Our bakery is quite literally rooted in our farm. Planting, growing and coppicing trees, then using the wood to fire our bakery oven, is a big part of what we do. It’s a lot of work but very satisfying that we can bake in this sustainable way.
We’re excited about how tree planting provides woodland habitat for a wide range of insects, animals, birds and plants. The wood we use in the oven is thinner than the logs that are generally used in wood burners so we are also able to use unwanted wood from local sources, which would otherwise be a waste product.
Just as the oven has a cycle of temperatures for baking different goods, so the garden has its yearly cycle and it’s an exciting challenge in the bakery to make the most of the gluts of delicious fruit and veg as they come our way.
In spring we look forward to using elderflower to make syrups for flavouring sweet tarts throughout the year and to the brilliant pink of poached rhubarb in the white chocolate tarts. In summer the tomatoes are ready and turning these into jars of passata for our breads and pies is a big feature of bakery life. Going out early in the morning to pick edible flowers and cape gooseberries for garnishing is a summer treat.
In autumn we start making the fruit jams and syrups for our pastries (elderberry is a particular favourite) and picking and poaching pears for pear and dark chocolate tarts. In winter there are artichokes to dig up and bake on our flatbreads, cavolo nero for the savoury tarts and the hardy herbs such as rosemary, which flavour our focaccia’s throughout the year.
Our market garden gives bounteously and we try to return the favour. We replenish the soil by feeding it well, rotating the crops, using green manures and avoiding pesticides and herbicides. We’re dedicated to increasing rather than decreasing biodiversity so always leave some plants to go to seed for the birds to enjoy.