Mark puts the Med into Malvern

Mark Diacono runs Otter Farm in Devon - the only climate change farm in the UK - and hopes to revolutionize the British larder by growing delicious food usually sourced from overseas.

He is designing a Mediterranean garden stage for the event's Good Life Pavilion and as the Show's guest chef, will be cooking in the Pavilion Theatre over the weekend.

Growing low carbon food apparently helps to arrest the acceleration of climate change, so Mark will be telling Malvern Autumn Show visitors how to take advantage of increasingly erratic British weather conditions, and perk up the traditional vegetable patch at the same time!

He certainly knows a thing or two - Otter Farm, which was originally 17 acres of poor, intensively used county council farmland, is now home to a truly fine array of produce.

Olives, pecans and persimmons grow in young orchards alongside the more traditional, forgotten fruit of mulberries, medlars and quinces, and both the forest garden and perennial allotment are filled with everything from white cherries and almonds to Chilean guava, creeping Japanese raspberries, kiwis and loquats.

Elsewhere, climbing akebia make silky chocolate pulp, pineapple guava ripens and Szechuan peppers produce punchy peppercorns. There are new hedges of autumn olive, bay and Jerusalem artichokes, and old boundaries offering nettles for beer, elderflower for 'champagne' and cordial, and young lime leaves for spring salads.

In the vegetable patch, the finest varieties of more familiar vegetables such as asparagus and peas, grow happily alongside edible flowers, aromatic lemongrass and sweet cicely, together with little-known gourmet delights like salsify, yacon and the Egyptian walking onion!

The popular Good Life Pavilion is the venue for an interesting programme of talks and demonstrations over the weekend, and Mark will be joined by BBC Gardeners' World presenter, Joe Swift, who'll be appearing on stage on both days, and William Hyett of Naturally Inspired, talking about rearing peace silk from his farm on the border of Herefordshire and Shropshire.

Other Pavilion attractions include six edible gardens; one of them designed by Maria Luisa Medina, winner of the 2010/2011 Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship, sponsored by Bradstone. Visitors can also enjoy a Festival of Perry and colourful plant and seed displays from quality nurseries and exhibitors.

The Malvern Autumn Show takes place at the Malvern Showground in Worcestershire. There's plenty of free parking and discounts for children (under 5 free), families and groups. For tickets and/or more information, please call the Ticket Hotline on 01684 584924 or visit


For more information see: Garden and Flower Shows


Article posted on 17 Aug 2010.

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