Meet Jenny Jefferies: mother, farmer’s wife, foodie and accomplished author; the person behind the amazing cook book that is: ‘For the Love of the Land: A Cook Book to Celebrate British Farmers and their Food’.
Jenny tells her story below of how the cook book began, evolved and became a celebration and complete appreciation of British Farmers.
Shortly after meeting my husband, John, I moved from St. Albans, where they have pavements and restaurants on my doorstep, to live with him on his farm on the outskirts of a little quaint village in South Cambridgeshire. My nearest friends and family live approximately 100 miles away and I have to get in a car to drive 5 miles to the nearest shop. After marrying in November 2014, we quickly had our first child together. The experience of having a little baby, on my own, during harvest was at times extremely difficult, often lonely and at times isolating. The day a baby is born, a Mother is born, and as I was adjusting to my new role and supposedly enjoying country life, the idea of my book For The Love Of The Land came about.
I had a revolving kitchen door trying to wean my eldest daughter, (who is now 4 years old) at the same time as having to feed my arable farming husband, John, whom was going up and down fields on his tractor drilling the new seed for the following harvest all day. I was so overwhelmed and totally in awe of the amount of hard graft that goes into harvesting and drilling the land to give us the food that we buy and eventually enjoy with our friends and family. I realised that I was very ignorant about where our food came from and shamefully took all this food and work for granted. This country way of life was very new to me and I was desperate to connect and make contact with other farmers. So, with a thirst for sharing my story, needing ideas for what on earth to cook for my new family, and exploring the love of our beautiful country I started my book.
‘For The Love Of The Land’ is a true labour of love. It features forty fantastic farmers from all over the British Isles contributing both their favourite recipe and a story about what farming means to them, in their own words. It’s their opportunity to get their message across, whatever that maybe; their heritage, their produce, sustainability, anything they like.
I first spoke to The BBC publisher who wanted to turn this into a feminist book about farmer’s wives. I turned their offer down on the basis that there are actually female farmers as well! I decided very early on that I didn’t want my book to be defined by gender, or by stereotype.
Pondering on where to go next, I saw a cook book sitting on my shelf in the kitchen that John and I bought together some time ago from Burwash Manor (who are featured in my book) called ‘The Cambridgeshire Cook Book’ by Meze Publishing. I loved the feel of the book and its general idea of showcasing all of these beautiful pubs and restaurants in the Cambridgeshire region. So, I spoke to Meze and two years later For The Love Of The Land; A Cook Book To Celebrate British Farmers And Their Food was born!
As the landscape of British farming changes, we need to support high-quality food production and understand how farmers can work in harmony with nature to make our eating habits more sustainable. If you love food, provenance and good stories then this is definitely the book for you. In the words of Minette Batters, the President of the National Farmers’ Union, who has written the forward to the book, says ‘remember that you too are part of the story of great British food.’
For The Love Of The Land is a 224 page hardback book and retails at £22. It is available to order from www.fortheloveoftheland.co.uk.
Facebook: For The Love Of The Land
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