Pumpkins and spooky events

Emma and Amy with pumpkinAutumn is one of the best times of year for British food. We celebrate Harvest Festivals and can start thinking about the hearty and warming food that the UK does so well.

The first Harvest celebration I went to this year was at Hammonds End Farm to visit the FoodSmiles community allotment on its first birthday. I saw this site when ploughed and it was fantastic to see the abundant crops of vegetables and salads that are now packed into the space. The project has been a real success; members told me how much they love receiving their veg boxes and enjoy visiting the site to do their share of the work. It is such an idyllic spot, I can see why. The Mayor of Harpenden popped in to say well done and we ate delicious barbecued vegetables, chilli and salads, along with bread from neighbours Redbournbury Mill. If you are interested in perhaps taking part next year contact foodsmiles.info@gmail.com.

You might be interested to know that there is no Luton Hoo Pumpkin and Apple Gala this year. After a very successful seven year run, the Luton Hoo Estate has decided to take a break and focus on activities that are less dependent on good weather. Willows Farm is open over half term as usual and every child can visit the enormous pumpkin patch and choose their favourite pumpkin to take home.

The White Hart Hotel, Holywell Hill is hosting its famous Halloween Dinner and Ghost Tour on 31st October. Held in the beautiful and atmospheric oak-panelled Tudors restaurant, you enjoy a three-course dinner (£24.95) then take a tour of the hotel, which dates back to 1470. You may have seen The White Hart Hotel on Alex Polizzi’s programme last year; this is sure to sell out.

Sopwell House is hosting a Halloween, Bonfire and Fireworks Extravaganza also on 31st October (6.30pm). In the stunning grounds there will be a bonfire and Guy Fawkes, Halloween-themed games and storytelling and a competition for the best spooky costume. A hog roast will be served (with crackling and apple sauce), with hot drinks, or hotdogs and hot chocolate for children. The evening will finish with a irework display. Online tickets at the time of writing for adults are £18.90 and children up to 12, £9.50. Phone bookings (01727 750466) are £25.90 and £10.50. A donation of £2 per booking will be made to Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

Recently voted Best Pub at the St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival Awards, The Foragers at The Verulam Arms are serving “creepy cocktails and spooky specials” on 31st October, along with a pumpkin carving competition. Every table will have a pumpkin to carve and the best one gets a prize. They are also holding a Firework Party on the 1st November to coincide with the Verulamium Park Fireworks. Mulled wine and cider, smoked sausages, pulled venison sandwiches and homemade stews will be served in the garden, or book a table for dinner inside.

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About thelocalfoodie

Food writer for The Herts Advertiser.
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