Last year when I wrote about Earthworks, hundreds of our readers went along and the extra money raised really made a valuable contribution to their work, and I heard from people how much they liked it, and how they hadn’t realised it was there. So if you haven’t been for ages, or this is your first time, this is your opportunity!
If you are a foodie or gardener, take money for the plant and vegetables sales. Everything they grow at Earthworks is organic, and the prices are incredible. When I popped in last week, I bought delicious salad leaves including spinach, rocket and mizuna, spring onions and radishes, which were picked for me fresh from the ground. The total bill was £2!
There are trays of plants for sale, with prices starting at 50p a pot. Purple peas, rainbow chard, dwarf curly kale, mangetout, sugar snaps, broad beans, ruby sprouts, indoor and outdoor cucumbers, tomatoes, sweetcorn, potatoes and squashes were just some of the plants I saw, and everything looked strong and healthy. If you have an allotment or some large containers at home, I think buying plants from here is an easy way to have healthy plants that will thrive over the summer. It is also a lot easier and more reliable than growing from seeds; ideal if you don’t have space for keeping plants warm while they get started. The prices are very cheap for organic plants and everything is grown on the site, so extremely low food miles!
Foodies look out for the salsify, kolrabi, pak choi, mizuna and mustard greens. Ask for a mixed bag and you can make a terrific, very fresh stir fry.
You will be able to buy anything that is ready, as well as attractive flowering plants such as cosmos and nasturtiums. As the site is run on organic principles, what will be ready does depend on the weather and what gets eaten by bugs beforehand, but I am sure you will find something you like. I did buy some of their delicious honey (£4.50 a pot), but we are not sure if any more will be ready in time for the open day.
In our small town centre garden I am growing herbs I bought from the Earthworks Farmer’s Market stall a couple of weeks ago and they are thriving. A small pot of cut-and-come-again salad leaves has already trebled in size, and cost half the price of a bag of leaves from a supermarket. The borage and chives are also growing happily and should get used in Pimms and salads fairly soon.
Tea, cakes and cream teas will be served on the main lawn, and we had some really good fudge last year, so look out for that too. There will also be a barbecue, cold savouries and cold drinks. I think the barbecue sold out quite early last year, so go early for lunch. There will be live music from the local Fleetville Swing Band who will deliver a chilled out repertoire, so do take your time to relax and explore the gardens. Crafts and secondhand books will be for sale, and all proceeds will help to fund the project.
You can also visit Earthworks on weekdays from 9.30am to 3.00pm and at the stall at the St Albans Farmers’ Market opposite the Town Hall. If you turn up at the site just wander around until you find someone to help you. There isn’t a shop as such, as everyone will be working on the site, but staff or volunteers will go and pick whatever you want, and they are very friendly and happy to help you.
The work Earthworks does has a very positive impact on the lives of local people with a range of disabilities and health conditions. It is a beautiful place to work, and teaches people new skills and how to work together. They currently have a few vacancies for people with these conditions and would welcome speculative applications. People who are interested should contact us for an application pack on 01727 847311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHEN: Saturday 21st May 12.00 to 4.00pm
WHERE: Hixberry Lane, St Albans AL4 ORA. Easy to reach via the Alban Way bike route.
MORE INFO: http://www.earthworksstalbans.co.uk