Following all the rubbish weather we've had recently I had the pleasure of enjoying the first sunshine in weeks on the beautiful farm belonging to Yeo Valley. It is a stunning location, the Mendips in the background, fields and hedgerows and Blagdon and Chew Valley lakes. It's idyllic, rolling English countryside.
|View from the Mendips over Chew Valley Lake|
Yeo Valley invited me and fellow bloggers Bishopston Mum, Mum 2 Baby Insomniac, Being Mrs C and Circus Queen to a day of tours and tastings. We started the day with Mendip expert Les, seeing what the 5000 children a year who attend their farm classroom experience. If you are a parent or a teacher in the south west please make your school aware of this opportunity, it was fascinating. We learnt all about the countryside, from its geology to foraging for food as well as organics and sustainability. All this was interspersed with stunning vistas.
|photo courtesy of Yeo Valley|
Next we were taken to sample the Yeo Valley yogurt range, complete with its pretty new packaging. My particular favourites were Blueberry, Lemon Curd and (and you'll need to get this one quickly, its limited edition) Blackcurrant & Elderflower. They also do a range for children (in little & big single portion tubs and in squeezy tubes) and their rather posh "Top Notch" range.
|Cooking with yogurt|
Having had our appetites whetted, we headed to the tea rooms for a cooking demonstration with resident chef Jamie. Of course all the recipes included yogurt - we were even made a cheesecake, by making cheese out of the yogurt first. I will be making this myself at the earliest opportunity as well as having a go at tea-smoked trout. I had no idea you could smoke your own fish in the comfort of your own kitchen (without setting off the fire alarm). I'll let you know how to do this in a later post (once I've checked that it really is possible for a mere mortal to achieve it).
|Lunch of soda bread, trout and cheesecake|
I adored the tea room, the eclectic mix of furniture, fabrics and ornaments gave me so many design ideas. I even ended up taking a photo of the loos! The tearoom overlooks the organic garden (the only ornamental garden in the UK with Soil Association certification) so the salad we enjoyed with our trout came from only a few feet away from where we were eating. With the trout coming from Blagdon lake our lunch didn't have food-miles, it had food-metres.
|I love the upcycled window frame|
|The vegetable garden|
|Knitted bunting in the tea room|
|All the chairs had different fabrics|
|The garden with its Mendip backdrop|
We needed a walk after such a delicious meal and we were accompanied into the garden by head gardener James. As well as being told about the wonderful flowers and plants we were also shown how to make good compost and use nettles and comfrey leaves to make plant feed. Yeo Valley run tours (which will be available for booking next month) for foodies and gardeners. If you just want to wander round the garden or visit the tea rooms click here for opening hours.
|The garden looking out to Blagdon Lake|
|I'm stealing this planting idea|
|The milking shed|
To end our day we were able to view the milking shed. Unfortunately, because of the recent incessant rain the cows are still in their winter housing, it would have been lovely seeing them in the fields (just to add to the rural idyll) but they were very comfy cows who sleep on mattresses under their straw. If today's weather continues it won't be long until they are out enjoying fresh grass.
Yeo Valley provided this tour in order for me to be able to write this post