I’ve now been a proud Enfield resident for 4 years. When Jon and I decided to move to London together we checked out a couple of the most northerly London boroughs. Barnet was a close second but it was Enfield which we were immediately drwan to. It’s the perfect mix of city living and countryside which means that you can find everything from the coolest craw breweries’ tap rooms on shady looking industrial estates to amazing farm shops and even London’s first organic commercial vineyard.
It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks this way and last year a bunch of local foodies decided to celebrate the amazing food and drink on offer across the borough at the Enfield Food Festival. Somehow, I managed to miss it, but this year Jon and I made sure we saved the date.
After 6 hours of enjoying the sunshine, eating, drinking, attending workshops and eating and drinking some more we came home and just flopped. Who knew there was so much awesome food and drink right on our doorstep?!
I felt so inspired that I decided I’d give a little love to some of my favourite local producers on the blog. First up is Forty Hall Farm, Orchard and Vineyard
Forty Hall Farm
Forty Hall Farm is located just inside the M25, on the edge of Enfield. It’s run by Capel Manor College and is home to a variety of animals, a vineyard, an orchard, a market garden and a wonderful farm shop!
The farm is also home to the festival itself so throughout the day we were lucky enough to explore everything the farm has to offer.
One of the most magical parts of the Forty Hall farm is the orchard. The orchard sits just outside Forty Hall’s walled garden – the same spot where an orchard grew back in the 1830s.
The current orchard began life in October 2011. Since then a group of volunteers have planted over 130 fruit trees and over 300 fruiting hedgerow trees. Strolling through the orchard you will find a whole host of apple trees along with crab apples, pears, damsons, plums and even cherries.
Unsurprisingly, the orchard produces delicious apple juice – the volunteers are also now turning their hand to cider which I can’t wait to try.
One of the most lovely things about the orchard is that they can also offer invaluable advice to local residents who grow their own apples and other fruit trees. As part of “Apple Day” on 8 October the volunteers can help you identify the type of apples growing in your back garden if you bring along some of the fruit and maybe a picture or two of the tree! We have no idea which variety of apple we are growing so will have to go along.
I was particularly excited about getting a tour of the Forty Hall Vineyard after having tried the 2016 Ortega. Like the orchard, the vineyard is led and managed by volunteers which is so impressive considering the huge amount of land the vineyard covers.
The weather has been less than optimal for the grapes this year so there’s a lot of hoping and praying that enough grapes will be harvested.
But fear not, it takes roughly 2 years for the sparkling wine to get from the vines to the shelves of the farm shop. I can’t wait to try the 2015 Vintage London Sparkling Brut made from organic Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes grown at the vineyard.
You can follow the vineyard on Instagram which is one of the best ways of finding out when the wine is available!
The market garden
The produce that Forty Hall grows in its market garden is absolutely fantastic. We’ve bought from the Farm Shop frequently since moving to Enfield Chase and haven’t been dissapointed yet.
If you’re from the area and interested in supporting Forty Hall Farm, Enfield Veg Co is their weekly veg bag scheme. They deliver fresh veggies grown on the farm along with other locally-grown organic produce across all of Enfield. For more information visit the Enfield Veg Co. website.
Now I’ll admit…we’ve not signed up. Not because we don’t think the quality is fantastic but because we’ve got plenty of home grown produce we need to eat our way through! We’ll keep topping it up with veggies bought from the farm shop in the meantime.
I’m super excited to see what Forty Hall are able to produce over the coming years – particularly the next batch of sparkling wine! If you do get a chance, make sure you pay the farm a visit.
Next week I’ll be introducing my favourite cheesey couple in North London – Keith and Philip from Wildes Cheese. Stay tuned!