AGM 2021

25 October, on Zoom


25th October, 2021 on Zoom


Present: 15 members. Apologies: 5 members

Minutes of 2020 meeting

Minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record. Matters arising :

  • Rents will stay the same for 2020-2021 (£72.00 p.a.) but go up for the 2021-2022 year due to inflation.

Chair´s and Trustees´ Reports:

  • Trustees inspections and Committee meetings occur at the beginning of March, June and September, with follow ups after a 6 week interval. Giles Foster agreed to be a Trustee after the tragic loss of Chris Thirkill. Two people were evicted. There were some outstanding plots this year and generally the standard is quite high, perhaps thanks to Covid.
  • We had several events:
    • the May Plant Bring and Buy sale was a success although only open to plotholders.
    • The Autumn Show was also a success thanks to Eric Wells who stepped into judge.
    • There were a couple of work parties to tackle the brambles growing over the footpath which can be quite dangerous for horse riders. A big work party began to clear the path at the top of the site where there are many overgrown bushes/trees.
    • Apple Day, where we used our new scratter and apple press.
  • Rats are still a problem that needs a concerted effort from everyone. Poison will not work on our site so we must make it unattractive to rats by not leaving food sources available to them. Rats love windfall apples, corn and sunflower seeds so these need to be removed as soon as the rats have found them. Also compost bins need to be made rat-proof with the wire mesh available from hut free of charge. AGREED: As this is a health and safety issue the Trustees will regularly take note of where there is food for rats and name and warn the plotholder responsible.
  • Paths: narrow and uneven paths are a problem between plots. A work party is needed to fill in ruts and cut back overgrown fruit bushes. If brambles are arching across a path, anyone can cut them back. Paths between plots should be 80 cms wide and the main paths 2 meters.
  • The stone retaining wall has collapsed in places on the top path and we can get three quotes for repairs to be carried out. We believe the Council will pay for this work.
  • Security: we have not had many break-ins and only a few complaints about fruit being taken. Remember to scramble the code on the locks when arriving and leaving the site.

Treasurer’s Report

Damien submitted the Treasurer´s Report for Rachael, which showed a healthy balance due to the generous bequest from Gillian North.

Water rates are high and we should find out why there has been such a large increase. Is there a leak?

Discussion on how to identify payments for hut supplies and Joe agreed to create some standard forms. Jenny T-J suggested a docket book with 3 carbon copies would be a simple solution.

Polytunnel lettings were not all being recorded and this needs to be addressed for the coming year.

The accounts are being audited by Yvonne Oughton but the accounts as submitted were accepted by the meeting.

Plot Letting

Rosie stated that we have 125 people on the waiting list after a questionnaire from the Council reduced the list by 10%. There were three quarter plots ready to let and people at the top of the list will be offered these plots. Hollin Lane has the longest waiting list for plots in Leeds and is also the site that has reduced the plot size the most.

Elections:

All stand down, but are eligible for re-election.

  • Chair: Joe Foster
  • Secretary: Jayne Harnett
  • Plot Letting: Rosie Hall
  • Treasurer: Rachael Munro Fawcett
  • Committee (need 7)
    • Ness Clarke
    • Mary Davies
    • Louise Allen
    • Chris Foren
    • Giles Foster
    • Jo Ann Eisenberg
    • Stephan Petzold
    • John Balfour.

AOB:

Autumn Show Rules:

Discussion about the rules of entry and the meeting agreed that at the next show only one exhibit, per class, per person would be permitted. There were no entries for the Joe Maiden cup this year and we discussed changing the description. Agenda item to be discussed in the Committee as well as the entry description for the Gill North cup.

Gillian North Bequest:

Discussion and suggestions were put forward for the money Gillian North left to HLAA which will become a communal resource. Some suggestions:

  • Replacing the hut (shipping container). Need planning permission for larger concrete base?
  • Mechanical Shredder.
  • Electric grid, or solar panels and battery storage.
  • Communal strimmers.
  • Better communal seating area.
  • Polytunnel staging.
  • Solar panels: Lidgett Lane Allotments have solar panels and it was agreed that James, Giles, Joe and Rosie would arrange to see how they work on site.

Coppice Wood:

The coppice wood is in a bad way with bindweed taking over. It was suggested that members be encouraged to ´adopt a tree´ and take care of it by clearing the area around the tree. A tree could be twinned with the plotholder’s plot. Agreed to email membership outlining this scheme.

Toilet Fairy Co-ordinator:

Jenny T-J agreed to take over from Angie to manage the rota and recruit new fairies. Joe will put the rota on the website and call out for new volunteers.

Seed Orders:

Many copies of the seed catalogues have been taken but few orders received. The deadline is this weekend. Rosie will send out a reminder.

Autumn Show 2021

Our first since the pandemic started

Our Autumn Show on Sunday, 13th September – our first since the pandemic started – was attended by a good crowd of members, and the mood was definitely jolly, thanks to Louise’s idea of vintage dressing and veg-themed head-dresses.

There was a good display of our fruit and veg on show, too, ably judged by Eric Wells and Roger Storr. They continued in our “Joe Maiden” tradition and explained how they made their decisions as they went around the classes. Many thanks to them for coming to judge for us after spending a busy morning at the Bramhope Show!

Judging beetroot
Judging Marrows

Results

The final results of the judging were as follows:

  • Best in Show Rosie’s display of mixed produce.
  • Points for exhibits
    1. Joe Foster 33
    2. Rosie Hall 30
    3. Peter Blakey 23


There were some delicious refreshments produced by our members on sale on a “pay as you feel” basis. Look out for some of the recipes to appear on our web site.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped make it all happen, and to everyone to turned up and made it all worth while.

Curried Parsnip Soup

A delicious and warming winter soup.

Curried parsnip soup is just what we need for the cold-dark months – nourishing, comforting, and just a little bit spicey. I’ve made it for years, following recipes from several books, mainly Jane Grigson’s classic Vegetable Book, and The Goodness of Potatoes and Root Vegetables by John Midgley. Here is my version.

  • 1 Kg parsnip, cleaned and cut into large lumps
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • a clove or two of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 litre stock
  • 150 ml cream
  • 2 tbs butter, heaped
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 or 2 tbs garam masala
  • ground chili to taste

Boil the parsnip until it softens a bit, then drain and let it cool. Now you should be able to lift the skin off easily with a sharp knife. Cut into smaller lumps and combine with the onion, garlic and butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Fry gently, with the lid on for about ten minutes, then add the flour and spices. Fry for another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, then slowly add the stock and leave it to cook. When the parsnip is really tender, purée it, warm it up again and add the cream. Serve garnished with parsley, chives, or coriander.

Joe Foster

Mini Root Cellar

Simple way to keep root crops fresh and safe through the winter.

How can you keep root crops like carrots and beetroot fresh and crisp until the middle of winter? A friend from Ash Road Allotments told me how: a mini root cellar. It is just a large flower pot sunk into the ground in a sheltered place, maybe a greenhouse. You layer dry sieved leaf mould or spent potting compost with roots. This protects them from frost or drying out.

Dig them out when you need them and just clean them off a bit. They are ready to use.

Simple mini root cellar

Joe Foster

Pumpkin au Gratin

A simple but comforting bake of pumpkin, potatoes and cheese.

This works with many kinds of pumpkin and winter squash, including Butternut and Golden Hubbard – my current favourite. The inspiration came from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book We have been making it for many years, adapting it to our own taste.

Serves four.

  • About 1 Kg pumpkin flesh
  • 400g or so of potato, peeled and chopped
  • A good lump of butter, or a mix of butter and olive oil
  • Two eggs
  • About 150g of grated Gruyère plus some Parmesan.

Boil the potatoes and pumpkin flesh* until they are soft and drain them well. Add the butter/oil, the eggs and most of the grated cheese and mash them all together. Tip the mixture into an oven dish, scatter the rest of the cheese over the top with some dots of butter, to help it brown. Bake in a medium hot oven until the top is brown and golden.

*Butternut squash has very thin skin which comes off easily with a peeler, but some pumpkins have quite tough skin. You can cut these into large chunks, take out the seeds and stringy bits and bake the chunks until they are soft. Then the flesh can be scooped out easily and added to the cooked potatoes for mashing.

From Joe Foster

Rahkomenakakku

A versatile Finnish cake with apples or other fruit.

This versatile recipe for an Finnish apple cake was published in 1978 by the Leeds branch of the National Childbirth Trust in a little booklet called Growing Up With Good Food. The booklet was a collection of recipes from Leeds mothers, edited by Catherine Lewis. We still occasionally use our old copy, now dog-eared and food-stained.

Rahkomenakakku has been a long time favourite in our family.