Wandering through De Bijenakker – Farm to table cucumber salad
wander – discover – savour – learn – sow – harvest – celebrate – remember – live
taste – nestle – shelter – experience – rest – immerse – care
pick – help – listen
Camera in one hand, quick sketch plan from Henk in the other, I keep on discovering new things behind every tree and every field.
What once was an old plum orchard has grown into an apiary and fields full of (edible) flowers, old fruit varieties, herbs and (forgotten) vegetables. What a wonderful place this is. A place full of beautiful stories!
Wandering through the garden I can feel the attraction of De Bijenakker, it becomes clear why Henk and Maaike have been dreaming about a place like this ever since they met. It’s all about balance, harmony, biodiversity and the rhythm of the seasons.
Between the trees, plants and buzzing bees a chef is marinating lamb for the barbecue to be held in the garden. Tables are dressed with fresh flowers from the field, and of course vegetables from the garden will be served.
The dahlias, freshly picked by Maaike in the morning, are sold in a little stall. Visitors enjoy the field full of flowers or buy some of the harvest from the stall.
A little further on a lost culture becomes visible: tables are set between two hop trellises, ready for the annual harvest festival of the local brewery.
Back at the barn Maaike calls me for a cup of fresh herbal tea. One of the cats lies lazily on the table, a lady from the neighborhood parks her bike to buy one of the last jars of honey from the apiary. Henk is telling stories about the historic “Dubbele Zwolse” peach and the rare, forgotten Sint-jansui he grows.
With the ladder under the arm we search for a few ripe Valor peaches for my dessert tomorrow. I also take some cucumbers home, including the lemon cucumber, a variety that I have not seen before.
While Henk and Maaike continue their work in the fields I shoot some final photos. The cat casts a lazy glance at me, bees buzzing around the chefs mobile kitchen. What a wonderful place…
In this series I’ll take you to De Bijenakker, in every blog a new story will be told. With the harvest from the story I make a dish; today that’s a two cucumber salad recipe. The lemon cucumber has the size and colour of a lemon. The edible peel is sweet and crunchy and the flavour of the white flesh is fresh and mild.
Farm to table two cucumber salad with apple and feta
- 1/2 organic, normal cucumber, cut into ribbons
- 1 organic lemon cucumber, cut into thin round slices
- 1 organic sweet apple, skin on, cut into small cubes
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into small slices
- 80 gr feta cheese
- 2 handful mixed nuts and berries, for example raisins, goji and walnuts
For the dressing
- 1 tsp. mustard
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Rinse both cucumbers well, we wil use them with peel on. Use a mandolin or peeler to cut the normal cucumber into ribbons and the lemon cucumber into round slices
- Arrange both cucumbers on 2 plates
- Make the dressing by mixing all ingredients well
- Divide the sliced apple and celery on top of the cucumber
- Crumble the feta over the salad
- Finish with a handvol of mixed nuts and berries, and a good splash of the dressing
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