Welcome back to an A to Z of discoveries at Kiplin Hall and Gardens. Today we explore a theme close to many gardeners’ hearts, the garden fork!
Vital throughout the year this tool is always close to hand, it’s importance evident in the huge number we have for the team to use. Breaking ground to sow seeds or carefully levering crops from the earth, the gardeners fork is a grower’s best friend.
Past residents of Kiplin Hall created the walled garden to support the kitchen, providing fresh and seasonal produce to feed the families living there. Today the phrase “from garden fork to cake fork” on the Tea Room menu illustrates how produce from the garden is used in recipes to make food sold to visitors giving them a real taste of Kiplin.
Root vegetables in soups, soft fruits in jams, and crisp salad leaves all make the short journey from garden fork to kitchen. Thanks to modern facilities like freezers, some produce can also be preserved when the kitchens can’t keep up with the glut!
Popular crops in the walled garden include the golden raspberries which make especially thick jam, sold by the jar and used in baking recipes on the seasonal tea room menu. Apples are turned into a chutney which features in the sandwiches, particularly delicious when paired with Wensleydale cheese. Enormous rhubarb leaves carpet the ground and the stems produce multiple sweet crops each year. Architectural artichoke plants tower alongside flowering dahlias. Large vegetable beds are framed by purple ‘pom-pom’ like chive blooms that bob in the wind and provide fuel for bees.
The huge gardens at Kiplin Hall are managed by Head Gardener Chris Baker and a dedicated team of volunteers. During the lockdowns some volunteering has been allowed to take place to ensure the ongoing production and maintenance of the working gardens. Extra measures have been put in place to keep volunteers, staff and visitors safe during the covid outbreak. For example, social distancing between individuals, the washing of equipment handles between each use, shorter shifts and no gathering for communal lunch breaks. These and other measures have meant that the gardens at Kiplin have remained productive during lockdown. And the wider grounds are still in great condition to welcome visitors back now that restrictions are beginning to lift.
The kitchens at Kiplin are once again busy, offering a take-away tea room menu of soups, sandwiches, bakes and cakes, many made with ingredients grown onsite. Ingredients brought in are sourced from local firms, showing off the best Yorkshire produce like eggs, cheeses, and even locally ground coffee from Rountons.
As well as jams and chutneys visitors can also buy fruit, veg, and flowers, harvested from the walled garden by the volunteer team for the produce cart where ripe and ready crops are displayed for sale.
Kiplin Hall and Gardens is open 6 days a week, closed on Thursdays, the Tea Room take-away menu can be viewed online before a visit HERE, with the specials board on-site changing regularly. Those interested in volunteering at Kiplin can make an inquiry HERE
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