Expanding our organic horizons, we visit Jeremy, Monika and their swish new polytunnel on Pool Hullock Farm. “The polytunnel is my baby really. I’ve been trying to convince Jeremy to get one for ages.” That’s Monika – manager at Pool Hullock Farm – who beamed with pride as she showed us the fruits (and veg) of her labour.
Pool Hullock Farm
Stepping into the tunnel during the summer heatwave, the first thing you notice is just how warm it’s suddenly become. Those who brace themselves and push on through are rewarded however, with the sight of organic crops you’d never expect to see growing in this (usually) dreary climate of ours. We almost trip over the aubergines hanging tantalisingly from their stalks and looking utterly delicious. If we had, we’d have landed right amongst peppers, edamame beans and other gems that are able to flourish together in this tropical micro-climate in rural Herefordshire.
“We’re not experts, but from what we’ve found, I would say protected cropping is the word really”, Jeremy tells us as we take in a breath of fresh air outside. “If you’re trying to grow more exciting veg like this, you have to have a relatively stable and warm temperature, which, with the tunnel, you can do!”
One of the great success stories of this first season of sweltering hard graft is the delightful little cucamelons, growing on lush green vines all around us. To the eye, they look like cute baby watermelons, no bigger than a grape. Biting into one however, is refreshment like nothing else on such a close afternoon. The flavour is immediately reminiscent of the freshest cucumber you’ve ever tasted, with a slight, citrus-y zing.
These cool customers are the latest arrival in our shop, and from our extensive taste-testing, we’re convinced that they’ll go down a treat in a crisp and clean cocktail. In fact, we’re almost wishing one into our hands as the sun continues to beat down. Jeremy and Monika are an organic-pioneering superduo in our eyes. Their efforts mean we’re able to keep your boxes packed to the brim with British veg that really pushes the boundaries of what can grow on our fair shores.