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Meet The Producer: Harewood Farm

We are really looking forward to introducing our producers to you over the coming months.

We are proud to work with so many brilliant people and hope you will enjoy meeting them and finding out more about where, how and why your food is produced.

Meet Jo Tytherleigh from Harewood Farm

Jo Tytherleigh in the polytunnel surrounded by salad crops

What do you grow?

We grow largely salads, leafy greens and herbs, and several varieties of beans, courgettes and squash for sale, but we try to grow a bit of everything throughout the whole year for our own kitchen.

How do you grow?

Harewood Farm is a 25 acre smallholding made up of diverse traditional hay meadows, and mixed woodland with water meadows onto river frontage. This type of vanishing landscape is becoming uncommon, therefore we strive to retain what we have. This means the vegetable growing enterprise is squeezed into small pockets of cleared scrubland. The gardens at Harewood Farm are more like allotment plots rather than fields of vegetables, plus we have two polytunnels for year round growing space.

Why do you grow?

Nothing gives me more pleasure than spending time with plants. Working outside with the earth is a way of life and because I live on the land that I work, there is no getting away from it! I can't imagine not having my own home grown food to eat, there is such a vitality of life that I feel from eating food that’s just been picked.

A tray full of freshly harvested salad leaves.

How and why did you get started?

My parents were both keen gardeners and my mother was an amateur Botanist. Their knowledge of plants and love for nature was something that was absorbed by my sister and I virtually by osmosis!

I have always been in gardens, in every rented accommodation I've ever lived in, I've utilised the gardens to grow food, and I was an allotment gardener for many years before I moved to Harewood Farm ten years ago.

What do you like about working with an organisation like TGL?

I love working with TGL because they are a simple route to market for me. The Open Food Network software makes it easy for me as a grower to upload my produce each week, for customers to be able to choose and order and then I receive a pick list of the exact numbers of produce I have sold. It’s a very different experience than taking produce to a farmers market without any guarantee of selling it. As a not for profit organisation TGL are motivated by clear intentions, high morals and sheer passion. I feel supported and appreciated by the great team of staff. We have an aligned mission to bring quality local food to our local community.

Do you have a top tip for growers?

Do what feels manageable. Its easy to get excited and over ambitious with growing, and it really is a full time job!

Do you have a favourite recipe you make with your produce?

I have different faves at different times of the year. However there really is no substitute for the beginning of courgette season. When the first handful of tiny courgettes begin to appear, I grow interesting ribbed and stripey varieties, mostly Italian ones, I cut them from the plants and sauté them with garlic slivers in good organic butter and eat them straight out of the pan!

What’s your favourite bit of the day?

I love long light evenings in late May and June, when I often work until 10pm in the gardens, the last job of the day being to fill a harvest basket with supper. The food I cook then is very simple, because when you have ingredients that fresh, they shine all on their own, and I am usually so tired I want to eat fast!


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