Monday, 24 July 2017

Peas, Beans and Muddy Boys

My mum called early yesterday morning waking me up, and asked if I wanted to go to a boot fair with her and my dad. I was up like a shot and asked the boys if they wanted to come too, thinking the walking around and fresh air would get the “I’m boooored” out of them for the rest of the day. We drove half an hour to find that the enormous Dunton boot fair was shut, so we travelled further out to Orsett, where we found a small market with two rows.  We ended up buying a wooden stationary organiser for me and a big bag load of new toys, thanks to Little Man’s persistence and persuasion.

It was still barely 9am, so my dad suggested we go somewhere else as the boys were with us.  He ended up driving all the way across the river into Kent and surprised us by taking us to Hewitt’s Pick Your Own Farm.  My mum had been dropping hints about the peas and beans being in season, so he thought he would take us to see what was on offer.

We have been going to Hewitt’s a few times a year since I was a child.  We have so many happy memories and have enjoyed taking our children there as well (here and here).  On this occasion it was very quiet and the fields were sitting empty.  We started at the plum orchards and found most of the fruit still a bit green and hard and not quite ready to pick. 

We moved on to the pea fields which were full of plants loaded down with fat, ripe pea pods.  We got our shoes an the bottom of our trousers covered in mud to our fairly quickly, probably not the best place to wear an abaya that is a bit too late.  The boys were guided by my mum to pick the best ones: fat hard pods, not too soft as they will be empty, not too yellow as they will be over-ripe and not taste as sweet.  We both filled bags to take home, some to eat and the rest to freeze.



















Next door was the broad bean field, mum bypassed it saying they were not her favourite.  The next field along was French beans which are her favourite and which she picked enough to freeze and cook for most of the year.  I was going to bother, but she told me to get picking.  The plants absolutely full and it didn’t take long for me to get a small bag full.  My mum in law will cut these up for me to freeze and we will cook them with chicken, minced lamb or courgette and bell peppers.









We walked past fields that have been cordoned off because they were not ready to pick yet, the sweetcorn crop looked beautifully deep green and dense, but wont’ be ready for another month or two.




It was lovely walking through the shade of the orchards with the cool morning breeze.  The apples and pears have some time to go before they are ripe, but for some reason one end of the plum orchard had a row of trees where the fruit had ripened and was falling off, maybe it caught the sun a bit more at that end.  We picked a few handfuls, they were so ripe that you barely had to touch and they came away in your hand.






We sauntered back to the little shop at the entrance of the farm to pay for our vegetables and fruit, stopping for a photoshoot with the boys on the way.  More visitors were just starting to turn up as we were leaving (about 11am).


We bought some big strawberries from the farm shop along with what we had picked.  The kind lady in the shop gave my boys some tubs of raspberries for free.  I asked her about some fresh apple juice in her shop and she explained it was made locally with a variety that was made from sour apples, one that was mad from very sweet apples and one that was made from a mixture of apples to give a balanced taste.  I ended up buying a bottle of the mixed apple juice to try and look forward to testing it.






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