Welcome to the SRT blog No. 29

13th November 2020 – Welcome to our blog post No. 29


  • November has 30 days and is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year.
  • Novembers name comes from the Roman Calendar and in Latin, novem meaning “nine” and is the seasonal equivalent of May in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.
  • November’s birthstone is the topaz (particularly, yellow) which symbolizes friendship and is the symbol of strength & honour.
  • The birth flower is chrysanthemum – particularly the golden flower and symbolises honesty, joy & optimism
  • Born before the 23rd of November is the sign of Scorpio, and those born later have the sign of Sagittarius. Scorpios are said to value trust and honesty above other things, as well as being quite intense yet imaginative people. Those born under the sign of Sagittarius are quite different, being energetic and idealistic, while also generous and open-minded.
  • The US celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November (26th in 2020) and has been followed since 1621. The first Thanksgiving feast celebrating the first bountiful harvest of the pilgrims of Plymouth and New England.


*It’s back* our famous, delicious and much sought after ‘winter chutney’ by exclusively by the cooking team at the Activity Centre. Buy as a gift or treat yourself to something just a bit special.

Available now from our farm shops at Hemel Food Garden, open Mon > Sat, and Northchurch, Mon > Friday, each 10 to 3pm.

Hanna is prepping veg whilst Noreen is potting on runners from the strawberries as her on-going project.










Sophia is outside leaf raking and Mark’s wielding the blower to clear the wood shed roof of yet more leaves. Hopefully not too much longer before they will all be down and other jobs can be tackled.



Our remaining hive at HFG is strong, well stocked and almost settled in for the winter. We are hoping for a warmer day so we can do a final check and tuck them in. We are going to wrap the hive in insulation this year as we are expecting a bitter winter.

And this week it’s all about the progress of the pizza oven. The dough has to be prepared ahead of time. Weighing out, mixing and then the fun part – kneading the dough in batches.

Lots of kneading is needed so the green team got involved!













Here are the finished dough balls ready for proving.

Then the next day Kealey set about lighting the pizza oven – Guy showed us how last time.

It takes a while to heat up to the required 400o – roughly twice as hot as the temperature you would usually use in your own oven to bake – and the fire has to be checked and tended.

The Christmas dinner pizza was tested. The topping included tofukey (veggie version – get it!) / stuffing / red onion / herbs / cheese and tomato sauce.










Then pudding – the calzone pizza style experiment. The ingredients included Xmas pud / cranberry/ chocolate and crème fraiche. Different or better still – unique!




Kealey also roasted some whole garlic bulbs – now that is scrummy, mild and oozing flavour.


meet Sylvia the new café ‘pet’. She is a live yeast culture that we have grown. She needs feeding now and then….and an occasional bedtime story.

Clever Sylvia has produced 3 sourdough ‘pot’ rolls – baked in the pizza oven in terracotta pots and clean, of course!





Our food production is winding down somewhat now. This has been hastened along by squirrels who have decimated the last of our beetroot and carrots. However we still have a good horde of celeriac to harvest over the coming weeks, the last of our turnips will be harvested next week and we also have some parsnips and leeks to lift. Then all that will be left is the brussel sprouts which are just about ready. Now we begin the clearing and re-composting ready for next season.


Northchurch has had some more of the finishing touches completed over the last week.

The slabs have been lain at the entrance, across the shop front and as walkways all round and through to the mess room, making it so much easier to get around for all.

Wates finished this last Friday and also helped to fill and waka the pot holes in the car park. Certainly less bumpy on arrival now.

Plus, the new signs have all been installed. At the gate entrance, next to the car park and over the main entrance on the front of the green roof. St Mary’s C of E primary have also allowed us to add our sign to their railing on the main Berkhamsted High Street road so keep an eye out. Thanks goes to the school.










The pigs had a pumpkin treat and polished it off in record time – took them just 30 minutes.

Now that they have all been harvested it’s time to weed an area for next year’s pumpkin patch and the poly tunnel is getting some attention as well.

Garlic bulbs have been planted in the poly tunnel – they will be harvested around next June. There is always so much to plan for in horticulture.

The growing is still going. We continue to receive veg box orders and are making these weekly. The Cavalo Nero has come to an end but both Spinach and Kale are holding out nicely for us, as well as the chilies. The bubble green house has had a big tidy and is looking very neat. We planted some experimental over wintering crops such as celeriac and some cauliflowers and a million beetroots.





Someone donated some Peruvian chili plants and Peruvian black mint which we will try and keep alive over winter in the bubble green house. All the poly tunnels are finished weeding wise due to the heavy amount of rain we had over the last few weeks


Oh, and there’s only 37 sleeps to Christmas Day!