Monday, 9 September 2013

harvest festival

We all breathe a small sigh of relief and loosen our belts a little at work when the school holidays are over. About a third of our annual visitors come through the door in those six weeks - a quarter of a million give or take.  So I've had a peaceful week in the September sunshine gathering produce for our Harvest Festival display.

One of our reconstructed buildings at the museum is a Unitarian chapel from West Wales. Every year we host a Thanksgiving service and the gardening team always decorate the chapel with flowers and produce from the Estate. Since 2010 we have also held a Food Festival, so it seemed like a good fit to combine the two.

The food fest is a great event that has really blossomed in the last couple of years. It feels like the entire Welsh food community come together to celebrate and showcase their work. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly - the perfect way to round off the season. As a complement to the commercial stall holders, we have been working hard to build up the museum interpretation aspect of the event. In previous years I have done some kind of 'Traditional Techniques for Storing the Harvest' demo, but this was to be 'Year of the Teabag'.

Earlier in the summer, (and we did actually have one this year), I harvested and dried a whole load of mint and lemon balm from the cottage gardens. Just add some fennel seeds, dried elderflower, and the creative genius of the lovely Siân - and you've got the perfect recipe for a fabulously successful, Food Festival 'make and take home' activity. We bought a whole bunch of 'fill your own' tea bags, and Siân made a template sheet for everyone to make a cute envelope and tag for their bag. I ran the blending and bag filling side of the operation. We were so busy I didn't have time to take many pictures.

Siân made these pretty things... are a couple of my efforts.

Didn't get a picture of a filled bag, but this was the herb blend we created.

It was an exhausting weekend but we had fun.

Go Team Teabag!


  1. You so are! That tea sounds heavenly-i have lemon balm and mint, but adding elderflowers and fennel sounds wonderful and i'm determined to try it as soon as the elderflowers blossom here.
    Happy harvest fest. X

    1. Thank you - it does taste really good. We made some pots for people to try and won over a lot of sceptics. I left the herbs on the stalks so everybody had to get their hands right in to make the tea. A small pestle and mortar to grind the fennel seeds was a hit with the kids too - real magic potion stuff!

  2. love your blog! Lovely pictures, and great writing!

  3. What a stunning harvest display. Glad to see that the leek features!

    1. Those leeks are the ones that I started off in the hotbed, so they're way ahead of the others. Wouldn't be a Welsh harvest without leeks!