Organic and artisan!


In all candour it was not me that spotted the potential market. My daughter pointed out to me that this country now imports Italian nettles. Obvious, post Brexit, the nettle market will collapse, and it was at this point I felt duty bound to step into the breach!
I did my market research and discovered that they are indeed available. For £22.95 you can get a kilo of nettles!


The problem is that there are ‘nettles’ and ‘nettles’. Take those growing in this picture.



Well, actually don’t take them, they’re a valuable crop. As you can see, here we have a mixed planting with stitchwort. Even if you don’t pick any of the stitchwort with the nettles, we believe that grown together it adds a number of subtle notes to the flavour of the nettles which you’ll find tickle the cultivated palate. I would recommend that you use these in a risotto which has hints of salmon.



Obviously some prefer a stronger nettle, with richer more pronounced flavours. I’d recommend these for fritters, ideally served with banana and pork.
Alternatively you might want a younger nettle, grown at a wider spacing, to ensure that each plant is aerated properly. This gives you far more subtle flavours. Also people have described them as ‘bubbly’, and ‘sparkling.’ Surely the perfect pizza topping.



But then how do you bring them into the kitchen? Obviously the sloppy and careless can just despatch some expendable minion with shears to clip a few plants. But the great Bartolomeo Scappi is said by some to have taken the greatest care. On nights of the full moon he would slip from the arms of his mistress, and wearing only thigh length boots and a dressing gown would forage for his nettles. He would cut them with silver scissors and would carry them home in a silken bag.

Alternatively, Marie-Antoine Carême is said to have insisted that nettles should only be picked in the rain. She shunned bladed implements and instead she would pluck the tips and carry them home in a glass bowl.


Anyway I’ve given a lot of thought to the whole business. Nettles are far more complicated than you might think, and it would be far too easy to fall short of the demands of a sophisticated clientele. Thus and so I have decided that the way forward is to bow to the experience of those who know.
Hence, by appointment, we allow ‘pick your own’. You can come and take as many of our organic and artisan nettles as you want. They are thus absolutely fresh, yours for a merely nominal £25 a kilo.


More uniquely helpful lifestyle advice is available.

As a reviewer wisely commented, “Another excellent compendium of observations from the back of Mr. Webster’s quad bike in which we learn a lot more about sheep, border collies and people. On the whole, I think the collies come out of it best. If you fancy being educated on the ways of the world, with a gentle humour and a nice line in well observed philosophy, you could do a lot worse than this.”

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31 thoughts on “Organic and artisan!

  1. jenanita01 May 18, 2019 at 6:13 pm Reply

    If your place is anything like mine, you must be sitting on a goldmine!

    • jwebster2 May 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm Reply

      wealth beyond the dreams of avarice beckons 🙂

      • jenanita01 May 19, 2019 at 8:06 am

        Do you suppose there is a market for brambles? And these are not just ordinary brambles, rampant, vicious with stems the size of my arm…

      • joylennick May 19, 2019 at 8:29 am

        Send your brambles to the Government, Jim.. They really deserve them.

      • jwebster2 May 19, 2019 at 10:01 am

        I feel that applied to the collective posteriors of the denizens of the House of Commons and the House of Lords you could well see excellent results.

      • joylennick May 19, 2019 at 10:10 am

        Hear hear. Well said,sir. x

      • jwebster2 May 19, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        I believe it might be described as ‘the smack of firm government’ 🙂

      • jenanita01 May 19, 2019 at 6:25 pm

        Nah… send the government to the brambles. Let them get ripped to pieces!

      • jwebster2 May 19, 2019 at 6:36 pm

        Works for me 🙂

      • jwebster2 May 19, 2019 at 10:00 am

        in theory you can use them to make cordage or even weave them for baskets!
        But frankly if Joylennick is sending them to Westminster I would suggest you merely grab a bundle, use gaffa tape to hold them together as a handle, and create a whip which might possibly spur them into action

      • jenanita01 May 19, 2019 at 6:20 pm

        Oh no, I can’t go near them, as I have lost a lot of blood dealing with them. Thinking of getting a flame thrower!

      • jwebster2 May 19, 2019 at 6:36 pm

        watering them roundup works, if it’s done in spring when they’re growing. Then when they’re dead burn them in situ 🙂

      • jenanita01 May 20, 2019 at 9:35 am

        No can do, as they insist on growing around some of the best plants in my garden…

      • jwebster2 May 20, 2019 at 9:40 am

        that’s tricky!
        If you can get long handled secateurs ( an example at ) then you can slowly work in from the outside, just cutting wherever you can and never penetrating too deep. Then eventually you’ll find you’ve got a route through to the main stems 🙂

      • jenanita01 May 20, 2019 at 6:15 pm

        The solution might be harder than that. I am thinking of digging everything up, clearing the brambles, then replanting. Not until the autumn though…

      • jwebster2 May 20, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Seems sensible, autumn could be best or even winter when stuff has died off a bit

  2. jenanita01 May 18, 2019 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

  3. joylennick May 18, 2019 at 7:07 pm Reply

    Te hee. I loved this, Jim! So original and I do like original. xx

    • jwebster2 May 18, 2019 at 9:18 pm Reply

      Original, it might even warrant being called artisan as well 🙂

  4. Widdershins May 18, 2019 at 7:55 pm Reply

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if this post were seen in the right places, you’d get that artisanal ‘pick-your-own’ crowd camping on your doorstep overnight. 🙂 You could probably chuck in a few bottles of cow-poo scented air for anyone who spends over a hundred quid! 😀

    • jwebster2 May 18, 2019 at 9:21 pm Reply

      Pure genius. I’ll get a few screw topped jars handy 🙂

  5. patriciaruthsusan May 20, 2019 at 8:24 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    First, Jim Webster discusses the nettles available on his land and prices them. Next, he has another witty book on offer about the animals and people he deals with in his life as a farmer in the northern U.K.

    • jwebster2 May 20, 2019 at 8:26 am Reply

      Glad you found it interesting. I suppose that if you live far enough from a source, even nettles can appear exotic 🙂

  6. patriciaruthsusan May 20, 2019 at 9:32 am Reply

    Those city folk may have never got them stuck in their clothes. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • jwebster2 May 20, 2019 at 9:37 am Reply

      ah those happy childhood experiences 🙂

  7. patriciaruthsusan May 20, 2019 at 9:54 am Reply

    😀 😀

  8. rootsandroutes2012 May 25, 2021 at 7:12 am Reply

    We’re not in the northern UK, Patriciaruthsusan. More like the Midlands. On a journey from John O’Groats to Lands End (which I’ve done on a tandem) you hit the halfway point on Shap Fell, some several miles north of Jim and me.

    • jwebster2 May 25, 2021 at 9:32 am Reply

      Yes, originally on the unification, Scotland was to be part of North Britain.

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