5 July 2002

Your harvest hamper can win a bundle of goodies

YOURE combining or grain-carting and you see the ATV or pick-up truck heading towards you. Its a fantastic sight. It means: Food. It means: Drink. It means: A brief and well-deserved break. Yes, the arrival of refreshments when youre slogging away in the sunshine is one of harvests greatest pleasures.

Years ago, harvest meals used to be communal affairs – great picnics featuring huge cheeses and flagons of cider. Those days may be long gone, but the lunch, tea or supper taken in the field or cab is still an integral part of harvest.

And, lets be honest, were all rather particular when it comes to the contents of our food parcels arent we! One farmer Farmlife talked to was adamant salami helps his concentration. Another enjoys nothing more on the combine than rollmop herrings and evaporated milk. One even confessed to munching his way through anything between one and five (yes five!) pork pies a day.

So, we want to know what youll be scoffing this summer. Tell us what five items you want in your harvest hamper – or, if youre making it for someone else, the food its more than your lifes worth to forget. Add a line or two explaining why and dont forget to tell us which meal its for and you could win a delicious bundle of savoury goodies, worth about £10. Your prize will be delivered, free of charge, from top butcher Joe Collier of Eastwoods in Berkhamsted, Herts.

Farmlifes Tim Relf knows exactly what he wants from a harvest lunch:

&#8226 Scotch eggs. Small, durable and easily wrapped, the Scotch egg is a design masterpiece – ideal for picnic baskets and tupperware boxes. Theyre pretty delicious too. The only disappointment is that they havent actually got Scotch in them!

&#8226 Malt loaf. A strangely-addictive product. I go through about three a week at the peak of harvest. Three malt loaves, that is, not three slices! Tastes best with about two inches of butter on top!

&#8226 Coffee. A flask of strong coffee provides just the pick-me-up you need to combat that mid-afternoon trough in concentration. The milkier the better (well, youve got to support the dairy farmers havent you!)

&#8226 Pineapple cubes. Eating them out of the tin with dirty fingers, then drinking the juice. Probably highly unhygienic – but absolutely unbeatable.

&#8226 Apples. The ideal snack. Thirst-quenching, healthy and can be eaten easily when on the move. Theres something strangely satisfying about throwing the core from the tractor cab, too.

To tell us whats in your Harvest Hamper, write to Farmlife Harvest Hamper, farmers weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS or email tim.relf@rbi.co.uk