Hedge Veg is one of the special things about island life - a quirky tradition from time gone by that has stood the test of time and has evolved to become a stalwart of Guernsey life, with no loss of charm or uniqueness.
Hedge Veg is a unique part of island life
If you spend any time at all wandering the lanes of the Islands of Guernsey, it won't be long until you happen upon a hedge veg stall, where islanders sell their homegrown goods for a few pennies. Traditionally, you would find spare Guernsey tomatoes, potatoes and eggs from their gardens and allotments. Occasionally, you may spot a well-thumbed classic novel left on a shelf for the next reader to enjoy. It is one of the special things about island life - a quirky tradition from time gone by that has stood the test of time and has evolved to become a stalwart of Guernsey life, with no loss of charm or uniqueness.
View this post on Instagram
I’m happy to report, that I’ve finally caught up with the preorders, and have fresh roasted beans (as in roasted within the hour!) available in the box! . Honduras (Rainforest Alliance & Organic) - brilliantly smooth with a long creamy finish, it’s almost like drinking with a dash of cream - even when black! £12.50 . Guatemalan (Rainforest Alliance) - just a bloney good brew, quintessentially coffee-ee, but without the bitterness. An easy drinker alongside your morning work routine! £9.50 . Whole bean on the hedge, but DM if you’d like any ground. . Colombia (Swiss Water Decaf), a pleasant surprise for anyone who turns their nose up at decaf! Very light body and a lovely sweet finish £12 . I’ve also just taken delivery of another batch of Aeropress (TOTE & GO models) and have grinders due in imminently! . #freshroastecoffee #coffeeroasters #guernseycoffee #guernsey #roaster #baristalife #lovecoffee
Over time, the resourcefulness of islanders has become more and more apparent and these garden wall stalls have started to display all manner of items from homemade crafts to baked goods, to pots of herbs and freshly roasted coffee beans and even fresh Guernsey crabs! Many are now thriving small businesses that embrace the fabulous sense of community that you find on the Islands of Guernsey. It is still a piece of island life that makes visitors and locals alike smile.
View this post on Instagram
There is a huge focus on sustainability in this tradition, with the initial idea being that you share your leftover produce or your home baked goods such as cakes and jams made from leftover ingredients with your community. Many items are either crafted from homegrown, upcycled products or encourage sustainable packaging and the recycling or re-use of jars and containers.
One of the most wonderful signs that the community still embraces this tried and tested system is the fact that the stalls are all completely unmanned, bar the occasional presence of children playing in the front garden of a traditional Guernsey cottage. Instead you will find a simple honesty box system, which usually consists of a simple handwritten price on a chalk board or piece of card, and a money box with small change in it. It's a great example of how trusting and friendly locals are.
View this post on Instagram
I’m trying something new today. Swapping some paper bags for glass jars. I mean for the crackers, of course, not the loaves! . How it works: 1. I use clean jars and put in the same weight of crackers as would go into a paper bag. 2. You can buy your favourite crackers for the same price, but now they can’t get squashed in your bag or pocket, and no salty paper bags are being harmed in the making of your tasty snacks. 3. If possible, please return empty the jars back to the box and I will wash and start the cycle again. (Donations of similar sized jars are also most welcome!) . Oh, and not forgetting what’s going out today: 🌱50/50 sourdough 🌱White sourdough 🌱Sourdough crackers: •Rosemary and seasalt •Chilli and seasalt 🌱Variety of plants (see previous posts) 🌱Reusable kitchen rolls Later in the day: 🌱Brownies 🌱More sourdough! . . . . #hedgeveg #guernsey #homemade #handmade #homegrown #freshbread #sourdough #crackers #brownies #unpapertowels #reusable #reuse #closedloop #plasticfree #plasticfreeguernsey #zerowaste
So how do you find a hedge veg stall in Guernsey? Whilst it is wonderful to head off to explore the island country lanes on a bicycle and see what you happen upon to fill your basket, if you are looking for something specific then you may not be as lucky. However, there are other ways to find what you are looking for. An increase in younger stallholders and the prevalence of social media in the community has led to a crop of stall Instagram and Facebook pages to keep eager locals up to date with when products are replenished - a real winner for bread and other baked goods if you want to pick up something very fresh. We suggest heading over early - or keeping an eye on the updates from stall holders to make sure you manage to get something.
Recently, local Pierre Le Page launched the Hedge Veg app at hedgeveg.gg. Pierre wanted to create something to help the community enjoy these hedge veg stalls around the island. What came out of his creation was a huge number of stalls that many had never heard of. Stalls are organised by location and by category, so you can find what you are looking for and head over to see what's available. It's a wonderful little app, currently being used by locals and waiting to be embraced by visitors too on future trips to the Islands of Guernsey.