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Brick Lane to Hungerdown Lane

posted 9 Jun 2014, 12:21 by Marina - Mark O'Connell   [ updated 9 Jun 2014, 12:22 ]

Brick lane is a few minutes walk from Liverpool street station and is famous for its curry houses and Bangladeshi community. Hundgerdown lane is half way between Manningtree and Colchester and is very pretty but not really famous for anything !

This summer Sally decided to bring her class of Bangladshi women from the Brick lane area to Hungerdown lane to visit my small farm to pick fruit practice their English and to visit rural England. They caught the train to Manningtree and walked up the hill through the very pretty Dedham Vale to Hungerdown lane, arriving hot and hungry on a July morning.

We had a delicious picnic lunch that they brought, and a chat.  I am a woman farmer or grower which  unusual in the UK , and these women probably farmed themselves in Bangladesh. They asked me about it and seemed happy with me being the farmer, they took off their face coverings and relaxed and seemed to ignore Aidan who works here and kind of disappeared picking something. !

I showed them around, they didn’t seem too interested in Gooseberries or blackcurrants, they loved the unripe apples. And then came the magic moment – one of them spotted Fat Hen, a “weed” of which I have a few on the farm ! They asked me what it was, and I confirmed that we call it “poor mans spinach” and yes it was edible. They recognised it from Bangladesh and suddenly 7 women got down to business picking all the fat hen they could find and filling loads of bags with it. They told me they would cook it with chilli and onion and wilt it down. They even offered to pay for it ... the connection for them suddenly with the English earth was a palatable moment and Sally and I were mesmerised watching their excitement. They are coming again in a few weeks and I am really looking forward to it – I am wondering if they will like the ripe apples  how is the fat hen coming along .... and am thinking of a return trip to Brick Lane – yum yum. 

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