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Growing Team News, and Easter Goodies from Noble and Stace

On this blustery and cold day, with hopefully the last of this spring’s snow, the growing team is now in full seed sowing production. March is the start of the main growing season and we have lots of seedlings on our propagation beds. These are slightly unique in that the heat actually comes from upcycled electric blankets. We have designed the 2 main propagators to utilise the blankets and I can honestly report that they have given us great service over the past 5 years. The benches are covered over by thick plastic and then a layer of sand. The secret is not to let the sand dry out when switched on and this seems to give us the desired warmth for the many seedlings that are placed on top. I am also pleased to report that Sonia has just put the finishing touches to the new propagation bench in the horticulture therapy polytunnel, built by her first client. This too is operated with an upcycled heated blanket. Adrian has been busy fitting the requisite electricity to the polytunnel, so hopefully this will be fully operational for our horticulture therapy clients.

This week, we will start to put out some lovely Easter goodies in the shop including plants and wreaths. I have also sourced a local chocolate company, namely Noble and Stace, that make their chocolate goodies in Midhurst. Mike Noble, who owns the business, sources his couverture mainly from a company called Barry Callebaut. They are a large worldwide processor of cocoa beans but are committed to sustainable cocoa farming and support many small farmers across all cocoa growing regions. A lot of his core products are made using a key local ingredient, such as coffee from Edgcumbes near Arundel, local ales, local gin, Sussex sparkling wines and South Downs Mineral Water. One of his Easter eggs has Chilgrove Truffle eggs. Mike is in his third year of business and still makes everything himself in small batches and as often as possible, so the finished products are as fresh as possible when people are buying them. He operates from a converted double garage at his home.

I wanted to canvas opinion to see if there was any interest in buying some of Mike’s Easter Eggs as I will buy some for the shop if there is a positive response. Pictured below are some of the eggs (they are priced from £9.50 – £18 and flavours include:

  • Milk or Dark chocolate hollow
  • Milk or Dark Embedded – the dark with fruit and seeds, the milk with mini eggs
  • Milk or Dark with either salted caramel chocolates inside or with hazelnut pralines inside
  • Dark chocolate with Chilgrove gin truffles inside

Do let me know if they are of interest so I can make a decision whether to purchase some.

Tickets are still on sale for this week’s South Down’s Film night on Friday. We are looking forward to hearing all about how the film was made and the work that is done in the National Park.