Two footsore travelling showmen called in at Low Sizergh Barn last month on their month long tramp through the South Lakes, performing puppetry, stories and songs at sites along the way. Their show, Vagabonding, was inspired by puppeteer Walter Wilkinson who walked and performed his way around the UK in the 1920s and 1930s. I…

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Looking around the orchard after the strong winds this week it’s striking how much fruit the apple trees have set. The tremendous blossoms of April have became the copious fruitlets of May. It’s time to thin, or in September we will be disappointed with our apples, and that’s a tragic prospect.

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The news from north Cumbria that cows in an Eden dairy herd were infected with bovine TB was a blow. This is the first sign of it in the county. Badgers spread bovine TB and there’s been a great deal of controversy nationally about how to prevent further infection in the UK. The government has…

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Askham Bryan College in Yorkshire has been appointed to run courses at the well-loved Cumbrian agricultural college, Newton Rigg. Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders is seeking 6000 names on a petition for the college to remain a resource for agriculture in Cumbria. Not that there’s a lack of faith in the Yorkshire…

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Today, March 8th is International Women’s Day, and I wish I could get to the Reading Museum of English Rural Life where the curator of the current exhibition — Land Ladies: Women and Farming in England 1900-1945 — is due to talk about the many different ways women have been active in food production: “Women have…

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At the Watermill, Little Salkeld, yesterday, a few of us from Low Sizergh Barn learned about grains, blends of flour and the pleasure of bread baking. We met the miller, dusty with flour, listened to the huge stones grinding the biodynamic grains that come from English farms, and marvelled at old machinery. It was technology…

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The global price of cereals has shot up and we’re changing afternoon milking time to 3.15pm. What’s the story, what’s the connection? India and China buy a large proportion of the world’s supply of grain now, which means there is less on the world market. Grains are being grown to produce bio-ethanol, a renewable energy…

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I am a member of the Real Bread Campaign, which doesn’t need a lot of explaining. This week I received from them some bright yellow stickers printed: ” WARNING!!! This bread may be made using the following: …” list of scary words follows … “amylase, hemicellulase, phospholipase… the law says bakers don’t need to declare…

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Richard’s going to be on TV — Lakes on a Plate, Frday 24th Sept 2.00pm on Channel 4. Peter Sidwell is a cafe owner and chef from Keswick. His series has been a great promotion for many Cumbrian farmers and growers, producers and makers. From Yew Tree Farm’s Herdwick lamb to Little Salkeld Watermill flour…

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There was a change from the usual routine this morning when we were filmed for a new TV series: The Lakes On A Plate. Peter Sidwell, chef owner from Keswick’s Simply Good Taste Cafe and Cookery School is going to be cooking with produce he is shown collecting around the county. He promises “some amazing…

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