Asparagus is in season, so Bill’s been baking these asparagus tarts. Of course, it’s possible to get asparagus all year round from the supermarket but using ingredients air-freighted from Peru doesn’t seem right. Worcestershire seems more reasonable. Disturbingly, there was an article in the paper the other week suggesting the whole ‘food miles’ concept was flawed and it might be better (for the environment) to source some stuff from the other side of the world. Too complicated to unpick that one. Anyway, the tarts taste good and are selling well. Bill alternates the asparagus with ones with tomato, Dijon mustard and Gruyère cheese - we’re all Europeans in Yorkshire of course.
We spent time on our day off renewing our hanging baskets and planters. The raised bed is coming along well. The grapevine we put in the middle planter survived our terrible winter but succumbed to a late frost. We bought two more to replace it and hope these will do better. The one on the left is a Brandt and the one on the right a Black Hamburg. The latter had been renamed a ‘Black Humbug’ on the label so we’ll watch with interest to see if we get any stripey fruit at the end of the summer. Bill’s fantasy is that customers will, eventually, be able to enjoy their drinks shaded under a canopy of vine leaves. We’ll have to see just how much sunshine we get this summer.
We’re using a large (2 feet tall) handmade thumb pot to grow sunflowers from seed again. The pot was given to Bill 25 years ago as a leaving present. It’s followed us round our various homes since then. The sunflowers did well last year. We’ll see what this summer brings.
The wildflower meadow immediately in front of the school playground is looking good. It was established by the school children and has since been maintained by the Steam Railway’s volunteer gardeners, alongside their more formal gardens. The volunteers are amazingly dedicated; here in all weathers, travelling up from as far afield as Lincolnshire and all for the whiff of coal smoke and the hiss of steam.