John Seymour

Sally Seymour

Anne Seymour

David Sears



Family musings


Having given in to the garden this year, body and soul, I feel duty bound to re-dress my financial contribution loss. Such as it is.
We have always tried to provide as much food from our place as we can, given that we also work at other things, mainly. But my focus this summer is to stuff as many vegetables down my family as I possibly can, and then save some for later.
Being John and Sally Seymour's daughter I might be expected to take to food production and preservation like a fish to water but in years gone by I couldn't have been less interested. If only my father had concentrated his efforts in journalism, or film-making - that would have been cool. But the fame he achieved by writing about eating food we grow was misplaced, I thought.
However, whatever I might have thought, or done in my life, somehow I have always veered towards growing and making, and attracted others who are of that mind too. Now it seems to be very important if we want to eat real food and live lightly on this earth.
Having spent a lot of my former years in the belief that I was going out into the world to be someone famous for glamorous reasons, I did not pay much attention to the farm (though I was coerced into helping at the expense of my valuable preening time). I had a lot to learn when it came to horticulture and animal husbandry.
It is a full time job, from morning into the night, where I am found either with a head torch hunting for slugs if it's wet, or watering if it's dry. I am totally absorbed in the process. Every movement I make counts. As I open the polytunnel in the morning I pick some french beans for lunch and grab a handful of red russian kale seeds from the drying plants to put into a pot for growing into the winter. Every meal is fresh vegetables done up in various different ways. Every growing thing out of the garden is put to some use. First and foremost for us to eat, leftovers for the chickens, and what they don't want back into the garden for compost.
Truth to tell it is not difficult to eat a plate full of steamed, lightly stewed or raw veg when it is half an hour from growing. Maybe with butter or grated parmesan, some local goats cheese or toasted sesame salt sprinkled on. Lunches and suppers are like this, and breakfast is fresh picked fruit and yoghurt. Tonight there will be Mexican tree spinach and goats cheese pasties and tomato and basil salad warm from the polytunnel, with David's pure rye sourdough bread. And no I don't make the puff is of the frozen variety and I consider it to be a casing for the spinach. Belly timber for the hungry, and to be peeled off like a crust of salt on a salt-baked fish for the gluten avoiders.
And if I was trying to win my mother's approval I could not do better. She wanders around the garden and prompts me by waving her stick at weeds and un-picked fruit, and what could be more pleasurable than us all podding peas at coffee time. Her resourcefulness kicking in as she finds ways of popping and despatching them with her one hand into one of her beautiful bowls.
July 2014