River Cottage festival

I was so honoured to be invited down to the beautiful small rural festival at River Cottage HQ last weekend. I’m still on a complete high from all the incredible, like-minded people I got to meet and all the food I got to eat!! 
We started the day with a fun, but slightly scary ride in a tractor and trailer which rode us down a steep hill to the entrance of the festival. It was so fun, and the perfect way to start the festival. The sun was shining the entire weekend and the atmosphere was incredible – everyone was so friendly. 

There were also a lot of families which was so lovely to see. It’s so important to not only spend quality time with your family outdoors but also to teach the younger generation about where our food comes from and the incredible things people are doing in that space right now. 

Of course, the main reason I was there… was for the food. There were so many different food producers and stalls all championing local and seasonal produce across the weekend. As well as a fantastic line up of guest chefs and speakers including the master himself Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall (someone I have admired for years and one of my true food heroes) as well as Jess McAllister, Claire Thomson, John Wright and Melissa Hemsley. 

My main highlight of the entire weekend was the barn feast we ate on Saturday night. Packed full of crispy crackers and so much hummus followed by fava bean dal and onion seed flatbread – my kind of food!! All washed down with a lovely crisp glass of organic wine.  And I can’t forget about the delicious vegan thin crust pizza which will stay in my mind for years to come!! 

Valentine Warner was an absolute dream to watch and listen too. I loved his entire showcase, demoing and talking about how important foraging and eating locally sourced ingredients were. His passion and ethos match exactly what I try to get across to you and it was so informative and inspiring to watch. 

John Wright was also hugely entertaining and so knowledge about foraging. He had so much information about what can be found along hedgerows each month but also some crazily scary stories about death by mushrooms!!

Hugh’s talk was discussing the plastic crisis. He started by interviewing Anita Rani before moving onto a broader discussion surrounding the current environmental issues, we, as a planet, are facing. It was so shocking to hear all the facts laid out like that and has really inspired me to work harder on reducing my plastic consumption – something I already try hard to do! As always, his talk was incredibly engaging and interesting with an in-depth Q+A.

I really realised, at the River Cottage festival how much the world is suffering and how we must all take responsibility. I know it’s super challenging and not always feasible but even just the smallest of changes can make a huge difference. I’m personally going to try to do even more to help support organic and provide as many ways as possible on making delicious, plant-based and organic recipes for you to make at home – so you can make your contribution simply too. We are going to be introducing more seasonal recipes to the website and showcasing how delicious it can be to eat the seasons. I grew up in rural Shropshire, so I’ve always grown up foraging for the local berries, nuts and more, but it’s something I have let slide a little bit as I have got older – so I’ve made it my mission to get back out there and enjoy the bounty of what Mother Nature has to offer. I had the most fantastic time and I have learnt so much.

I’ve come away feeling refreshed, albeit slightly full still and inspired to do so much more. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for more recipes, insights, tips and tricks that can help you at home and lastly a huge thank you again to River Cottage for an absolutely fantastic weekend. If you ever get the chance to go, definitely take it. It’s utterly life-changing.

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