So, it’s summer! It doesn’t always feel like it right now, but just by going to the supermarket or local markets we can tell it is by the fruit and yummy goodies on offer. I decided to celebrate this wondrous season by attending ‘Fruitcamp’ a few weeks ago. This was organised by the School of Food at Manor House Farm, a cherry farm in Kent.
Unfortunately I arrived a little late as I’d been a bit poorly all week and found getting up at the crack of dawn very hard, but I arrived in time to join in the tour of the farm and the picking of cherries, and we filled a rather large bag. More were picked, but were consumed before they made the bag – they were just too good!
We split into different groups – my group were shown how to make jam before lunch and were given lots of information about jam making. After lunch, we were shown how the Farm makes apple juice (which is an incredibly labour intensive process, but which produced delicious juice) and then we had a baking masterclass, where we made a clafoutis, a cherry and frangipan tart and finally a cherry cake.
The day was fabulous, demonstrating the versatility of the humble cherry. We all left very inspired and with lots of yummy goodies and I made some cherry brandy when I got home. It’s currently sitting in my cupboard and I’m looking forward to tucking in when the winter nights draw in!
If you have a few spare hours in the next few weeks, I suggest finding a pick your own farm, and turning your fruit into jams and chutneys to remind you of this wonderful season in mid-winter.
If you’re interested in attending another Fruitcamp day, or would like more information on the courses which Alistair offers at the School of Food, then check out his website http://www.cookeryschool.com/