Mark is one of the country’s foremost food writers, known for his original take on all things edible. His A Year at Otter Farm, published in 2014, won the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year; A Taste of the Unexpected won the Guild of Food Writers Food Book of the Year 2011; and The New Kitchen Garden was published this spring. Mark has also written three River Cottage Handbooks, and is one of the authors of the forthcoming River Cottage Bible. He has won numerous Garden Media Guild awards for his writing and photography.
His unique smallholding, Otter Farm, is home to orchards of – amongst many other things – pecans, peaches, almonds, Szechuan pepper, apricots, a vineyard and the most delicious varieties of vegetables and herbs. 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.
He writes regular features for the Daily Telegraph, occasionally for the Observer, the Guardian and a host of other publications, and has a monthly column in The Simple Things. Mark’s award-winning Otter Farm blog has run for 10 years, has many thousands of followers.
Mark also led the Garden Team at River Cottage, appearing in the TV series, running courses and events at River Cottage HQ.
Mark is about to build a gardening and cookery school at Otter farm.
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