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The bounty of summer: Mary's Garden Salad

Every day after work, Mary spends the last few daylight hours in her garden. The garden is her playground - a place to unwind, be mindful and reconnect. Much like Mary tends to the grass, the cows, the milk and the cheese business - in her garden, she tends to the roots, the fresh seedlings and the growth of wholesome homegrown food. 

Mary gardening salad

When the garden produces a glut of food, it needs even more time and love. Mary puts on her headtorch and stays out long after dark picking, harvesting and nourishing the garden with what it needs. 

As well as gathering fresh salad and vegetables for their meal every evening, Mary is out in the garden first thing picking salad leaves for the Farm Shop. A kind of wake up ritual, if you like. Everything in Mary’s garden grows in abundance - there is enough to share and feed many. A sign of caring for the land and nature working in harmony. There is simply too much for the family to get through alone, and if it isn't picked it will spoil.

Leaves aren't just for summer. Mary has a beautiful greenhouse jam-packed with a wide variety of salad leaves, fruits and vegetables which can grow all year round.

Picking Salad Leaves

Mary Quicke greenhouse salad

Whilst being picked, the leaves and edible flowers are separated so the delicate flowers stay fresh and intact. 

Back in the kitchen, cold water is added to the salad leaves and the flowers to give them an initial rinsing off. Salt is added to the salad leaves to remove any insects or slugs that were accidentally added to the edible loot. 

The sink is then filled with cold water where all the salad leaves are transported to wash off the salt, before inspecting the pickings of the day and taking out any unwanted leaves.

Next, the leaves are put into a strainer to drain off excess water, before being spun to remove further water.

The fragile flowers are never salted else it would damage them, but instead, only rinsed in clean water, carefully spun and placed into a different container to the salad leaves. 

Mary's Garden Salad

Mary's garden salad with edible flowers

The salad that Mary collects for the Farm Shop most mornings isn't just any old bag of salad. It is colourful and full of texture with a variety of tones and shapes. Featuring all sorts of leaves like chives, broad bean leaves and fennel, this salad has a flavour spectrum so broad that you'd be happy with just a bowl of leaves with some dressing and a few shaves of cheese. The thing that really sets Mary's salad apart is the colour pop of edible flowers which run throughout, adding splashes of orange and purple which are a delight to the eye - and the taste buds.

See our Goat's Cheese & Grilled Nectarine Summer Salad recipe.


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