Pioneering farmers Peter and Andrew Fairs, of Great Tey in Essex, have successfully grown the first ever crop of British chia. These tiny oil-rich seeds represent another step in Hodmedod's mission to increase the diversity of both British farming and British diets.
After a global search for seed, a couple of years of trials (and several months working out how to flake and mill it) we’ve finally welcomed organic naked barley into the Bean Store.
We've been privileged to work with Essex quinoa pioneer Peter Fairs over the last few years to develop supply of some of the very first British-grown Quinoa. As drilling of this year's crop approaches we've been getting nostalgic re-reading this article by journalist Craig McLean on the launch of our first trial batch in 2014.
Four or five years ago, when Nick, William and I were all working for East Anglia Food Link and developing the Norwich Resilient Food Project with Transition City Norwich, we talked a lot about lentils. We were thinking about what a more sustainable diet might look like for the city of Norwich; what would people eat if they were more reliant on local production? How would farming have to change? It seemed to us that lentils could be part of the answer.
Last autumn Christine Smallwood, good friend of Hodmedod and a writer with a passion for Italian food, sent me a small packet of Cicerchia (Lathyrus sativus also called 'grass pea') to try cooking with.
William is making regular checks on the organic quinoa being grown for Hodmedod on the sandy soil of south east Suffolk. We thought you might be interested (amazed even) to see just how quickly the quinoa grows at this time of year. I've stitched together two photos taken from the same viewpoint a fortnight apart - the difference is impressive.