Somerset Wildlife Trust is running a hedgerow jam and jelly making competition as part of the Wells Food Festival in October. Winners will be announced on Sunday 12 October by ‘jam mistress’ Vivien Lloyd, and Trust President Stephen Moss, before being enjoyed by up to 200 people at a traditional cream tea in celebration of Somerset’s countryside and local producers.
The competition is open exclusively to members of the Trust and first prize is a jam-making masterclass with Vivien, an inspirational tutor and author on the subject of traditional preserves. Vivien has featured in the Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and on the BBC’s The One Show. She said: “Hedgerow jams and jellies are a celebration of our natural environment. Helpful hints and tips to make prize-winning preserves can be found on my website.” Trust members wanting to enter the competition must include fruits associated with hedgerows in their jams and jellies, such as crab apples, blackberries and damsons, in order to qualify.
In some parts of the country 50 per cent of hedgerows have gone, a factor which has been identified in the decline of many plant and animal species traditionally associated with farmland. Hedgerows enable essential corridors for wildlife to travel between habitats, and may also support up to 80 per cent of woodland birds in the UK.
Simon Nash, Somerset Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, is himself a jam-maker and will be amongst those entering the competition. He said: “Somerset has a rich network of hedgerows which provide vital links in the habitat chain. Since World War II, however, hedgerows have been removed at a much faster rate than they have been planted. The countryside provides food for both people and wildlife, so this competition is a great opportunity to show what our hedgerows have to offer.”
Wells Food Festival was established in 2013 to celebrate Somerset produce. The first event, a Great Somerset Sunday Lunch, attracted over 3500 people and offered a variety of lunches, talks, markets and a vintage tea party, as well as providing visitors with the opportunity to sample a variety of local food and drink. This year’s festival on Sunday 12 October seeks to increase awareness of what the county has to offer and to support its local producers, farmers and the economy of Wells’ food shops and market.
For information on how to enter, competition rules and to download the Somerset Wildlife Trust jam label, visit somersetwildlife.org/jam. The closing date for entries is Friday, October 3.
To become a member of Somerset Wildlife Trust visit www.somersetwildlife.org or call 01823 652429.
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