Case Study: Chantry House, Saxmunden
Chantry House celebrates British Food Fortnight every year, by holding various events and outings. Events that are held range from harvest festival, making chutney and jelly from our own grown produce from chantry gardens. Baking the wheat sheaf for the harvest festival, holding an afternoon tea in royal fashion to celebrate the Queen’s longest reign on the throne.
We begin the British food fortnight preparations early in the year, when we have our gardening groups early in the season, deciding on what crops to grown and what we could make out of them as and end product. We have gardening groups, where we prepare the gardens, go to local garden centres to choose seeds and plants and then we get cracking in the garden planting out and maintaining the gardens and making sure they are well looked after. Chantry House grows a range of fruit and vegetables including, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, plums, beans, lettuce and radishes. We had fun this year making our own crab apple jelly using our own crab apples grown in the gardens. Janet King, a Chantry House resident said, “it reminded me of the old WI days, where you can have groups of jam or jelly making, and this was just as much fun.”
We have group resident meetings in order to make sure everyone can suggest ideas for British food fortnight, we had suggestions from residents about holding a high tea and have a royal theme to celebrate the Queens longest reign and to use only local British produce and homemade produce. Vera Crane, a Chantry House resident said, “I love the Queen and it is nice to celebrate with a traditional British Afternoon Tea, and taste our own baked scones with homemade jams.”
The harvest festival is a highlight of the year where we can display our own produce and have local Saxmundham United Reform Church donate produce too, which we gratefully receive. The highlight of the harvest festival is the wheat sheaf that is made by residents proudly put on display in the centre of our harvest table. This is where we can reflect on the hard work that the residents have done throughout the year looking after the plants and thankful that they have grown.
We also are lucky to have local farm shops where we can go and choose local produce, and also pyo orchards and berry picking and residents can enjoy a trip out foraging. Saxmundham Is lucky enough to have a market every Wednesday where they sell local fruit, vegetables and fish and flowers, Chantry residents enjoy a trip around the markets and choosing local grown items for our lunches.
Jo Peck, Chantry House Activities Coordinator, “It’s so nice to have the residents involvement in the whole British food fortnight process and it is lovely to see the end results of our gardening groups where we can reap our rewards. It is good to promote British foods and to buy local and support our local businesses and markets.”