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Country Living (UK) - - The Good Life -

IF YOU’RE LOOK­ING FOR A COURSE IN A BU­COLIC SET­TING, you’ll find it hard to top the River­ford Field Kitchen in south Devon. Down the road from Totnes, it’s sur­rounded on all sides by glo­ri­ous hills and the ploughed fields that sup­ply the River­ford or­ganic veg­etable box scheme. It’s the kind of scenery that in­spires you to make the most of na­ture’s bounty – which was ex­actly what I was there to do. Hav­ing col­lected boxes of the first cur­rants and berries of the year, grown just a few fields away, my fel­low course at­ten­dees and I took our places be­hind our own gas hobs. Un­der the watch­ful eye of Pam ‘the jam’ Corbin, who was pre­vi­ously the pre­serves ex­pert at River Cot­tage, and fel­low course leader Liz Neville, it wasn’t long be­fore our bub­bling jam pans were send­ing aro­matic steam swirling to­wards the rafters. Dur­ing the day we tack­led jellies, jams and cor­dials, both the tra­di­tional and re­duced sugar ver­sions, made from straw­ber­ries, black­ber­ries and rasp­ber­ries, tak­ing a break in the mid­dle for a de­li­cious or­ganic lunch. By home­time, we all had stained fin­gers, heads full of prac­ti­cal tips and more jars than we could carry.

One day, 9.30am-3pm, £110, River­ford Field Kitchen, Wash Barn, Buck­fastleigh, Devon (field­kitchen.river­ford.co.uk).


FOR ARTISAN JAM The Old Smithy, Oakham, Rut­land; from £85 for one day (rosiemakes­jam.com). As part of a small class, you’ll turn an as­sort­ment of fresh fruit into de­li­cious jam. There’s a tasty lunch made with lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents, too.

FOR ALL THE FAM­ILY West Craigie Farm, South Queens­ferry; Kids Fun Class, £10 (crai­gies.co.uk). Fol­low­ing a trac­tor tour to hand-pick their fruit, chil­dren will re­turn to the Sin­clairs’ farm to make a jar of jam to take away.

FOR A TASTE OF SUM­MER The School of Artisan Food, Wel­beck, Not­ting­hamshire; from £165 for one day (schoolo­far­ti­san­food.org). Make a num­ber of tasty treats, from apri­cot and amaretto jam to chilli tomato chut­ney.

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