30 August 2002

Harvest hamper faves

We asked you to write and tell us what five items you

most look forward to seeing in your harvest hamper

when youre working in the summer fields – or which

items its more than your lifes worth to forget to

include if youre making one for someone else.

Here are five of the many letters Farmlife received

Here are two typical packed lunches given to my husband. As all farmers wives would agree, we are the last to know the plans for the following day and we are still trying to fine-tune our psychic powers. So, these two lunches show the difference in having been given notice or not.

Packed lunch with notice (in a cool box)

&#8226 Ham salad baguette. Made with a fresh baguette and salad bought specially. Very appetising.

&#8226 Meatloaf. Because its his favourite.

&#8226 Fruit salad. Put in a Tupperware container with a spoon.

&#8226 Boiled fruit cake. Very tasty.

&#8226 Coffee. Keeps him awake.

Packed lunch without notice (in an old icecream container)

&#8226 Bacon roll. Bacon left over from breakfast.

&#8226 Turkey wing. Left over from last nights supper.

&#8226 Apple cake. From yesterdays pudding.

&#8226 Banana. Over-ripe – will be black by lunchtime.

&#8226 Coffee. After finding flask which was left in cab last week.

Mrs D E Willams, Raglan, Gwent.

My husband, Andrew, insisted I write and tell you of his favourite tea-time meal at harvest time:

&#8226 My home-cooked succulent honey roast ham, with a touch of English mustard -thinly sliced and placed on top of:

&#8226 Finely-shredded cold iceberg lettuce and, fresh from the greenhouse, tomatoes full of flavour and smelling of summer placed on top of:

&#8226 A thick slice of crusty wholemeal bread and butter.

&#8226 A scone topped with butter and lashings of his grans home-made raspberry jam.

&#8226 An old-fashioned milk can filled with tea that is just warm when it arrives in the field – not forgetting the well-used and chipped pint mug. The can stays in the field for quick swigs of cold tea later on to keep the dust at bay.

Margaret A Webster, Aughton, Lancs.

My old man was fair drooling when he gave me his ideal harvest meal. It would include:

&#8226 A granary roll using half a stack of wheat, filled with a half inch-thick slice of cooked beef with lashings of wholegrain mustard.

&#8226 A large wedge of Bramley apple pie with a doorstep of strong cheese.

&#8226 An enormous slice of orange and lemon cake – just like grandma used to make!

&#8226 Half a dozen Russet apples – he loves that nutty flavour.

&#8226 Two flasks of strong black coffee – preferably filtered.

Then he said: "Is that all I can have?"

Mrs L Rank, Malton, North Yorks.

The five chosen items for my husbands lunch are:

&#8226 A large flask of hot chocolate. He likes this both in the summer and the winter.

&#8226 Two bacon and tomato baps, preferably with home-made chutney. Theyre filling and crunchy.

&#8226 Cheese and oatcakes. Ideally Wensleydale.

&#8226 Cold-tea fruit loaf. Any filling fruit cake is acceptable.

&#8226 A mandarin or tangerine – theyre quickly peeled and juicy.

Rosalind Hall, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire.

PS: In 38 years of marriage, I reckon Ive made between 9120 and 10,000 picnic lunches.

Our men like to have their cooked meal as usual when working.

So, when harvesting or shearing on any one of the three units away from the home base, I take roast meat, roast and boiled potatoes, two veg, gravy and any accompaniments such as Yorkshire puddings and sauces (in the saucepans), together with puddings such as apple pies, crumbles and custard/ice cream. All this is followed by various drinks and biscuits.

As the men dont really like the food to be put out on their plates for them, the food is put into dishes so they can serve it themselves.

I have loading up the vehicle down to a fine art now – I know just where to place each saucepan. The journey can be up to five miles long – but I get the food there before it gets cool.

Yetta Littlehales,

Minsterley, Shropshire.