A few miles east of Penryn, the beautiful gardens and woodlands of Enys are carpeted with bluebells in late spring. But there are many other activities going on through the season, including the annual Food Jam festival, showcasing street food and global cuisine on July 9 and 10.
This year’s traders will include:
- Paddle & Basil, serving Neapolitan-style pizza from vintage VW bus Lagertha;
- Cookie Queen, who during lockdown started supplying cookie-related delights to the nation from her Redruth HQ;
- Filly Vanilli, a brother-and-sister team selling Callestick Farm ice cream from a vintage horse box;
- Secret Spot Hospitality (Ssh) – St Merryn-based specialists in al fresco dining surrounded by nature and under starlit skies;
- Bangers on the Go, serving handcrafted gourmet burgers, hot dogs, slow-cooked pulled pork, dirty nachos, fries and othewr treats including veggie/vegan dishes;
- Bien Manger, authentic savoury snacks and patisseries prepared by French chef Vincent;
- Daddy D’s Kitchen, dishing up Caribbean fare;
- Cold Start Coffee – coffee and cocktails served from a 1972 Royal Enfield motorbike and sidecar;
- Food of the Gods – raw chocolate from St Just-in-Penwith;
- Cornish Wild Food – a wild gin workshop, foraging walks and cookery demonstration with expert forager Matt Vernon;
- Emma Gunn – a taster foraging walk and cooking demo led by the author of Never Mind the Burdocks
- A bar stocked with local brews and spirits
Inside, you’ll find traders including Rebelicious Sauces and Riverford Organics. If more than one stall tickles your tastebuds, or you have a small appetite, consider buying taster portions for just £3 in the Graze Trail.
Visitors can also enjoy inspiring talks and demonstrations; live entertainment from Hedluv + Passman, Stone Roots, Me & The Devil and The Eyelids; and family activities including a discovery trail, forest school, wild yoga with Helen from Yoga Splice and Hickory Dickory Rock classes.
The event has been running annually (Covid permitting) since 2015, and is “pretty chilled out and laidback” according to organiser Emma Powell-Thomas. “Enys has 30 beautiful acres of garden, so even when we have a lot of people through the gate, it feels very relaxed,” she adds. “It’s a great three-generation day out – activities and music for the kids, food and drink for the parents, gardens for the grandparents. It ticks all the boxes.”
The event also offers the opportunity to explore the estate, which has been passed down through generations of the Enys family since 1272. The house we see today was built in the 1830s, after a previous Tudor style house burnt down. The gardens and mansion fell into disrepair during the 20th century, and when retired optical physicist Gordon Leonard Rogers inherited the estate in 1980, half of it had to be sold to pay inheritance tax. What little money was left had to be directed to parts of the estate which were occupied and active, with the gardens maintained as funds allowed.
By 2010, Enys had been largely uninhabited for 60 years, with leaky roofs, dry rot and resident bats. Gordon’s children, Wendy Fowler and Chris Rogers, have since continued their late father’s work of sustaining and improving the estate, and its ancient buildings are gradually awakening from their long slumber.
The gardens are perhaps the oldest in Cornwall, and are mentioned in ancient texts. Originally laid out in an Italianate style, major alterations in the early 19th century created less formal gardens which now offer a tranquil and unspoilt experience. Highlights include the open meadow Parc Lye, the New Zealand garden – inspired by two Enys brothers who lived in the country at the turn of the 20th century, and sent back many plants to enrich the gardens; the elegant Broadwalk, the sculptural Stumpery, collections of rare Cornish apple trees and global conifers, two champion trees and a Ginkgo biloba believed to be the second tallest in the UK after the one at Kew.
Food Jam 2022, Enys Gardens, near Penryn TR10 9LB.
Saturday, July 9, 11am to 10pm; Sunday, July 10, 11am to 8pm. Last entry 6pm.
Facebook/Instagram: @nsfoodjam. www.enysgardens.org.uk
For best value tickets, book online; adults from £8, family tickets from £18. Some activities will need to be pre-booked and added to your tickets. Enys season tickets can be used after 2pm on Sunday.
Enys is open until September 30, Sunday and Monday 10am to 5pm (daily during school holidays). Look out for further events, including:
- July 24 to September 4: Dragon & Fairy Trail
- August 25 to 27: Miracle Theatre presents King Lear