Circumstances had progressed in a major way since my first visit to Little Brympton – Tasha and Patch now had official planning permission to be there!!
Little Brympton is located in Somerset just outside the village of Chiselborough near Crewkerne. It is the brainchild of Albert Holman who lived there for thirty years during which time he ran a market garden with his wife Anna and sold flowers. Sadly recent years have seen Albert’s health declining and he was finally forced to give up Little Brympton in 2014. He and his family chose Tasha and Patch, along with young daughter Lily to be tenants. He had met Tasha and patch when he supplied the homegrown flowers for their wedding.
The property comprises 2 acres of land which is planted with a hedonistic mix of trees, shrubs and large perennials, with a house of wooden structure with one room and small mezzanine. It is completely off grid – the water from the tap is filtered rain water, composting deals with the outside loo and the electricity is generated by solar panel installed by Patch. (Albert didn’t have any electricity)
For Tasha and Patch the offer of Little Brympton was a dream, and they moved in late in 2014 from nearby Tinker’s Bubble where they were some of the nine residents which make up this small woodland community (see post to follow shortly). Sadly they then also found out that they needed to apply for planning permission to live there legally for Albert’s permission was specifically for him! To say a period of insecurity followed is putting it mildly. BUT, all was now sorted, they had been granted full permission by the local authority!!! Planning and planting could go ahead with confidence!
Tasha and Patch’s plan is to develop the land at Little Brympton as cow-field (milk primarily for themselves from one cow), a small woodland, ornamental flowers, vegetables, homes for bees and ducks, and a farm shop – all on organic principles. They also renamed it Little Brympton Ecological Micro-Farm to reflect their ambitions.
The day I was there construction of the farm shop was well underway in the hands of Patch. Much cutting of wood and hammering of nails was converting a small out-building. A caravan had been installed for enticement of, and use by, WWOOF‘ers, whilst Tasha was busy making mead with some honey from a wild colony she collected and rehived and labelling the stock of Sea Buckthorn juice, one of the main ingredients of their proposed product range – to say nothing of making the odd loaf of bread forfamily use!
For those not familiar with the Sea Buckthorn juice (which included me prior to my visit!), its extracted from the berries of the sea buckthorn – a small prickly bush found in dry sandy places. The berries appear in late autumn and yield a juice which is bright orange in colour and one of those magic mixtures which are rich in virtually everything essential to human health. Tasha has been extracting it for several years and is well convinced of its virtues. Taste wise it might just need a little help say with a touch of honey, but Tasha has also found – and written about – its use in cooking ranging from bolognaise type sources to a quite sensational cocktail with prosseco and elderflower cordial..
After simple lunch to which we all contributed, I picked up my bottle of Sea Buckthorn juice and was on my way to my next visit, but once again, as with my first visit, bowled over by this little family who live so much in contact with the natural world around them. Sensitive and respectful, foragers as much as growers, they are surely an example of an ethos we must all seek to emulate.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ES