Daylesford Organic Summer Festival

Daylesford Organic’s Summer Festival was a celebration of many things, but perhaps first and foremost a lesson in how to respect, appreciate and enjoy our countryside and all that it has to offer.

I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in three events throughout the day. The first was our latest installment of Daylesford Discusses, and on this occasion our topic was bees – their importance and plight, what’s being done, and what we can each do. If you’ve yet to consider the bees I urge you to watch this comprehensive Ted Talk by Marla Spivak. I was joined by Tim Field, founder of Agricology, nutritionist Rhaya Jordan, and local bee-keeper Gordon Bull. The long and short of it: choose organic where we can as herbicides and pesticides are damaging ecosystems in ways we are only just beginning to understand... and support natural biodiversity by choosing a locally grown, seasonal and, perhaps most importantly, varied diet, as monocultures are a great threat to the welfare of the bees. 

The second event was an absolutely brilliant Masterchef cook-off with recant star Giovanna Ryan. We were faced with an assortment of mystery ingredients and 20 minutes on the clock… Unsurprisingly, I rustled up a vegcentric dish – ‘carrots & curd’. I blanched some beautiful heritage carrots and caramelised them with Daylesford's honey; folded soft curd cheese through kefir (a hero ingredient of mine, more on that in a bit!); and made a green sauce with the carrot tops and Cult Ceramics live vinegar. I then garnished with some pumpkin seed which I toasted with a little miso for a welcome crunch and umami note. It wasn’t too shabby… but in fairness, the quality of Daylesford’s ingredients did the hard work! Grab the recipe here. Giovanna made some knock-out smoked mackerel pate crostini with pickled cucumber and fennel. Both went down very well.

Finally, I was THRILLED to host a sauerkraut workshop with Rhaya Jordan, providing the ‘how-to’ to her ‘why’. Rhaya’s knowledge and passion for nutrition is very inspiring. 20 happy festival-goers made their way home that day with a Kilner of kraut, (which may/may not have been on the saltier side… the dangers of doing it by eye and talking as you go!). Typically, the dry-salt method calls for 2% of the weight of shredded vegetables.

Other highlights: seeing the launch of Dash Water (sparkling spring water infused with wonky fruit and veg – hello!), strolling through the Market Garden (heaven on earth), and some quite exceptional Morris dancing (...complete with cheese hats!). What a day.

Join us for the Harvest Festival in September.