Meet the Team …
So much has been changing and developing in the last year and it’s time to finally share some of the stories, behind the scenes and incredible staff members with you.
This week we’re sharing our phenomenal Head Grower, Lucy Birnie, and the transformation of our growing space. Lucy has already grown an array of herbs and vegetables, providing seasonal produce for our brand new plant based Garden Kitchen.
To introduce you to Lucy, I asked her a few questions…
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I like to spend time with my wife and walk our dogs, Jessie and Olivia, around the Norfolk countryside. I also really enjoy taking up-close flower photography, I’ve actually entered into a few competitions with it before!
What’s your dream dinner party?
That’s a tough one. It’d have to be Simon Rogan, Tommy Banks and John Williamson. We’d eat a massive tasting menu in my veg garden and talk about produce and growing.
What song never fails to get you dancing?
Drops of Jupiter by Train.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ideally in the, more mature, oasis of my veg garden!
When Lucy first arrived at West Lexham our kitchen garden was little more than a muddy field and some big dreams. Luckily for us, she is a font of knowledge and knew exactly what she needed to do to get started! The first step was to get beds in place for all our organic crops to be planted into. While this might sound like a simple process, a lot of research, hours and love had to be committed to ensure everything was in line with the biodynamic principals we’re following. Biodynamics is a method of organic growing that utilises aspects of astrological and spiritual values which, if you know us, aligns with West Lexham’s ethos.
With the beds prepared, ready for the new growth to begin, our second polytunnel could be formed. Our polytunnels are essential to our kitchen garden as they significantly extend the growing season so, even in winter, we can continue producing ingredients for our restaurant. In summer, they also create perfect humidity to grow vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. We have been lucky to recently have our first crop delivered to the café, into our delicious dishes and receive phenomenal feedback from both guests and staff alike.
When I asked Lucy what’s planned for the Kitchen Garden in the future, she was bursting with ideas she would like to cultivate. Here at West Lexham, one of our goals is to become as self-sufficient as possible and this is mirrored by our growing team. They are keen to start saving our own seed, so we can reduce the amounts we need to buy in and self-sustain our planting. Lucy would also like to start experimenting with more unusual varieties like Szechuan peppers and almonds. There is so much room to expand and experiment with our produce range and Lucy, with her passion and wisdom, is the ideal person to ensure we continue to flourish.
We can’t wait to share the plethora of hidden talents we have here including chefs, gardeners, healers, festival planners and so much more. Keep your eyes peeled for the extra tips and tricks they’ll be sharing along the way such as menu ideas, meditation advice and sustainable living hacks. We have so much to show you so, make sure you check in regularly to be in on the secrets!
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