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Photo article from the Welsh Hovel - reliving life in Byfield as we harvest marrows

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 2 November 2023

I have these strong childhood memories of life at Butterwell Farm in Byfield of heading out into very cold and dark Autumn nights to help my mum harvest the vegetables for winter storage. There was a sense of urgency, it had to be done. We did not have a freezer so we used sand boxes for root vegetable storage and she also stored things in jars to sit in the cold room, the larder.

As a refresher course yesterday, at the end of my working day as it got darker and darker, Joshua, Jaya and I went harvesting. Using my phone as a torch, first we dug up potatoes for supper, lovey pink fir apple spuds.  Then, conscious that a few of the marrows had started to rot it was the big harvest

We have already worked our way through countless marrows. The larder is bulging with jars of marrrow and ginger jam. Stuffed marrow has been on the menu at least twice a week since August. I have fobbedoff marrows on friends and indeed a complete stranger who was wandering through our farmyard thinking, erroneously, that it was a right of way. But as you can see below, I am still drowning in fine, not rotten, marrows.

The Mrs says that I should make no more jam as I have also made pots of damson, blackberry and apple and rhubarb and ginger jam and she has suggested, rather sternly, that we have enough already. But I have ordered more jars as jam made today will be mature by Christmas and what more of a present could anyone want?  And I shall do a few jars for the Under-5s part of the village school stand at the vilage Christmas fair.  Jaya likes her school and it is the least that I can do.  Meanwhile Jaya and I bought several kilos of pork mince at Tesco this week as stuffed marrow will be part of the staple diet here well into December. Marrow kept in an increasingly crowded larder should last for many weeks.


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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