Posted by: hencorner | July 24, 2015

Explore or Ignore?

The Urban Food Awards are open – If you’ve ever tasted our honey, and think it’s heavenly, please do nominate us!

Our address is Hen Corner, Brentford and email is Life@HenCorner.com

If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?’*
*John Cleese

Graig Farm ChickenThat quote is a little provocative, I know, but understanding and appreciation the connection between the meat on our plates and the animals in the fields is just one part of the maze of food ethics that we try to tiptoe through here at Hen Corner. To be honest, it was asking the first difficult questions about the food that we were eating that kick-started our journey towards urban self-sufficiency and whilst we will never be able to grow all of our own food from our end of terrace back garden there is a whole list of food that we don’t buy any more as we are producing it ourselves.

For those of you who have been on our courses, or visited with a school group, you will have heard our story that began with me feeding my eldest son his first spoons of mushy food when he was a baby. What was in it? Where did the carrots grow? What chemicals were in it? What about the cheese? What is even in cheese? These questions were the first in a complex myriad that uncovered many issues that included organic v’s pesticides, fair trade for international goods, the plight of the British dairy farmers, air freighted beans, plastic clad fruit, animal welfare, intensive farming and the risks facing honey bees that are transported up and down the states of America to pollinate their almond groves… many of these issues I have written about before.

But for each of these challenges that are interwoven into our daily food choices we need to make decisions to either explore the consequences or bury our heads in the sand and ignore them.

Graig Farm selectionOur decision was that we would try to source our food as ethically as possible and to offset the cost, and help us in the appreciation of all the hard work that our farmers do, try to grow as much of our own as possible. Whilst we’ve been learning new skills, we love to pass them on to others so if you would like to try your hand to producing your own food, come on our Day at Hen Corner course on 4th September.

The list of food that we produce ourselves includes eggs, cider, fruit, vegetables, honey, jam and preserves, and while we haven’t really got the space for large animals that would put meat on the table, we did have a share in a pig once, but fortunately she was kept in a friend’s garden…

Graig Farm Pork FilletSo when Graig Farm Organics contacted us asking us to review their lovely produce we were delighted! From browsing their produce online, through easy ordering and reliable delivery we choose a selection of meat that arrived chilled and fish that arrived frozen (even though it was the hottest day of the decade) and enjoyed every mouthful.

Our first meal was the pork fillet tenderloin, which we griddled whole and served with new potatoes in herb oil and fennel & chilli salad.

Next it was steak night – lamb for me and the boys and salmon for our pescatarian daughter (jolly proud of her food ethics!).

The weekend found us slow roasting a whole chicken, see above, and we are still to look forward to the beef joint and smoked salmon.

The box cost just over £50 and contained 20 generous servings of organic meat and fish. It was a lovely treat and is well worth trying for yourself – it’s good to find someone you can trust to bring you the best food for you and your family.

A day at HencornerComing up at the Corner…

We have so much coming up throughout the summer that we’ve produced our own Summer School Timetable!

11 different classes that each help us grow in our skills and understanding of Urban Food Production. If you can’t decide which session to book into, choose your first class and I’ll give you 20% of all other Summer School bookings, just let me know via our contact form.

Don’t forget our Day at Hen Corner course on Friday 4th September where you can try your hand at bread making, chicken keeping and bee keeping – key steps towards producing your own food, with home-made organic refreshments and lunch.

Other News:

  • The Urban Food Awards are open – If you’ve ever tasted our honey, and think it’s heavenly, please do nominate us! Our address is Hen Corner, Brentford and email is Life@HenCorner.com
  • We are proud again this year to be working with The Challenge National Citizen Service, it was a wonderful experience being a Dragon and deciding how much money we should invest into their campaigns
  • We have run 3 courses in how to make Scones and Jam recently and I’m all strawberried out! Fortunately the jam keeps for years and will be a lovely taste of summer in the dark days of winter

Jobs for this week:

  • Make some fruity buns to pack up for a camping trip
  • Put the final vegetable plants in the raised beds so that they can stretch their roots
  • Keep an eye on the chickens’ drinking water as they get through a lot in this warm weather

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

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Responses

  1. I am currently living in an apartment with just communal, estate-managed outside space, but am longing to get back into a house with land, and reading your blog just reminds me even more how important to me both enjoyment-wise and from a healthy living point-of-view gardening and growing your own is. Amazing post and thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Kevin, there’s still lots that can be done towards urban self sufficiency even without land. Have you tried baking your own bread, making jam or joining your local bee keeping association?


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