insideKENT Magazine insideKENT October 2018 Issue 79 - Page 111

FOOD+DRINK ALL ABOUT Kentish Cobnuts ROUGHWAY FARM IN TONBRIDGE WAS ESTABLISHED IN THE 1960S AND IS STILL GOING STRONG TODAY. YOU CAN FIND RASPBERRIES, APPLES, PLUMS, CHERRIES, GREENGAGES AND, OF COURSE, THE FAMOUS KENT COBNUT GROWN HERE. NOT MANY COUNTIES CAN CLAIM THEIR OWN DISTINCTIVE NUT, AND OUR COBNUT IS SOMETHING TO BE VERY PROUD OF INDEED. insideKENT SPOKE TO TOM CANNON FROM ROUGHWAY FARM ABOUT JUST WHAT MAKES THE COBNUT SO SPECIAL, AND WHY THEY ARE PARTICULAR TO KENT. Hi Tom. What exactly are cobnuts? Kentish Cobnuts are a tasty and cultivated variety of hazelnut full of protein and vitamins. A Kent cobnut is much larger than a hazelnut that you may find in a fruit and nut bar; these tend to be circular, whereas the Kent cobnut is much longer and oval in shape. Kent cobnuts are also a variety in themselves – other cobnut varieties include Gunslebert and Ennis cobnuts, each with unique flavours and characteristics. Think how a Bramley apple is different to a Gala; they’re both apples but very different. At the farm, we have a national collection with over 50 varieties and they vary widely. One of the unique things about cobnuts is that they are eaten when the husk is green and the kernel (the bit you eat) is fresh and juicy. They then sweeten as the moisture content drops, so there is a long season for people to enjoy, particularly with the sweeter nuts by Christmas. Why do they grow so well in Kent? Cobnut growing in Kent can be traced right back to the Roman period. The county has rich soils and excellent conditions for growing cobnuts. The name for a cobnut field is a plat and these are particularly unique to the Kentish landscape. There is a rich history of cobnut growing throughout the county. At Roughway Farm we are located on the Greensand Ridge and have excellent soils and light conditions. What can they be used for? Kent cobnuts are great on their own when fresh and green, but also later when sweeter. They are a refreshing and delicious treat and also highly nutritional. We have a few scrumptious recipes over on our website. These include a cobnut pesto, torte and biscotti recipe. chocolate-and-cobnut-torte cobnut-pesto the-farm/recipes Can people grow their own? Yes, people can grow their own. They take a few years until cropping significantly and they need to be kept well pruned. Can you tell us a little about your farm and why you chose to grow cobnuts there? We have grown cobnuts for generations. John Cannon grew up farming and started farming cobnuts. My uncle, Giles Cannon, now runs the farm and supplies cobnuts to Morrisons and Waitrose. I run the farm’s website and I am also working on diversification initiatives. We have some exciting cobnut products that we hope to launch in the coming months. Are they seasonal? Yes, they are harvested between late August and early September. How should cobnuts be stored? Cobnuts should be stored in the salad drawer and kept cool to remain fresh and scrumptious. But, if you leave them to dry out they will sweeten. USE CODE insideKENT10 TO RECEIVE A 10 PER CENT DISCOUNT ON ALL ORDERS OF GREEN AND DEHUSKED COBNUTS FROM ROUGHWAY FARM UNTIL 18TH DECEMBER. 111