More people are turning to growing their own food, from pots of herbs to rows of vegetables, and communities are coming together to create shared growing spaces for all to enjoy. It can be a hugely rewarding process and by being a part of a community of growers, you can share the responsibly and duties in order to maintain and care for the gardens. This is a great option if you are short on time or if you are new to the green-fingered way of life.
If growing your own is not possible, you can support local producers by making an effort to buy from local farm shops, markets or use local food delivery services. This means you can enjoy fresher, more flavoursome and nutritious ingredients, help to reduce CO2 emissions, and avoid paying a premium for well-travelled fruit and vegetables.
At the Montagu Arms our ethos is to support local suppliers and producers, and to grow as much of our own produce as possible, not just to support the local economy and the environment, but its superior quality too.
Seasonal produce can grow naturally and therefore requires less human interference which is best for the environment and our health, allowing us to avoid the use of pesticides, chemicals and preservatives to assist in the growth and transport of food being forced to grow outside of its natural season.
Not only is the flavour of freshly picked seasonal ingredients unbeatable but eating seasonal fruit and vegetables has an impact on our health too. Seasonal produce is more nutritious because it is left to fully develop until picked, allowing optimum growth and maximum sun exposure for the development of key nutrients.
With all the wonderful reasons to choose seasonal eating in mind, we caught up with Gardner, Barry, here at our New Forest Hotel, to discuss this seasons’ offerings and to find out what we could be planting now for later in the year.
“Some of the best crops to plant now are the salad crops, like lettuce, rocket, cucumbers and various tomatoes. Other vegetables like carrots, beetroot, radish, parsnips can be sown direct in the soil in prepared seed drills and regularly watered in dry weather.
Leeks, various kale and winter cabbage can be sown soon, ready to harvest from late autumn onwards.
At the moment we are hardening off various plants inside, ready to plant out next month. In the garden at the present time though, we are picking succulent kale, artichokes, spinach, leeks, beetroot, asparagus and rhubarb for the Terrace kitchen.
Yes indeed, we are awaiting the return of the regular resident House Martins which nest around the hotel and bring us much joy. This year we are lucky to have a pair of Blackcaps nesting in the garden and often hear their beautiful bird song.”
Our menu changes with the seasons; elegant dishes influenced by produce gathered from the surrounding coast and countryside, and plucked by our own kitchen gardener. Why not book a table and try it for yourself?
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