Tony Betts

Tony Betts

Maker, programmer and ageing geek.

Monday, 18 August 2014 00:00

Cats and Catnip

IMG 2159 2True Catnip (nepeta cataria), also known as Catmint, orginates from the Mediterranean and can be found along dry paths and hedgerows. It is a rather unobtrusive plant and for this reason you tend to find various cultivated forms in gardens. The low growing ones (15-30cm) are often used to pad out flower beds as they form attractive thick cushions of flowers. The larger variety such as "Six Hills Giant", Sibian Catnip and the large flowered catnip N. grandiflora are very popular as they flower for a long period starting at the end of May until mid of September. The "Wild Cat" and "Pool Bank" varieties can easily reach up to 1 metre in height. All of these love a sunny position and grow best in sandy or clayey grounds.

The plant is very useful as it fights off fleas, flies and cockroaches and is is used for a variety of ailments such as sore muscles, sleep disorders, colds and stomatch upsets. It's also an important plant for wildlife as it attracts bees, bumbles bees and butterflies.Cats in particular find it irresistible - they will roll in in it happily, which the plants don't always appreciate. If you want to protect your plants against this outpouring of love, put somewire netting or basket over the flower bed to stop them being squashed. 

Monday, 18 August 2014 00:00

Membership is now FREE

To help out all producers we have decided that At The Farm Gate should be a free service. So from now on you can register FREE, add all your details FREE, add events FREE and add news FREE. There are no charges anywhere on the site and the hope is we can make this self sustaining through the limited number of adverts we show.

So now there is no excuse to get signed up and start dpreading the news about your business and produce.


Tony and Gaby Betts

Monday, 07 July 2014 00:00

Redcurrants "Superfruit"

Did you know that Recurrants are classed as one of the "Superfruits"?redcurrants

Redcurrant berries are known as "superfruits" as they have naturally high antioxidant capacity due to the pigmented polyphenol, cyanidin. Medical research has proven there are medicinal properties of pigmented polyphenols, which are mainly found in the skin and seeds of berries. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body which break down healthy cells and increase risk of various diseases. These juicy berries also contain 4x more Vitamin C than oranges plus Vitamins B1 & K, calcium and iron. Eat just 56g or 2oz of redcurrants - this contains 40% of your RDA of Vitamin C, 2% of calcium and 4% of iron.

Redcurrants can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried. They can also be frozen for long term preservation and use. Redcurrants' natural tart flavour and astringency is enhanced with sweetening via sugar, honey, agave and of course through cooking. Redcurrants add flavour and texture to sauces, liqueurs, jams, jellies and syrups. 

Now is the time to harvest them or go to your nearest PYO farm to pick them straight off the bushes.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 00:00

Keep Pests away from Pot Plants

If your pot plants are being attacked by crawling pests, just peel a clove of garlic and stick it in the soil. The essential oil of garlic repels such pesky nuisance and saves you from having to resort to nasty chemicals. Particularly useful if you are growing edible plants.garlic3

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Elderflower Lemon Muffins


200g unsalted butter

180g granulated sugar

4 medium size free range eggs

180g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

zest and juice of 1 organic lemon

4 tbs elderflower syrup

icing sugar

a few drops of pink food colouring

12 small elderflower sprigs to decorate


  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line tray with the muffin cases.
  2. Whisk the butter and granulated sugar until creamy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, then the flour mixed with baking powder and mix until smooth.
  4. Next stir in the lemon zest and juice and 3 tbs of the elderflower syrup.
  5. Scoop mixture into muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  6. When cooked, remove from tray and let cool.
  7. To make the icing, use the remaining 1 tbs of elderflower syrup, and stir in enough icing sugar to make a spreadable paste.
  8. Add a few drops of pink food colouring to the icing.
  9. Place a small amount of icing onto each muffin and stick a sprig of elderflowers to it.

Variation: use frosting instead of icing, but remember to add the tbs of elderflower syrup to the mix.

Makes 12 muffins.








Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

New #Farmers #Market Reviews

Here at At The Farm Gate we are always looking to provide added benefit to our visitors. With so many farmers markets around how do you know which are worth visiting? With the new Reviews section added to the At The Farm Gate Farmers Market Directory you can see what people think about each market and grade it on important criteria such as variety of stalls and accessability. Anyone can read and write reviews, no signup is necessary, but every entry is checked before going public.


To Read and Write Reviews
of Local Farmers Markets
Click The Icon
At The Farm Gate Reviews


Market owners just add the following code to your website to encourage people to rate and review your farmers market; the top rated markets will be prominently displayed on the front page and in the county sections of the At The Farm Gate website, further promoting you. If your farmers market is not currently listed click here to get it added for free.

Cut and paste this code into your site to get the logo and link:

 <div style="float:left">

To Read and Write Reviews<br/>of Local Farmers Markets<br/>Click The Icon


<div style="float:left;padding-left:10px;">

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>


Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

Elderflower Syrup


25-30 elderflower heads, depending on size

2 litres water

1kg granulated sugar

50g citric acid

zest and juice of 2 large organic oranges

zest and juice of 3 large organic lemons


  1. Give the elderflower heads a gentle rinse and shake carefully to remove any insects and excess water. Arrange in a large bowl. elderflowers1elderflowers2
  2. Put the water into a large pot and bring to boil. When the water is boiling, turn off the heat, add the granulated sugar and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool.
  3. Stir in the citric acid, then the orange and lemon zest and juice. Mix well.
  4. Pour the liquid over the flower heads, ensuring they are fully immersed.
  5. Cling film the bowl and leave to stand in a cool place for 24-36 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin into sterilised glass bottles. Store in fridge and use within 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, you can use clean plastic bottles and freeze for later use (but don't fill to top).
  7. Serve with cool sparkling water and a slice of lemon. So refreshing!

Look out for our recipe on elderflower & lemon muffins!


Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

Rhubarb Syrup


1 kg rhubarb

700g sugar

1 lime

350ml water


  • Wash the rhubarb sticks and cut off the ends. Chop into thin slices and put into a large pot. Cover with all of the sugar, stir well. Let stand for a minimum of 1 hour. The longer it is left to sit, the more juice the sugar will extract.rhubarbsyrup
  • Squeeze out the lime and add to the water, then pour over the sliced rhubarb.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the rhubarb has turned to mush.
  • Strain the rhubarb through a fine sieve and squeeze out thoroughly.
  • Re-boil the liquid, then fill into clean bottles. Seal well.
  • Will make approx 1.5 Litres of syrup.

To serve, dilute with sparkling or mineral water and add a slice of lime.



Tuesday, 27 May 2014 00:00

Beech Leaf Liqueur


1 bottle gin

Young, fresh beech leaves

8 oz. white sugar

half a pint of water


Use a 1.5 Litre Kilner jar and loosely fill half with fresh young beech leaves, stripped from twigs. Pour over the bottle of gin. Seal up the container, ensuring all the leaves are immersed in the alcohol. Let stand in a cool dark place for approx 3 weeks. Keep shaking the jar from time to time.

After 3 weeks, strain off the leaves. Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to a boil. When liquid has cooled slightly, add this to the alcohol and stir well. Decant into storage bottles and let stand for a week to infuse. Then pour a glass for you and your friends and ENJOY!



Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:00

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