As you can imagine, the different seasons have a huge effect on us here at Beamish. This is especially noticeable when you look at our fields; which crops are being looked after by our farmers, what is growing, and what can you see on our Georgian, Edwardian and Wartime tables? Many aspects of our lives at the museum are determined by the seasons, just as they would have been for the people of the past that we are representing. We are officially marking harvest-time at Beamish with our Harvest Festival and Harvest Home this weekend (Saturday, 30th September and Sunday, 1st October).
Harvest is one of the most important times of the year for our Georgian farmers, their table at Pockerley Old Hall is groaning with their harvest horde, which includes a whole pigs head, hand raised pies and chutneys. For people so governed by farming and the landscape around them, you can only imagine how important harvest time must have been to them.
Every spare moment was spent taking in the harvest of crops and other goodies; it would have been one of the busiest times of year for those living in the rural North East of England. But with huge reward – you can definitely see that reflected on their food-crowded table.
Also this weekend, we are celebrating the safe gathering of the harvest with our Harvest Home festivities. What better way to rejoice than with lots of food?
Although there was perhaps less choice up at our 1940s Farm, their imagination definitely made up for it! They would have enjoyed mock items such as mock goose and mock apricot tart, along with lots of different Spam variations, delicious!
The importance of harvest time was still keenly felt even when rationing was in full swing, especially for our Land Girls who were lucky enough to have an allotment and small orchard to pick from. A greatly appreciated bit of variety to what could have been a monotonous diet of lentils and national loaf!
Harvest time was a great opportunity for preserving the bounty taken from the land, a housewife or maid who was skilled at making jams and chutneys would have been very popular indeed! If the harvest was less successful, preserving would have been even more important and would have meant a bit more food to put on the table, especially in the middle of the winter when there wasn’t much else on offer.
Join us this weekend to see our amazing harvest displays, sheaves of wheat a-plenty! The bountiful harvest is everywhere you turn, come and enjoy the feast!