Two wonderful events made for a fun and lively ‘Grow-Your-Own’ weekend! The Manx Food and Drink Festival took place over both Saturday and Sunday, with me coordinating and manning the ‘Allotment Forum’ stand. Then quite last minute I found out that the Eastern Young Farmers Club were holding their annual Craft and Produce Show on one of the same days. It’s been at the back of my mind to enter it this year but I had no idea when and where it would take place until about a week ago.

A friend just gave me one of the best presents ever – a traditional Manx mixing bowl. In the past, every household on the Isle of Man had a bowl that looked pretty much like this one. What a truly wonderful gift and I’m really looking forward to using it to make a fresh batch of bread tomorrow. I’m also making a couple of things to enter into the Eastern Young Farmer’s Show on Saturday and I suspect that this bowl is just the lucky charm to help me scoop

I’ve just finished re-reading one of my favourite novels of all time – The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. It was a different experience this time since my knowledge of plants, flowers and herbal medicine has increased dramatically in the twenty-some years since reading it the first time. But I smile to think that if it weren’t for this book, it would have taken years for me to discover an interest in herbal medicine and foraging for wild food. At the same time I cringe at some

How to forage for and dry fruity Rose-hips It’s that time of year again and the hedgerows are heaving with fruit. But with most people intent on collecting juicy blackberries, the vibrantly coloured and perhaps mystifying rose-hip is often overlooked. Rose-hips are the fruit of the rose bush and in the summer are found as a swollen green part of the stem just underneath the flower. Every rose left uncut will eventually produce a hip but some will appear in the summer and others later in the autumn depending on species.

Just a quick note but I wanted to share a photo and my excitement at my first Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli of 2011! Last year the birds and other beasties made short work of my plants before they could produce so I’m really chuffed to see those little violet sprouts. I can’t wait to collect these spears over the weekend and serve them up with our Sunday roast. Yum!

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