stem is green and has a pungent taste, so it’s only the outer leaves that are thrown on the compost heap. I’ve experimented in growing a row of carrots between garlic and red onion this season. I’ll let you know how and if the alliums give some protection against carrot root fly.

Rant Alert!

I’m really fed up seeing the results of huge swathes of chemicals being applied to roadside verges and farm gate entrances. The grass is bright orange and dead. These herbicides are harmful to our own health as well as our wildlife. Is it really necessary to pollute us all in this enlightened age?

colour from the flowers. Not only that but I’ve counted around twenty bees on this same clump at any one time. Chives are feeding bees as well as us. I have a large sea kale adjacent to the chives and the colours and heady honey scent are glorious at this time of year. When the

Rant Over! Enjoy your living garden and its produce

Annette Gibbons Email:

Last issue, I teased of a brand-new Cumbrian ewe’s milk cheese. Readers with long memories and short fuses may have seen the Churchmouse at Barbon, feature on the last two series of More 4 Yorkshire Dales and the Lakes and I’m happy to announce, we will be appearing in the third series due to air on 24th June.

With the first series focusing on our village’s attempts to install Superfast B4RN Broadband and the second series looking at my eldest son’s exploits as Barbon’s youngest ever church bell ringer, the channel this year asked me if I could come up with my own exclusive cheese as they thought this may be of interest to their viewers. This was something I immediately jumped at, as we already have our own unique cheese, Bright Blessed Crest, a soft and creamy sheeps’ milk brie made just for us by the wonderful Appleby Creamery since 2010. I could see a definite gap in the market for a harder, more nutty Cumbrian ewes milk cheese, something more akin to a Spanish Manchego and set about creating this.

Wanting to use and support local talent again, I approached James Hadwin of Mansergh Hall, a sixth-generation sheep farmer who lives in Barbon and farms just a few miles away.


He has a flock of around 170 Frieslands and Lacaunes and supplies this milk to a collective, Sheep’s Milk UK. This way, I could guarantee that I could use a good and regular supply of his ewes’ milk to make our new cheese. I then approached a cheese maker who I had been dealing with since we first opened our doors way back in 2202. Her name is Iona and she owns the Ribblesdale Cheese Company in Hawes. She kindly agreed to produce the new cheese, so we started talking about taste, texture and how I was going to

mature the cheese. After many discussions between the three of us, Iona went away and came up with our first batch of our new cheese which we were all delighted with!

I have now been maturing the cheese in Barbon for the past 12 months and it has been rubbed with Yorkshire rapeseed oil to give it a distinctive, glossy finish. The taste is smooth, nutty and aromatic with a lovely mellow bite and I am beyond delighted with it. We start selling the cheese this month to coincide with the programme going out so, if you’re down our way, feel free to pop in and ask for a free taste, we would be very happy to oblige! And its name you ask? There was only one thing it could ever be called - Baa-Bon!

John Natlacen, Owner

ISSUE 432 | 20 JUNE 2019 | 26

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48