Welcome to the SRT blog No. 36

15th January 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 36


January is the first month of the calendar year and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern hemisphere and the seasonal equivalent of July.

  • January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.
  • January’s birthstone is the garnet, which represents constancy.
  • Its birth flower is the Pink or dianthus
  • The zodiac signs for the month of January are Capricorn and Aquarius.
  • The Japanese floral emblem of January is the camellia
  • The name of the full moon occurring in January is the wolf moon.

Well it turned out to be a wet week, this week but it doesn’t stop the teams at Sunnyside! There’s always something to do.

As we are in lock down again and some of you are not going to the sites at the moment, staying at home it would be great to see some photos of what you are up to as well. Just e mail to me – Dawn at publicity@sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk and we’ll include them over the next few weeks. Look forward to seeing them.


Through the window in the office at Northchurch, Catherine and team were spotted hard at work moving the fennel to a new site with enough left over to pop some into the shop fridge to sell. The fennel was replaced with globe artichokes which looks super and bushy. Strawberry runners have been planted in between the artichokes and go very nicely together.






Gillian kept warm by distributing the hay delivery to the animals around site.

The farm shop frontage is looking good with products to sell outside (willow, winter bedding plants, winter hanging baskets and wooden bird feeders) as well as inside. Later on when the weather improves, hopefully towards the end of March, this will be re-turfed or seeded, as the plan is to use this space more over the summer months.

The hens are laying well and it was Graham’s turn to prepare and deliver the fresh and clean collection of eggs to the shop.






and  a happy customer with some apple juice and veg!!


The Activity Centre ended last week with a bonfire to clear the debris produced in the willow, ash and hazel coppices. David and Ian maintained the fire whilst our group of trainees worked very diligently using saws and loppers to make the wood small enough for our pit including Sophia, Aisha, Noreen & Rebecca.






Monday, Noreen did some batch cooking to freeze for the future and we made a vegan curry and a vegan chilli – including using Sunnyside coriander, courgette, potatoes and onions. After lunch they made and jarred some tomato, chilli and coriander relish for sale in our farm shops. It’s the best!






The Bovingdon weekly litter pick took place on Tuesday. Michael, Noreen & Rebecca  managed to collect loads despite the wet weather. After lunch bundles of cut willow and hazel were moved across from the coppice area in preparation for raised bed refurbishments.

They also gave the minibus a good clean with brooms and the hose – so muddy this time of year. 

Wednesday there was more kitchen work, this time with Sophia, Ellen and her 1:1 support Sharon making a vegan bolognaise and again more jars of the relish. After lunch the pantry was given a good sort and some new recipe ideas looked at for later in the year, plus re-organising our harvested produce in the freezers. I did mine last week.












Then there was the start of the new project – revamping the fruit area and the surrounding lawn – more details to follow but it is an exciting project for everyone to get stuck into. The first jobs involved dismantling and digging out the existing raised beds, as well as repotting and rescuing any strawberry, beetroot and onion plants that were discovered. The full team worked really hard measuring out and then digging out turf ready for a new beech hedge line which will hopefully arrive for us to plant next week.

It rained heavily all day today and everyone got very wet but that didn’t stop a lot of great teamwork helping them to complete this first stage of the project with everyone able to contribute positively. More news on this as the weeks go by.


Everyone loved this note left by a trainee on the wipe board in the mess room at Hemel after the pizza making/baking and eating the other week.

Hemel Food Garden are growing perennials again for the Tom Stuart-Smith garden at the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival in July. This was postponed, you may remember from last year, and Tom has made a few changes (designers prerogative) but it’s a fantastic opportunity for Sunnyside to show what we can do, and a year on were even better at it. There will be lots more updates on this over the coming months. At the moment there’s lots of work tending to and potting on the perennials, to make sure they get through these colder weeks well.

Popular – especially with such bad weather, is the pop up cinema, set up at Christmas but still running some of the old favourites! What’s yours?

Not sure what Tomo was up to, don’t know how he fell into the laundry basket yesterday but there he is…

Also, the toilet block has been freshened up with a new floor and a coat of paint – essential tasks.

Chef Rebecca has been creating again with her gluten free, chocolate dark/white marbled cake. Yummy!

And here’s the link for the recipe for the brownies we make in the shop every week. These are a favourite of a lot of you.


“Gooey, nutty and seriously chocolaty, these vegan brownies are a total joy to eat ”

Makes 16 cooks in 40 mins. If you cook any do send through photos.


Stay warm and well.