After a 24 hour delay due to the car misbehaving (flat battery) I finally got to visit Jekka's Herb Farm today. Jekka is the most famous herb grower in the country thanks, at least in part, to the fact that she's helped plan and plant Jamie Oliver's herb garden. Normally you can only buy from her online but three times a year she has an open weekend where you can visit and collect your own herbs.
Despite the fact that the 'farm' (more like a commercial nursery) is down pretty, twisting country roads it's not quite as romantic as you might think. I was expecting a beautiful Sissinghurst-style herb garden rather than a few polytunnels but everything in them looked robustly healthy. I went mad and bought a whole range of herbs for the tiny paved area outside our flat: parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, mint and oregano - and rather more ambitiously chervil and tarragon, herbs that are tricky to grow. Plus a couple of 'cut and come again' living salads that I hope will see us through the summer.
I hardly like to admit how much it cost, rationalising it on the basis that it's cheaper than buying cut herbs and that it worked out less than a night out for two at a cheap(ish) restaurant. But by the time I'd bought a couple of extra containers, some compost and a small fork and trowel I'd spent a fair bit.
As it was brighter than forecast this afternoon I potted everything up and must say it looks pretty good. I christened the pots by adding some just-picked oregano and mint to a pork osso buco this evening the recipe for which I'll post in a couple of days' time.
As we were out and about we decided to do our weekend shop at Waitrose for once which cost a further hefty amount, despite the cheapness of the pork (£3.45 for enough for 4). Which made me realise that going shopping with the car is a Bad Idea. If you only buy what you can carry you're less likely to overspend - although obviously it depends how near you are to the shops.
How do you shop? Do you take the car and do one big weekly shop? If so do you find you need to top up again during the week? Or do you shop on foot and carry your shopping home? Which do you think is cheaper?