I can’t think of many better ways to celebrate the end of spring than a feast and a night under canvas. Especially when it happens to be a seasonal feast on a gorgeous 150 year-old Herefordshire farm.
We’ve been to a few wild feasts by Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods over the years, and each one has been filled with unexpected delights and great company. The food is always home-grown and foraged from local fields, mountains and hedgerows.
Liz’s warmth, enthusiasm and passion for wild plants spills out into her local community and beyond, bringing people together in the best of ways.
This time Liz introduced us to the wonderful Bradley family, our hosts at Home Farm, Dulas. Home Farm is a Herefordshire beauty. The buildings glow warmly, the farmhouse is covered in wisteria, and Poll Dorset sheep graze the pastures spreading out around us.
After many happy years of sheep farming, the Bradley family have opened their doors to new ventures. You can stay at the farmhouse B&B, in the holiday barn, or even in a classic VW camper or traditional yurt. There’s also a stunner of an event venue, The Haybarn. Although preparations for the feast were well underway when we arrived, it didn’t stop us having a wonderful welcome from sisters Emma and Becca and their Dad Will.
Places like The Haybarn are special. You feel their character as much as see it in the bricks and beams. Memories of sweet harvests past are etched into the space, reminders of what went before. Sun rays slant through floor-to-ceiling windows, bringing the Golden Valley in. Repurposed hay rakes now hang as architectural chandeliers cleverly made by Will. I have a thing for barns (put it down to the rural childhood), and this one is my new favourite.
In fact the whole place is my fantasy farm, from the bubbling brook to the collection of dogs and animals. The star of the show, Snowdrop the donkey, graciously meets guests on the lawn and sneaks into the field for a naughty mouthful of forbidden grass.
We set up home for the night in Home Farm’s yurt by the river, kindly invited by Emma. Set in a field under an ancient oak tree, it’s idyllic. Inside, Soft rugs, oversized beanbags and mismatched furniture give a luxurious but relaxed, bohemian feel. Will makes sure a crackling log fire keeps us toasty warm. It’s somewhere you could easily spend days exploring and relaxing.
As the light fades the chatter rises in The Haybarn. We share a delicious three courses foraged by Liz and featuring lamb from the farm. It really is zero food mile eating. The Nuadha Quartet with Spanish, Moroccan, Brazilian and Celtic heritage bring us bouncy, upbeat world jazz. Local meets global.
Wild spring feast menu
Rabbit, chicory & wild onions in hay infused broth
Thistle stem & almond gratin (vegan & gluten free)
Kleftiko lamb (sourced from Home Farm) & potatoes with wild marjoram & yarrow
Broadbeans & homemade feta with bee balm & wild basil
Venetian hop shoot risotto with lilac & pea oil (vegan & gluten free)
Wild cherry & meadowsweet black forest gateau
Wild strawberry, honeysuckle & rose pavlova
At the end of the feast we crunch back to the yurt across the farmyard. The music fades into the dark. Stars overhead. The Golden Valley air is fresh, with a faint hint of woodsmoke. Lanterns throw shadows on the canvas and wooden spokes spread out above our heads. Somewhere an owl calls as we drift off into the wild spring night.
Collaboration disclosure note: Thank you to Emma and the Bradley family for kindly gifting us a one night stay in their lovely traditional yurt in return for my honest review. Thank you Liz Knight for the introductions. We bought our own tickets to the wild feast. All words, thoughts and images are my own.