Spring Meadow Farm
For my first trip, I visited the St Davids peninsula, the most westerly tip of Wales. It’s a wild, exposed and windy place. The urban hub of the area is the enchanting small city of St Davids with its cafés and galleries surrounding an impressive cathedral.
For most people though, the main attraction of the area is the opportunity to leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind by getting back to nature in the surrounding countryside.
With spectacular cliffs, punctuated by scenic stretches of sandy beach, the coastline is a haven for walkers, surfers and beach-lovers. The sunsets are spectacular and the vast star-filled night skies awe-inspiring.
Spring Meadow Farm is a wonderful Certificated Site at the heart of the peninsula, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Run by Tim Young and Lynne Whittemore, the 13-acre farm produces a range of fruit and vegetables. Over the last 20 years Tim and Lynne have transformed six ‘blank canvas’ fields they bought through an advert in the local paper into an impressively productive market garden.
The on-site farm shop is an open-sided barn brimming with produce ranging from herbs, beans, leeks, peppers and garlic to strawberries, blackcurrants and plums. Tim also runs a weekly stall at the Fishguard farmers’ market.
The campsite, positioned at the centre of the farmland, is hidden behind a natural wall of willow hedge and sycamores. Each pitch has a campfire hearth and its own picnic table. It seems the perfect invitation to source some fresh ingredients from the surrounding fields and cook up a feast for friends over the open fire.
Within moments of our arrival my young children, Maisy and Mack, felt at home. They headed off with Tim to explore the farm, admire the old red tractor parked by the shop and join Lynne picking herbs for our meal.
Tim is a trained horticulturalist and Lynne a ceramicist by trade who now puts most of her creative energies into growing plants and flowers to sell alongside Tim’s fruit and vegetables. The abundant and colourful selection in their shop is testament to their hard work and skill at taming the wild and rugged nature of this area.
Growing produce in such an exposed part of the country must be tough, but Tim obviously enjoys the challenge. He smiled and told me: “It’s all about trying to outwit the weather and accepting when you can’t. I’d love to grow runner beans but I can’t grow tall things as it’s too windy. They’d just blow down.”
Food is often a topic of conversation between Lynne and her campers. She said: “It gave me the idea of putting up a recipe board in the washrooms. Campers can now exchange notes on things they’ve cooked over their fires, using the produce from the farm.”
Tim had been to the area’s farmers’ market on the morning that I visited and had bought some local sausages that he offered up for the pot, and thus the Spring Meadow Vegetable and Sausage Stew was created.
Tim helped to start the fire while I chopped herbs, sliced onions and diced peppers and courgettes. It was certainly a very relaxed way to cook lunch – sitting in a beautiful sheltered hideaway, surrounded by butterflies and rustling trees, watching my children enjoying the space. We chatted, drank wine and took it in turns to poke the fire or stir the bubbling stew in my cast iron Dutch oven pot.
Lynne appeared with a delicious salad she had rustled up from the leaves and herbs Maisy had just helped her to pick.
And there was our feast. As fresh and as local as I think it’s possible to get. A moreish sausage and vegetable stew served with rustic bread and salad, and celebrated with a glass of wine. It’s my idea of great camp cooking and a very special Eat Local experience.
For more information on Spring Meadow Farm, click here.