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Wood fired Feasts, artichokes and more.

The beginning of a New Year is a great time for reflection about what went well and what went not so well.

Following the success of our three Feasts last year, we are planning eight to 10 Feasts in 2024. Several will be indoor at The Voting Tree, Bere Alston which is proving a really popular venue and a nice surprise to those who don't know it. We'll have our simple suppers concept in Spring and Autumn and a special Christmas Feast again.

And then we're aiming for two bigger outdoor wood fired oven/grill Feasts at our new Summer venue, Rumleigh Farm on the Bere Peninsula. We are so excited to be cooking at at Rumleigh, which is such a beautiful venue with rolling pasture down to the River Tamar. The owners' own rare breed sheep, goats and honey will all feature in menus. I am really happy to be 'putting our food where our mouth is', trying to source as much as we can from the Peninsula and wider Tamar Valley. The Barn pictured below is gorgeous for our sort of social feasting and we have an outdoor wood fired oven and charcoal BBQ to boot.

Everyone who has been to a Feast so far has given such amazing feedback, so thank you for that and we press on with great optimism.

However, this year may be the last roll of the dice for the artichokes. Their profitability was subsidised last year by the production of garlic, courgettes and squash - all of which grew and sold really well. Perhaps my desire for artichokes doesn't match the tastes of the wider population of West Devon, we will see! 2024 sees us enter the third year of production and as the plants mature, our 2,000 heads should be achieved. We will also continue our 'Meet the grower' events.

In Autumn 2023, as part of our annual cycle, I cut all the plants down to ground level and banked them up by hand, about two days' work. The year before, I was a little late and we lost some plants to the harsh frost. Last year, I felt so proud we had got ahead and put them to bed in good time. Then the Indian Summer returned and in late Autumn, instead of things cooling down, it just got warmer and warmer. Of course my dear artichokes thought it was Spring and up they came! They are currently about 3 ft tall, where we would expect them to be normally in April! I haven't got the energy or heart to hack them down again, so I just hope we have a mild end to winter and the benefit of an early crop.

If you have a special event in 2024 that you would like me to cater for, we can of course do that in your own home - or you can book us and The Voting Tree for a special occasion. This will give you more options on menus and spare you the washing up. Hire prices for the venue are very reasonable and the room can accommodate up to about 28 people. I can design a menu to your specific needs and budget. So, if it's a birthday, office outing, small wedding or another celebration you're planning, do bear us in mind.

Dates so far for this year:

Saturday 23 March: Simple Inspired Italian Supper at The Voting Tree. SOLD OUT, please get in touch to go on the wait list

Saturday 27 April: Spring Feast at The Voting Tree: due to cancellations, two tickets have become available again

Sunday 23 June (lunchtime): Wood fired Feast at Rumleigh Farm. Tickets available.

We hope to see you soon!

Below are some pictures of Rumleigh... and food, of course!

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