Christmas Sprouting

We have just finished off the last of our sprouts from the festive season. As with most families our opinion is divided as to the merits of this very English of Christmas traditions. Personally I think you can’t beat a crispy bacon and sprout combination a la Jamie. Our love of this vegetable at Pickwell has been enhanced by the generous gift each Christmas Eve of several magnificent sprout stems (and a few super swedes) from our lovely neighbours at Pickwell Barton Farm. The Cooks are a wonderful family who have been farming Pickwell for over 100 years.

This year the Cooks were keen to come and support our Purple Ball despite it being one of the busiest weeks of their year with the sprout harvest. We were so delighted they were able to make it. To help out (but not much!!!) Richard offered his highly tuned sprout harvesting skills. What he discovered was the most amazing collective effort of local farmers, family and friends working hard together.

The sprout field this year was situated opposite our gates. Never has a sprout had such an amazing view, looking out over Baggy Point and the wild winter sea. Rich had taken a few photos of his morning for us to put on the blog, but then I came across this amazing video journal by Richard Gregory from This beautiful film captured the sprout harvest at the Cooks so much better than any photo we could take, I was completely blown away (the surfings not bad either!!!!!!). So here it is....

Brussell sprouts, Neil Clifton and a perfect swell from wavedreamer on Vimeo.

The sprout sorting barn is situated just a few yards from our back door, so me, Susie and the girls hopped over the wall with hot mulled apple juice and mince pies to feed the hungry workers at the end of a hard morning sprouting. It really is the most fascinating process watching the sprouts going down the conveyor belt, hand sorted so only the finest get through. Rich very much enjoyed the conveyor belt banter and the challenge of being constantly pelted with rejected sprouts by Peter (Cook Junior). What a treat to get a glimpse into the process behind the harvesting of this Christmas dinner essential in such great company. Thank you the Cook Family!