As we head in to the middle of summer, I’m reminded how the delights are in the seasons and what they bring us. A visit to Barnard Castle Farmers Market in August presents an abundance of seasonal produce. The kitchen is often described as the centre of the house, now all to often (weather permitting) we take the kitchen into the garden by way of the barbecue, often becoming a social gathering for friends and family. Although some might view this as a recipe for the burnt and under cooked, there are many great barbecue dishes that make a visit to the farmers market well worthwhile. From pigeon to pork from trout to tagine sauce, there’s a feast of mouth-watering barbecue ideas just waiting to be discovered.
We’re also fortunate for a town of Barnard Castle’s size to host a market with such diversity of flavours and produce. Having such extreme freshness and lavishness of local, northern ingredients means we can eat and drink as well as anywhere in the world. Elizabeth David in her book, Italian Food’ talks about how Italian food can ‘scarcely fail to charm in the shape of green peas of the Veneto and marbled stuffings of rolled beef and the spinach gnocchi of Tuscany. In retort may I propose the local organic spinach from Richmond-North Yorkshire, or perhaps the fine cuts of Dexter Beef, (fed on a diet of herb-rich pasture ) from Deer-n-Dexter on the Cumbrian Fells. Along with seasonal jams, vegetables, cordials and game to inspire you, there’s also the confidence knowing all produce has been locally and lovingly produced.
More than anything summer is about great taste. Winter Tarn, one of our excellent Cumbrian traders has recently had their Salted Butter voted one of the top 50 products in Britain today. The coveted 3 stars Gold from the Great Taste Awards 2012 is one of the most sort after foodie accolades in the country. Great Taste is the biggest independent benchmarking scheme for local, regional and specialty foods in Britain and has been since 1994. Over 350 professional foodies are brought together each year to take part in 45 days of judging, deciding which foods deserve one-star, two-star or the ultimate three-star awards.
Winter Tarn’s butter is hand made using pasteurised cream and salt, lovingly wrapped by producers Jeremy and Trisha Jackson, and now one of the top 50 proven fine foods in Britain. I’m sure even Elizabeth David would have approved.
Let’s hear it for some basket dangling from the arm gathering of fresh, summer-season, produce this weekend.