Autumn has to be my favourite season. Rich with glorious hues of orange and gold, the countryside looks wild, rugged and beautiful. The best time of year for brisk walks, with crunchy leaves crackling underfoot. Coming home to the waft of a hearty feast bubbling away in the oven. Heaven in Devon!
There are a few jobs we must get out of the way at the start of the month, so pull on your favourite old coat and get lost in the countryside…
Firstly I forage, Minnie and Fly by my side, for beautiful blackberries. My ancient Barbour jacket is key here to protect me from sharp prickles and stings lurking within the hedgerows. We will eat in abundance in the form of jams, desserts, roasted with our Saddleback Pork Shoulder, or as a ‘cheffy’ jus with our unbelievably delicious Fallow Venison. This job is to be done before Michaelmas Day when tradition says the October rain will wash away the crop. Any left overs will go in the freezer to make use of later on in the year.
The next job on the list is harvesting apples. We are so lucky here to be surrounded by traditional orchards with all manner of exciting varieties, from sharp ciders to crunchy eating apples. This valley was once a hive of industry for cider production. There are Bramleys and Discovery apples all ripe for the picking. Although this year's crop is nothing on last year's, there is still fruit aplenty, that will become an important ingredient of the amazing Saddleback Pork & Apple Casserole cooked over the campfire, as well as desserts and sauces that will take us well into next year.
Finally, it’s back on with my old faithful hardy coat and this time a pair of wellies, to go hunting at the top of the farm, hidden amongst the natural spring and the tall trees, a crop of mushrooms. The most common species we find
Winter can wait. For now, I’m busy relishing in the delights of autumnal treats and lovely things to eat.