Amelie is one of my favourite films ever. There's two scenes in particular that make my heart sing - the first being the scene where she walks through the station to visit her Dad and goes to give some coins to a homeless guy with a dog and he refuses it with 'sorry madam, I don't work Sundays'. The second scene is where Lucien is holding an endive to his ear to listen to it. There's something about the characters love for the food on his bosses stall that instantly sells them to me and it has always made me want to up sticks and move to Montmartre if that's how they do things there (I never found a Lucien on a recent visit though). But here in Sussex we have a vegetable business that live and breathe the produce they sell. A business that when started were so determined to make it work despite their peers telling them it would never work. A business that work in tune with how nature intended it to be and have strived to make it successful because they believe in their nursery. Meet Barcombe Nurseries.
Adrian was a keen allotment gardener and came across the 10 acre nursery for sale, he took a leap of faith and bought the land, then worked with the Soil Association to convert the land to an organic nursery (not an easy process, I assure you!). 10 years later they are going strong running a veg box scheme that covers Brighton, Lewes and all nearby Sussex. (for their delivery areas see here.)
I believe it's important for us to understand the origins of our food so I wanted to do a photo story here to share with you and I was over the moon when they agreed to give me some time to go along and take some shots. I think it's so easy to just assume things just grow but a team of just ten beaver away to create the crops here - I was blown away by how many polytunnels and glass houses were filled with rows and rows of produce, all lovingly hand tendered.
While wandering around taking photos I met a volunteer that had originally started for placement while studying at Plumpton but he told me he just continued to come back as he loved it so much. I think that's a perfect testament for Barcombe and the people there. As for the vegetables, well - they speak for themselves. I have honestly never enjoyed cooking as much as I have since getting their boxes - every week something comes that inspires me to try new recipes and learn more about the food I'm recieving (see my veg box series here) and the fact I've seen the way it's produced first hand makes what I'm eating even more delicious.
Friends comment on how delicious my vegetables are and I have started to realise it's not just about how you cook them, it's the way they are produced. If you're worried about getting things you don't like in your box, don't be - a quick Google will inspire and you will see the veg in a different light as the tastes and textures are so different to those from a supermarket. But if you really decide you don't want it again, simply tell them and they will tailor your box to your needs. See more on how their box scheme works here.
What's better than knowing all the produce you're eating is seasonal, grown with love and delivered right to your doorstep? I urge you to give them a go for new year.
Formally Emma Gutteridge