Sunday’s NGS Open Allotments day at Queensgate and Kitchen Lane in Beverley has not only raised awareness about the benefits of ‘growing your own’ fruit and vegetables. It has also raised almost £700 for charity through entry ticket sales.
Hundreds of visitors attended the event, an increase of 47% on last year when the event was held for the first time, showing a clearly growing interest in allotments and growing fresh food. Visitors to the 85 plots on Queensgate and 35 plots on Kitchen Lane, which are run by Beverley Town Council, saw for themselves the attraction of having an allotment to grow and enjoy eating freshly picked produce.
Organised as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) which raises more than £2.5million each year for UK nursing and caring charities, the open day was featured in the UK-wide NGS ‘Yellow Book’ and drew in visitors from across the region.
Deputy Mayor of Beverley, Councillor Paul McGrath, officially opened the event, and he was impressed by the number of visitors attending. He said: “The Open Allotments Day was a roaring success, with people coming from all across Yorkshire. The feedback we received has been very complimentary and visitors enjoyed learning about having an allotment and gaining knowledge from experienced allotment holders on growing fresh produce.”
Allotment representative Lance Wardle was one of the allotment holders on hand at the event to offer help and guidance to budding growers. He said: “Everyone that I spoke to was very impressed with the allotments. Visitors were interested in asking questions about having their own allotment and finding solutions to their vegetable growing problems. Our plot holders could answer the visitor’s questions and share their experiences in getting the most from an allotment.
“I would like to thank all plot holders on Queensgate and Kitchen Lane allotments for their support of this NGS Open Day. They made the place look outstanding, and their efforts are much appreciated.”
The event was supported by Beverley Town Council’s Big Lottery funded Local Food project called ‘From Field to Table’, which aims to help make locally grown food accessible and affordable. Local Food Co-coordinator Marie Louise Robinson explained more: “This Open Day is one of our four seasonal events for this year’s project activity, which encourages people to grow their own food and also celebrates locally grown food and its producers.
“To add to the visitor experience, we offered cream teas from an open-air café on the allotments, and all the ingredients were from local producers; including scones from G. Jack and Sons based on Wednesday Market in the town; Ginger Kitten Cupcakes from Lockington supplied specially branded cupcakes; St Quentin’s Creamery in Brandesburton supplied the milk and cream; and Bracken Hill Fine Foods in Elvington provided the strawberry jam. Plot holders also kindly donated freshly picked fruits, including raspberries, tayberries and redcurrants to add to the summer flavour of the cream scones.
“Our cream tea sales raised just over £400 for our ‘From Field to Table project, which will be used towards the sustainability of the project for the benefit of the people of Beverley.”
With cookery demonstrations on site from holistic nutritionist Karina Clappison, visitors discovered how allotment-grown raw produce such as carrots, mint, broad beans, celery and beetroot can be made into mouth-watering juices, pates and salads.
Town Clerk and From Field to Table Project Manager Helen Watson said:
“We are delighted at the number of visitors who came to enjoy this NGS Open Allotments Day and helped us to raise so much money for good causes.”
“As a town council, we would like to thank all the allotment holders and everybody involved who helped to make the allotments look so beautiful. We are also grateful to Beverley Grammar School for kindly allowing visitors to park in the school grounds for the event.”
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