Get ready for Autumn – with some of the worst heat waves behind us, and we are almost relieved to see Summer end. Britain has some of the best farming traditions and harvest festivals, and now is the time to start planning which one to visit.
City dwellers tend to forget that England was, and still is, a vibrant agrarian society with some of the richest traditions in the world. Now is the time when we harvest, work hard but also try to wind down the farming year and try to relax and enjoy the seasonal bounty.
It’s also a time when tea gets spicier, the evenings more dramatic and romantic, we turn to fireplaces and want to snuggle in a warm shawl with a cup of something strong in hand.
Farming safety specialist Joanna from Chichester swears by a “fireplace in a cosy pub, mulled wine and a venison burger after a wet and windy walk”. Take it from a country girl!
We have tips on how to enjoy the outdoors, now that the days are shorter and your trip might require a scarf and a pair of wellies.
UK Farm and Harvest Festivals
There are so many harvest and Autumn-centric festivals to choose from!
- RHS Harvest Festival, October 2019 – If you want to see some of the most amazing seasonal produce and take it home with you, this is the place to be. You can see award-winning vegetables and more varieties of pumpkins you can imagine! It’s worth a trip! Bring a produce bag and leave happy.
- Malton Harvest Food Festival, Yorkshire, 7th and 8th September – If that venison burger has caught your attention and you’d like to get your hands on some wild game, this is a great place to do so. If you are a vegetarian, seasonal fruits and vegetables should keep you more than full!
- Daylesford Harvest Festival, 21st September – Foraging is a vital part of country life. Throughout history, foraging the hedgerows and woods around your house was a must. Now, foraging is making a comeback, and this Kingham festival features foraging tours where you can learn about it yourself. Paired with craft demonstrations, folks who have a keen interest in history shouldn’t miss this festival.
- Apple Harvest in Brockhampton, Herefordshire – All October – Make an appointment with the nationaltrust.org.uk, and come and pick your apples. Whether you are picking them for cider, vinegar, pie or just to munch on, this is a great way to get in touch with the outdoors and farming life. This is a great way to enjoy family time and show your kids how to harvest. The price is 1 GBP per 6 apples. Booking is not needed, but admission appl(i)es. (We couldn’t help ourselves!)
Greenhouse and Garden
If you have a small garden, or even a patio or balcony, it’s time to welcome Autumn and make some changes. Spring is famous (or infamous) for cleaning, but Autumn should also be an essential time to take stock of things that are going on in your greenhouse or garden.
Some tips from the professionals, Greenhouse Stores, will come especially handy when preparing your greenhouse for the Autumn and Winter. Their gardening expert, John Harrison, has some useful tips for some Autumn gardening jobs:
- Lawn Care – this is the time to make your lawn healthy again – after all the grilling, the running around and parties, kids and lounging about. This is the perfect time to spike your lawn and to make it ready for rain.
- Prepare compost and manure for digging over vegetable plots. Soon, when all the pumpkins, tomatoes and courgettes are gone, you will need to double dig your vegetable plots with some serious organic material.
- Secure your compost heap – you don’t want it to become over-wetting when the heavy rains start. It’s a good idea to turn them over and cover them with tarpaulin.
- Help the hedgehogs – this means leaving piles of leaves, sticks, or cut grass in the corner of your garden. Somewhere where our hedgehog friends can hibernate for the winter.
- Scrub off shade paint from your greenhouse. It will help to keep the plants still growing happy with additional sunlight.
- Organize your plastic and clay growing pots for the next season. We know you’ve meant to get to it.
- Cover your pond with netting – ’tis the season for falling leaves. It will help you keep your pond tidy.
Best Autumn Recipes
Enjoy the fruits of your (or someone else’s) labour – Autumn is the best place to learn how to bake something new and enjoy it with friends. If you go to any harvest festival and come back with more produce you know what to do with, here are some ideas:
Jams and Jellies
- Apple and mint jelly
- Plum jam
- Cinnamon applesauce
- Traditional sloe gin
- Raspberry cordial
- Homemade apple cider
Pies, Tarts, and Cakes
- Pumpkin tart
- Caramel apples
- Apple tart
- Apple crisp muffins
- Pumpkin bread
- Sweet potato pie
No need to panic yet – but it’s time to start planning all the things to see and do when the Summer is over. With so many choices, it’s unlikely that you’re going to stay indoors, even if the weather isn’t ideal.
Join us for local harvest festivals, or invite us over for dessert after a day out in the garden!