Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A Scottish Harvest and Community Celebration | Judy Hamilton

To round off this week's Harvest series, Judy Hamilton from Fife (@judyinfife) has kindly agreed to share her experience of traditional Harvest festivities in Scotland and explain how her local community comes together to rediscover the value of fresh local produce.

How do you celebrate Harvest?

I have always attended traditional services. I love to sing hymns like "We plough the fields and scatter" and "Bringing in the sheaves". The children used to parade a harvest basket of fruit at that time. The fruit and veg was distributed to what our church call the "shut-ins" (!), elderly people in the community. This year, we have been asked to bring tinned or dried goods and these will be distributed through food parcels at the foodbank.  

How does your country celebrate Harvest? Are there any local traditions?

One 'Fife' tradition is to place a piece of coal on the altar, as this is a former mining area and this tradition celebrates what comes from the ground. We also have a Wheatsheaf made of unleavened bread. (I'm not sure of this tradition). Maybe it's just "because we've always done it." 

Do you celebrate Harvest in a religious context? Are there any special traditions you enjoy?

My church is the Salvation Army and the celebration of harvest is very traditional. From the Old Testament invocation to bring your first-fruits before The Lord." At Sunday school today, I spoke to the children about how seeds grow into lovely food for us to eat, through God's provision. We thank God - And remind children how we have a responsibility to look after the earth, and to share what we have.

How does you local community celebrate Harvest?

Last week we had a Harvest Food Festival day at a local Family centre which has allotments (looked after by the Dad's project). We were joined by 'celebrity' chef Christopher Trotter, Fife's Food Ambassador. He did interactive cookery demonstrations showing how to make cheap soups, parsnip & apple, beetroot, and a broth using various chard, onions, potatoes, carrots etc and only adding stock (bouillon?) and turmeric.

Chef Christopher met up with parents in the morning and went to the allotments, giving advice on what to pick and assisted in selecting produce. There were beetroots, parsnips, onions which were already picked and drying, potatoes, leeks, and windfall (free) apples. 

There was also the opportunity for kids to make and eat fruit kebabs and an interactive table, where you could make crumble using fresh fruit and fresh fruit smoothies. A stall from Sustainable Fish was there to encourage children to eat oily fish, with easy recipes that you could try there and then.

So, it was really a celebration of local, cheap food and a learning experience for families to try easy recipes together. That was a new experience for me, but felt like a true "Harvest Celebration" with all the community coming together and learning about the food that's on our doorstep.

Previous Posts: Harvest in Rural England and Thanksgiving in Canada and Harvest in a Tin?

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