Kitchen Garden at Standen bursting with produce this summer

The Kitchen Garden at Standen
The Kitchen Garden at Standen

The Kitchen Garden at Standen, the National Trust’s Arts and Crafts house and garden in West Sussex, is bursting with produce from summer through to autumn, and visitors are being encouraged to taste it for themselves on Kitchen Garden Tasting days.

Taking place every Friday in October and on Apple Day on October 12, visitors will taste fruit and vegetables grown by gardener Carolyn Hibbert and her team of volunteers.

Produce is carried only metres from the Standen Kitchen Garden to the Barn Café before being made into seasonal dishes, and the team hope those who visit can take inspiration back to their own garden.

Carolyn Hibbert, Standen’s kitchen gardener, said: "Colour, form and texture are just as important in a vegetable plot as in the ornamental garden.

"If you want the food on your plate to be interesting and enticing then that starts in the garden with the varieties you select – it’s one of the advantages of growing your own.

"At Standen we like to experiment and try different varieties each year.

"We work closely with the café too, selecting the right crops to harvest for them. For example, we would supply red beetroot for a chocolate beetroot cake but the white, yellow and pink varieties for use in a salad or tart."

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The Kitchen Garden is located within the 12-acre garden of Standen originally owned by Margaret Beale, an accomplished gardener, and her husband James, in the late 19th century.

The café's seasonal variety of dishes include rhubarb scones, summer berry crumble and Sussex apple cake.

In 2018, 663kg of fruit and veg was grown on site and provided to the café, with the most popular crops including 242kg pumpkin and squash, 75kg apples, 66kg beetroot, 62.7kg rhubarb and 26.4kg potatoes.

The Standen team also consider sustainability throughout their work.

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Carolyn said: "Our bean poles and pea sticks are coppiced from the woods and the bamboo canes are cut from the garden.

"We also make as much compost as we can which is put back on the garden to feed the soil.

"We follow organic and no-dig techniques to maintain a healthy soil and garden and encourage bees and beneficial insects by including a range of flowers and herbs in the kitchen garden, too."

For more information and opening times, click here.