Hello and welcome to the Seasonal Table. We are Kathy and Tom. We live on a little smallholding in the hills of rural Somerset in England, along with several hives of bees, a gaggle of six geese, and a multi-coloured flock of chickens. There is a little orchard and vegetable garden too. The Seasonal Table blog is all about our experiences of slow food and slow living. It is a journal of our seasonal recipes, featuring organically home grown, wild-harvested, or locally sourced ingredients, and a collection of our smallholding stories and activities.
We met at university and, after graduation, moved into a rented, one-bedroom, garden flat together in London. As so many do, we worked in the city smoke and dreamt of escaping to the countryside. So, as much as we could, we tried to create the good life in our little garden. A couple of wooden raised beds squeezed in next to the fence to grow vegetables. An array of herbs dotted amongst the flowerbeds. Endless wooden and terracotta pots of blueberry plants, strawberries, and yet more herbs on the patio. An apple tree planted in the uppermost corner. And several hives of golden honeybees alongside our kitchen window. In the mornings we would often stand by the stove top, mug of tea in hand, and watch the worker bees to-ing and fro-ing on their pollen and nectar gathering expeditions.
It was on this small scale that we learnt the joy of growing and eating our own produce. Bowls of freshly picked salad leaves and soft garden herbs eaten outside on a summer evening. The crunch and intense flavour of a mud-dusted carrot pulled and munched straight from the earth. Bright green peas, popped from pod to mouth, accompanied by a glass of ice cold beer. Dark, flowery, raw honey, drizzled over salt-buttered toast. Everything tasted far better than anything bought from the supermarket and, more than ever, we found ourselves wanting to make the move to rural England, where we might have the space to grow more fruit and veg and perhaps keep some livestock too.
Eventually we took the plunge. After securing new jobs in the south west, we rented a van, packed up our hotch-potch of furniture, cookware, patio pots and bee hives and drove down to Somerset to find a house to buy. After months of looking, we found a pretty little stone cottage that came with a small amount of land, including an old orchard. There was space for us to set up a good sized vegetable garden, just enough room for animals, and plenty of spots to put the bees. We moved in a few weeks later and began living our version of the good life.