Emma Heseltine - 12 May 2013
This week I committed a farmer sin, I went on holiday. It seems to me that not many farmers go away for a break very often, what’s the reason for this? Is there no time? Do we have such a pride that we feel nobody could look after our animals for a week to let us recharge our batteries? I for one am a big fan of battery recharging, I think I can work much better and harder when I have had some time to do little, relax and recuperate after the dramas of lambing before we roll into the dramas of hay.
In any case the boss kindly offered to watch over my pigs and we headed off to the sun for a week. I love the Greek; I think on the islands they have a wonderful outlook on life. It’s Easter when we visit so there is a party atmosphere everywhere we go; music, fireworks, parades, dancing and Easter biscuits handed out here and there. There is such a strong food culture which comes across so well in the incredibly fresh food, and pride in anything that is produced right here on the island and cooked in our kitchen (usually to mother’s old recipe).
For us the best are the thyme flower honey and oranges from the groves that are all over the place, cheese pies, smokey village sausage rolls and bread from the bakery in the village. Gigantes, butter beans in tomato sauce and anything with feta cheese in. The Robola wine made by a co-operative of over 300 small vineyards across Kefalonia catches my imagination. It’s delicious and the way it is made is a fantastic local production story. Being typical farmers we don’t just look at all the normal tourist things but drive all across the mountains spotting hay being baled in early May (envy, no bother getting it dry here!) tiny vineyards on steep slopes, olive groves with sheep grazing under them and shepherds sleeping under the trees, and the lemon trees that pop up everywhere. Goats meander across the roads in the afternoons with jangling bells, on some mission to reach the nicer munchables further down the slopes. And everywhere, everyone has a little plot, with potatoes and onions and courgettes and all kinds of veg growing amongst the riots of flowers I can’t even begin to name. It seems the way things should be.
Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.