First commercial lentil crop in Britain harvested in Ashwell

PUBLISHED: 14:08 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 05 September 2017

Farmer Tim Gawthroup and his wife Sandra with Josaih Meldrum from Hodmedod's British Grown Pulses and Grains. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Farmer Tim Gawthroup and his wife Sandra with Josaih Meldrum from Hodmedod's British Grown Pulses and Grains. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

A farm in Ashwell has its finger on the pulse with a harvest that they were told “couldn’t be done”.

Ashwell farmer Tim Gawthroup with Britain's first commercial lentil crop. Picture: Karyn HaddonAshwell farmer Tim Gawthroup with Britain's first commercial lentil crop. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The farmers behind Hodmedod, a British pulse and grain company, have been unlocking the secrets of this crop in the face of conventional wisdom that said lentils need a hotter, drier climate.

But on September 1, specially adapted combine harvesters went into action and gathered a successful crop of the pulses, which will go on sale in independent whole food shops in Hertfordshire and beyond later in the year.

According to Josiah Meldrum at Hodmedod, Tim Gawthroup’s farm on Partridge Hill in Ashwell has just the right chalky soil and altitude for lentils.

“Tim is a bit of a pioneer,” said Josiah, who also grows a rare variety of red haricot bean on Tim’s farm.

Farmer Tim Gawthroup harvests the lentil crop. Picture: Karyn HaddonFarmer Tim Gawthroup harvests the lentil crop. Picture: Karyn Haddon

One of the reasons lentils were not seen as viable in Britain was the dominance of mass-produced lentils from Canada that flood the market.

But Hodmedod are able to reduce costs by keeping everything local, according to Josiah.

He also claims the lentils - which are the same variety that are grown in Puy, France - taste better than mass-produced ones, with a more peppery flavour.

“The assumption is that it’s a vegetarian food,” said Josiah. “But there’s a lot of people who are just into good food, and I suggest you look up the classic French and Italian recipes where lentils provide real, earthy flavour.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

06:56

With the festive season approaching, Melbourn Amateur Dramatics Society are busy putting the final touches in their annual Christmas pantomime.

Yesterday, 16:55

Garden House Hospice Care held its first Strictly Come Dancing-inspired fundraiser in Letchworth on Saturday, and it was 10s all round on the night.

Yesterday, 12:15

A singing Royston accountant is set to release his debut single – with town businesses and organisations featuring in the charity video.

Yesterday, 11:51

The family of Royston dad-of-three Mitchell Bailey, who died when a fire engine crashed while responding to a 999 call have said their “happy and contented family has been left broken” and they feel the driver “showed no compassion”, after a jury found him not guilty of dangerous driving on Friday last week.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy