The vegetable garden at Glyndebourne is productive as well as beautiful. Year round it keeps Gus Christie and his family supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables. During the rehearsals and performance period of the Festival and Tour the dozens of singers, conductors, directors and designers who stay at the house also make the most of the garden’s bounty. We know of a particular conductor who can’t resist our purple-sprouting broccoli and of a soprano who is seems always to making detours through the vegetable garden to taste a few tomatoes.
At Glyndebourne the food we grow in the vegetable garden goes straight from the ground to the house kitchen; picked in the morning on the day of eating. This zero carbon footprint delivery is at its maximum in terms of freshness – the time factor being what makes them so delicious, still full of goodness and taste.
Favourite fare for the family and performers staying in the house include beetroot (I recommend twisting the leaves off so that they stay fresh longer after picking), lettuce of all kinds, beans and even the humble leek. If you are growing your own leeks, trim the roots and the tops when you plant them – you get much more vigorous plants that way.
No pesticides are used in the garden and to control the plague of blackfly that can wreck crops of broad beans and runner beans, we spray the plant with soapy water as soon as the pesky bugs appear.
This year’s favourite vegetable is artichoke. At Glyndebourne we grow two varieties: Green and Violet Globe. The crop has been in the vegetable garden for over ten years and although usually associated with Mediterranean climates it grows well at Glyndebourne. I recommend simply boiling them and eating with butter, salt and pepper a tasty lunchtime snack. Picked that same morning, of course.