As we approach the longest day of the year the summer sun finally feels like it has arrived – bringing the growing season in Lancashire into full swing.
At this time of year the hedgerows are becoming full of flowers that can be used for teas, cordials and home brewing. A variety of local and seasonal crops are also available, including chard, asparagus, rhubarb, rocket and a mixture of other salad leaves and herbs. To find out what is available when you can download your own seasonal food calendar for Lancaster from the LESS blog: www.foodfutures.org.uk.
So where can you access the abundance of local and seasonal produce?
Well there are a variety of answers to this question: from browsing the hedgerows with an experienced forager, to helping out at Claver Hill community food project or buying from a local food business that sources from local food producers. To help you navigate the options for accessing local food locally you can view LESS’s online local food directory: www.lessuk.org/directory.php You can use this to find information about food, drink and seeds produced in and around Lancaster. It also highlights restaurants that actively try and source some of their produce locally. Single Step wholefood cooperative’s staff are also a great source of information.
LESS’s Midsummer market on Friday 15th June in Lancaster’s central Market square will also showcase a number of local food producers and community projects, giving you the perfect opportunity to meet local growers and find out about our bubbling local food scene. Confirmed stalls at the moment include Claver Hill Community Food Project, Cockerham Boers, The Fig Tree, Billy’s Eggs, Doormouse Cheeses, the Woodland Trust, Sicily Gusto, River Village Foods, Lancaster Sewing Café and Bee Inspired Flowers. The Average Cabbage will also bring herbs and vegetable seedlings to support those who have had a late start to the growing season and I will be available to answer foodie questions.
The Midsummer Market is part of LESS’s seasonal food markets which aim to showcase small local producers and community groups whilst celebrating the changing seasons and the variety of produce they bring.
Growing and buying seasonal local food is all well and good, but knowing how to cook with seasonal produce from scratch is another task. To help inspire ideas, I will be handing our Midsummer recipes at the Midsummer Market and we have listed our favourite seasonal recipes on the LESS blog. See www.foodfutures.org.uk/category/local-food-recipes/
At the moment I really love stir fried chard leaves with loads of garlic and a variety of beans.