For those of you in the South West Surrey area or indeed wanting to visit, I thought I'd share some special finds. Firstly if you're a fan of bread then you need to contact Richard Dean or Fiona Scimone who run St Mary's Bakery from Frensham ( a small village near Farnham). They make only sourdough bread that doesn't use yeast; it rises over much more time and takes delicious. I can't really eat any other bread now. They work from their home and despite such modest set-up they have been featured on R4 Food Programme no less. You need to order the bread a few days in advance (and live near Farnham) and they will deliver it. You can always pick it up at my shop! Contact Richard or Fiona on 01252 792810 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a picture of them I swiped from the Farnham Maltings website.
Then more recently I have discovered the world of unpasteurised 'raw' milk. It's important, I guess, when something keeps coming to your consciousness. I met some interesting New Yorkers on holiday who drank unpasteurised milk and then when I was doing my permaculture course in Sussex I tried to make it to Plaw Hatch Farm to buy it. Then I discovered one afternoon of browsing that there was a farm on my doorstep - or at least 6 miles or so away, just over the border into Hampshire between Churt and Headley. Funny that neither they nor St Mary's bakery have a website (too busy making their delicious fayre). Anyway, it is called Meadow Cottage Farm and the contact details are:
Tel: 01428 712155
They sell unpasteurised milk and cream from Jersey cows and most delicious ice-cream too. The milk is like milk we used to drink as children, with lots of creamy bits at the top. Apparently the good bacteria is destroyed during pasteurisation and it is this that make it more nutritious, tasty and also more digestible. I really don't see myself going back to supermarket milk now. Also, they say kids who drink raw milk don't suffer from eczema and asthma. They are open most days - but best to call if you're making a special journey. You can stock up on frozen milk too or freeze it yourself so you make the most of the trip. It is whole milk but I feel that if you eat really natural stuff it's much better for you - it's the junk that puts the weight on. You can only buy raw milk at the farm gate or at farmer's markets. They are regularly inspected by the health and safety brigade.
Finally I am also astounded by the wonderful footpath and commons network that we have down here. I can walk out of my house and one field back from the houses in Elstead, my village and I'm on common land. I only got into walking regularly when I came down here and also got a dog but I'm told that this part of the world is particularly good compared to many other counties in the country because they have been enclosed for much longer. You see, Surrey was one of the poorest counties because the land was so poor. This has resulted in it having all these lovely footpaths and commons and fantastic tree cover. There was no point cutting down all the trees because the land was bad for cultivation. It was only when they built the railways that Surrey changed and became the commuter land that it now is.
I mentioned before my admiration for Louis de Berniere's "Notwithstanding" which is set in this part of the world. This book amongst its many attributes brings to life the last days of the era of the original rural folk and their connection with place. When I'm walking I'm reminded of these people who used to walk from village to village probably along these footpaths before the roads came. It also calls to mind Lark Rise to Candleford and all the to-ing and fro-ing between the villages and towns, nearly all on foot. Maybe when the oil runs out we'll have to do this, but even if it doesn't I can't recommend it more as a means of getting from A to B. Though, it might take me rather a long time to walk to Meadow Cottage Farm. I'd probably get there and back in a day.