Northcote Manor – Organic Kitchen Gardens
Working with the team at Northcote Manor has been immensely interesting and challenging. Whilst the principals and practices of garden design and horticulture remain constant. The demands of this particular client are very specific. Whilst looking to preserve heritage varieties each crop is chosen for it’s ability to perform within the requirements of a demanding commercial kitchen, producing food to the Michelin star standard that it is so well known for.
To illustrate the challenge of running a commercial vegetable garden, organically and with a preference for Heritage varieties consider first the following. Heritage varieties are known for their flavour and individuality but do not have the pests and diseases resistances of the new ones. The kitchen needs flavour, abundance, consistency and reliability. With careful variety selection and growing methods it has been possible to satisfy the demands of the Chef whilst working with these variables and of course the weather.
Growing your own means you get to harvest and eat or in some cases eat whilst you harvest. No traveling means you can grow varieties that would damage beyond use in the commercial environment. Tomatoes and Strawberries are good examples, another is edible flowers. Producing these on site provides a unique crop of ingredients that would otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable.
Northcote has been registered as an organic site with the Soil Association for 7 years. Working within the principals and practices of the organic association the Head gardener believes he has now achieved the perfect balance between pests and predators.