Visit to Becketts Farm

My recent trip to the UK ended with a visit to Becketts Farm shop in Wythall, just outside Birmingham.  Similar to a farmers’ market, farm shops bring together the farmer and the consumer; for the benefit of both.

I visited farm shops before and was always fascinated with the display of fresh produce straight from the fields.


Besides a whole array of fresh fruit and vegetables, these markets carry fresh dairy products, eggs, meat, chutneys, pickles, ciders and much more.

The Farm Shop

My visit to Becketts Farm started with a wander through the shopping area.  I wanted to buy some homemade chutneys to take back home, so I took the opportunity to browse through the whole length and breadth of the shop.

A smell of freshly baked bread coming from the bakery filled the air.  Families with small children going round the various counters getting their shopping.

Through one of the glass doors I could see a children’s cookery class underway.  What a good idea to teach kids a love for cooking good food from scratch!

The Farm Yard and Restaurant

I made my way back to the large farm yard …  and looked around. There was a conference hall down one side, arable land stretching for miles.  I saw a few goats close to the fence … and a tractor parked to one side.  There was also a nice florist and a restaurant.

The place was packed!  A cake was brought out from the kitchen to the sing along of “Happy Birthday”.  The place had such a warm feel to it!

I’m no good with English breakfast, but I found myself a very nice vegetarian meal and a nice glass of Pinot … at very good value for money too!  No wonder the restaurant at Becketts Farm won various awards.

It struck me as though Becketts Farm was more than just a shopping experience.  It was a family day out!

If you’re in the area, check them out.  They’re certainly on my list next time I visit Birmingham.

My thanks go to

Becketts Farm


Wells: A Gold Award winning farmers’ market

In 2014 the farmers’ market in Wells won the Gold Award in The Taste of the West Hospitality and Retail Awards as well as the best farmers’ market in south west England.


The hustle and bustle of a farmers’ market has a certain vibe which makes it unique. Hawkers calling … loud voices … people rushing from one stall to another … the smell of fresh produce … vibrant colours!  It’s so alive!

I love browsing through the food stalls … even if I’m not buying anything! With this in mind, I set out to have a wander around and find out more about the farmers’ market in Wells.

Where is it?

As you get to the high street, you come across a flea market with stalls selling the typical bric-a-brac, antiques and other collectables.  Turn right at the top end of the road and there you find the farmers’ market.

It’s “an extension” of the flea market; located right outside the walls of the Bishop’s Palace and opposite the Local Council’s office.

What can you buy?

The farmers’ market is made up of seventeen stalls offering a wide variety of good quality food from meat to fish, to cheese, fruit and veg, cakes, homemade jams and chutneys, lemonade and much more.

The products sold at the market have one thing in common. They’re all sourced or produced in Somerset, by members of the local community.

As with many farmers’ markets, the main objective behind the market is to provide a platform for producers and customers to meet. Farmers’ markets provide an excellent opportunity for farmers to sell their produce directly to the consumer, making high quality food more affordable.

The farmers’ market in Wells is held between 9am to 2.30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Next week … a visit to a farm shop.

My thanks go to:

Somerset Farmers’ Markets




Watermelon: more than just a fruit

During the hot summer months, chilled watermelon is one of the most refreshing fruits you can think of.  Here in Malta, families and friends organise beach BBQs throughout summer.  They make the most of the balmy summer evenings with picnic coolers full of food – meat, fish, salads, beer, wine, nuts etc. – and head to their favourite beach (which is only a short distance away).

If the evening is hot and sticky they go for a dip before they light up … the smell of smoked food fills the air.  They eat and drink … and as the last cinders die out between the charcoal, out comes the watermelon from the cooler.  It is cut up in slices and everyone helps themselves.  They’re stuffed, but no BBQ is complete without the sweet, refreshing taste of a ripe watermelon.

Fruit or Veg?

Watermelon is generally thought of as a fruit.  But, according to some interesting facts I came across, watermelon is also a vegetable. It is related to cucumbers, pumpkin and squash.  Did you know you can eat the seeds and the rind of the watermelon?  I have never tried it myself, but studies show that if you blitz the rind with lime juice, you end up with a very refreshing treat full of the amino-acid Citrulline which, is very good for your heart and to maintain your immune system.

In Southern United States, the rind is stir-fried, stewed or pickled and in the Vietnamese culture, the seeds of the watermelon are used in the New Year.

Do you know where the watermelon came from?

GeoffreyNdung’u - watermelon in fields

It was the Moors who introduced the watermelon to Europe.  The fruit is a native of South Africa where it grows wild.  In the second millennium BC, it was grown around the Nile Valley and seeds of the watermelon were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Today, China is the biggest producer of watermelons.

There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon.  The size of a fruit ranges from under one kilogram to over 90.  The flesh and the rind vary in colour.  The flesh of the watermelon comes in red, orange, yellow or white and the rind comes in yellow, dark green stripped and other colours.

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Is watermelon good for you?

Watermelon is 91% water but it is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and lycopene – a carotenoid antioxidant which decreases the risk of strokes and has potential anti-cancer activity.

Watermelon has a number of health benefits, which makes it good for you, but as always, eat it in moderation.  Go easy cause watermelon contains plenty of sugar (fructose).

How can you use watermelon?

Watermelon can be used both as dessert and as a salad ingredient.

It goes very well with herbs such as mint and basil and it also works well with certain types of cheeses.  Try this three melon and mozzarella salad or this Asian burger with minted watermelon.

For a refreshing drink, try this watermelon-lime cooler or watermelon jelly.  And for the little ones … how about watermelon lime ginger pops?

Keep cool this summer with one of nature’s gifts – a thirsty-quenching, refreshing watermelon.

If you would like to find out more about the health benefits of watermelons, go to 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Watermelon by Dr Mercola or for interesting facts check out Watermelon on Wiki.


My thanks go to:

  • Wikipedia
  • Google images

Real powerfoods

What are “powerfoods”?

In all probability you have quite a selection of powerfoods in your kitchen.  You  are just not aware of their potential.  Powerfoods are, very much, everyday foods; real foods – from the earth to the table – to use one of my favourite expressions!  Powerfoods are made up fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains and beans as well as some exotic stuff, such as green tea, honey and turmeric.

Why are these foods classified as powerfoods?

Powerfoods energise and balance the body.  They make you feel good and healthy. Powerfoods are almost always whole, but not necessarily raw or gluten-free.  Their chemical influence on the body includes:

  • Alkaline-forming vs. acid-forming
  • Organic vs. chemical-infused
  • Raw vs. cooked
  • Gluten-free vs. gluten-containing foods
  • Complex carbohydrates (smart carbs) vs. simple sugars (dumb carbs)
  • Whole vs. processed.


Here is a list of powerfoods (thanks to with their nutritional benefits:


Apples: Powerfood Pomme

Bananas:  Healthy, Silly and Sexy   

Lemons: the Alkaline Powerfood

Mangos:   10 Health Benefits

Pears: ‘Gift of the Gods’

Pumpkins:  the biggest powerfood…ever!

Saskatoons: Our favorite berry.

Raspberries:  Summer Red Powerfood.

Watermelon:  It’s alkaline and tastes soo good.


Asparagus:  The Balanced Powerfood

Cabbage: The big Powerfood for glowing skin and hair – some say it collects “moon power”

Carrots:  This crunchy powerfoods have health benefits that go beyond your eyes!

Celery for Weight Loss and Calm

Cranberries:  The little powerfood with a big punch!

Green Peas:  Much MORE than a poor man’s meat!

Onions:  The World Health Organization says “Eat them for Better health”

Spinach:  The First Green Powerfood

Squash:  Powerfood for all seasons

Zucchini Love:  Why Diana Had to live on this nutritious powerfood

 Nuts and seeds:

Almonds: King of nuts

Walnuts:  The crinkly powerfood with the highest antioxidant activity of any nut

Pumpkin Seeds: The alkalizing seed

Grains and beans:

Brown Rice: Why it is better then white rice

Lentils:  This high protein, low cost bean is a stable of healthy diets

Millet: The alkalizing grain

Quinoa Powerfood: This nutty flavored powerfood  is pronounced Keen – Wa

Oatmeal: 10 smart reasons to enjoy oatmeal.


Green Tea:  the Powerfood that Rules the World

Honey: 10 Health Benefits

Miso: Powerfood from the East

Seaweed: Ancient Powerfood

Stevia:  Learn its sweet benefits

Tumeric:  The REAL Spice of Life.

I bet there’s hardly one item on the above list you are not familiar with.  Too right!  Powerfoods are real foods.  Good natural food … try to go for organic when you can and if not, wash your fruit and veg well.

Out with food supplements and in with powerfoods.

For further reading go to




On Sunday, I went to the strawberry festival held in the quaint little Maltese village of Mgarr.   I had never been to “Festa frawli” as it is locally known; quite popular on the Maltese calendar of events.

I planned to take some nice photos, but, in the end, only got the one!

Strawberry festival 2016

When I posted this photo on Facebook, a friend of mine commented about the pesticides used in cultivating strawberries.  I never really thought of it!  Another friend, told me he does not buy strawberries for health reasons.  Hmmm …

I decided to have a quick look on the web, to find out how common practice the use of pesticides is, and came across this article.

Should we worry about pesticides in strawberries?

Not sure.  The article seems to confirm what my friend said; it is very difficult to grow strawberries without the use of pesticides.  What a pity!

I remember the typical Maltese strawberry which was very small and sweet.  At the time, pesticides weren’t widely used and fruits were only available in their “right” season.

strawberries on the vineThe little, sweet strawberries gave way to the big strawberries which are now available from December through to June.

Are we forcing nature to produce more? Could this be the reason why pesticides and chemicals are a must, nowadays?

I do not know the answer to these questions.  All I know is that, when I tried buying strawberries at Christmastime, I was very disappointed. The taste of out-of-season strawberries leaves a lot to be desired; they’re at their best in the spring and early summer.

The article I referred to for research purposes talks about strawberry farming and strawberry picking in New Hampshire. I am not aware of places where you can do your own strawberry picking, in Malta and I’m not so sure if you can buy organic local strawberries.

If you know where to buy organic local strawberries from, would you be kind enough to leave a comment to share, please? Thank you …