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Autumn Feast on a theme of 'Harvest'

On Saturday 7th October 80 villagers came to the Memorial Hall to enjoy a Feast on the theme of Harvest, and this raised £1126 for Hall funds. (Even though the hall is very energy-efficient we still need to fundraise constantly so we can afford to pay for the steep rise in heating costs while keeping hire fees as low as possible for villagers.) A magnificent spread of delicious dishes had been brought along by very generous village cooks, and there was entertainment in the shape of a quiz about Autumn, and two fascinating and very relevant talks.

First Ian Cumming gave an enlightening demonstration about wheat: from primitive bread to Bake Off ‘Showstoppers’ . He milled some grain grown by David White in Lt Wilbraham into flour and made flatbreads as we watched. David grows one field of YQ (Yield and Quality) wheat as a live experiment, a blend which has been developed from a wide range of carefully chosen parent varieties, leading to fields of millions of genetically distinct individual wheat plants rather than the usual genetically uniform monocultures. (available from for those who want to try it.) Ian discussed the need for biodiversity and the avoidance of plant monocultures (eg bananas). Being Ian, he had of course also brought along a spectacular bake in the shape of a massive cone of profiteroles glued together with caramel (Croquembouche), which was utterly delicious - something which fortunate villagers now have come to expect from all his bakes. The time-lapsed video of his hours of work in the kitchen as the cone steadily grew was also fascinating.

Gavin Shelton of Cambridge CoFarm talked about the community market garden on Barnwell Road that he started on the ground in May 2020, with the help so far of 150 volunteers. It aims to “bring people together to grow and share nutritious food and help build stronger communities and healthier ecosystems.” Since its first harvest in 2020 the farm has donated over 12 tonnes of fruit and vegetables to people facing food insecurity across Cambridge. They are currently in discussion with Fulbourn Manor about establishing a second site there. You can donate or subscribe to their newsletter for updates on this wonderful project. Many thanks to Gavin for his fascinating talk, and also to his school careers teacher, who set him off on the right track!

Ruth Sinclair's Autumn Quiz showed yet again that our villagers are up to any challenge, and they were particularly impressive on the leaf identification photographs. The ‘Barefoot Doctors Table’ came first and went away with some packets of pollinator seeds to encourage next year's harvest - a perfectly fitting prize! Rob, Rosie & Emily White successfully guessed the weight of the pumpkin and John Tanburn was the lucky winner of the Fortnum’s Hamper in the raffle. Many thanks go to Ian and Gavin for their excellent contributions; to Rosie White for the beautiful flowers; to Paul & Sue Lambton for setting up the bar; to Cheryl Patey, Judy Whybrow, Jane Munro & Jenny Upton who bravely spent the evening washing up; and of course, to Emma Adams who yet again organised the speakers, the quiz, and coordinated everyone to bake and wash up. Thanks also to Chris Fell for event photography.

Very great thanks go to everyone for buying tickets, and for bringing such fabulous food for us all to share.

Ruth Sinclair - Trustee


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