Featured Follower Series: Meet Hill Top Gardener

Our featured follower series is the chance for us to show you the outstandingly talented members of the #khoollectcommunity. They’re the small businesses, the makers, the growers, the digital stars of our community, not dictated by likes and follows but by genuine talent and an interesting story.

When we happened upon this week’s Khoollect community member, we couldn’t wait to share him with you.

Living in South Wales, Sam Richards has the kind of country lifestyle we can only fawn over right now. Growing his own produce on his hill top allotment and documenting his achievements on his blog, there’s a lot to be learnt from this guy. We caught up with him to find out a little more.

Instagram/Twitter account: @HilltopGardener

Website: http://thehilltopgardener.blogspot.co.uk/

Where in the world do you live? Pencoed, South Wales

What do you do? My day job is as a Proposals Manager but my passion is my allotment; as a family we spend as much time there as we can.

One place you’d tell people to visit in your city/town?  The Hare and Hounds in Aberthin is a must visit if you are in the area, the pig cheeks are to die for. If you’re looking for an excuse to visit Wales then Green Man festival is also a winner.

What do you khoollectI collect different seed varieties each year, things that you just can’t buy in a supermarket or even a greengrocer. This year it’s a striped beetroot variety called Barbabietola di Chioggia, it has all the taste of a normal beetroot but none of the mess when preparing; plus it looks fantastic in any dish that it is used in. Last year it was cima di rapa a sort of super punchy sprouting broccoli, next year it will be something else. There’s such a variety of vegetables available that many people have never even heard of, often the only way you can get these is by growing your own.

sam richards hill top gardener

What’s your favourite recipe? We try to eat as seasonally as possible so at the moment it is a raw beetroot and tomato salad, dressed simply with a good olive oil and often with some mozzarella or ricotta scattered over the top. If we’re lucky enough to find some wild horseradish this is a great accompaniment too. Something that I always look forward to is asparagus season but perhaps even more so before that, the first purple sprouting broccoli of the year. It always takes centre stage whether dressed in honey and mustard or just a plain natural yoghurt with plenty of salt and pepper it never fails to impress.

What’s your favourite book? The book that without doubt has inspired me most is the original River Cottage cookbook by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. It was an education at the time and to this day still acts as a valuable source of information and inspiration.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I have ever received is to pursue your dreams and do what makes you happy. When I first got an allotment, over ten years ago, I was the youngest on site by about thirty years, people thought that I was mad. Now it is much more popular and there is a whole wave of younger people that are coming around to the benefits of it. By passionately pursuing something that you believe in or that enjoy more than anything else you will be inspiring others along the way, more than likely without even realising that you are doing so. If you enjoy something then make sure you give it your all.

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