Hoorah, home from holidays and picked our first cucumbers and tomatoes today, thanks to Julie, my good friend from round the corner who watered everything in our absence. The essential quality of a gardening friend is that they should enjoy eating sufficiently to keep everything producing, so there is still plenty to harvest on our return. Courgettes, runner beans and french beans were plentiful and I'm delighted to find my butternut squashes thriving after feeding them horse manure before we left. Lots of weeds, naturally, which I'll sort out later this week.
We've been in Devon, where it has rained every single day of our holiday, but still we had a great time and lots of good local foods. Staying near Totnes, we found huge choice in the town of small independent shops selling locally sourced veg and organic produce. We've brought home beautiful cheeses from Sharpham Dairy and local dry cured bacon. Fab Totnes traditional english sausages from the butcher at the bottom of the high street, where there are also two greengrocers, a fish shop and a baker. Then there was delicious carrot cake and cashew nut banana loaf from the Seeds Bakery,which sustained us through a seven mile walk in the rain; a rich fruit bread from Common Loaf, who have a stall at the Friday market, and at least two other wholefood stores, one at the bottom, one at the top of the high street, plus the Riverford comes to town shop which sells organic fruit and veg and cooked products (their chicken quiche which is prepared on the premises is to die for). Totnes is a centre for alternative lifestyles, but one wonders how they all survive and prosper when the local high streets here in south west London seem unable to sustain traditional independent specialist food stores. Thank goodness for our home grown veg, and the weekly veg box from riverford, which at least brings a little of Devon to my doorstep every week!