Mark runs Otter Farm, the UK’s only climate change farm, home to orchards of pecans, peaches, almonds, szechuan pepper, apricots and a vineyard. He hopes to revolutionise the British larder by growing delicious food normally sourced from overseas. His idea is not only pioneering, it is also beautifully sustainable – taking advantage of climate change to grow low carbon food helps arrest its acceleration. It also means he’s lucky enough to spend most of his time eating, growing, writing and talking about food. His book A Taste of the Unexpected was published by Quadrille in September 2010. He was named Garden Columnist of the Year at the Garden Media Awards 2010.
Mark also leads the Garden Team at River Cottage, appearing in the TV series, running courses and events at River Cottage HQ. He wrote Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook No. 4 which was published by Bloomsbury in March 2009 which won Best Practical Garden Book at the Garden Media Awards that year, where Mark also won Book Photographer of the Year. Fruit: River Cottage Handbook No. 9 was published by Bloomsbury in August 2011.
Life is too short to grow ordinary food. Why bother spending time, effort and money growing the typical varieties of fruit and vegetables that you can easily buy locally and cheaply and which, crucially, taste pretty much the same whether home grown or shop bought? In A Taste of the Unexpected, River Cottage head gardener Mark Diacono reveals that it is no harder to grow the unusual and utterly delicious than it is the entirely ordinary. On his farm in Devon, Mark grows virtually nothing that you can buy in the supermarkets. There, instead of potatoes, onions and carrots you’ll find gourmet delights such as kai lan, salsify, Chilean guava, day lilies and Szechuan pepper. Filled with practical growing advice and mouthwatering recipes, this inspirational book will encourage you to share Mark’s sense of culinary adventure – introducing you to the finest forgotten flavours, fabulous lesser-known harvests, the tastiest varieties of familiar crops, and the exotic foreign fruit that our changing climate now allows us to grow for ourselves. None of these requires any extra effort to grow than the usual suspects and all of them will bring new flavours and experiences into your garden and kitchen. Exciting and inspirational, A Taste of the Unexpected will redefine your approach to growing your own for good.
30th September 2010