Celebrate Halloween weekend with a Chilli encounter at Braehead Community Garden on Saturday

If you’re looking for a chiling encounter this Halloween weekend, Braehead Community Garden are serving up all the right ingredients. On Saturday, the community project is hosting a Chilli Pepper sale after growing some of the hottest varieties on the planet this year.

One of the varieties on sale is a Chilli which looks like a miniature pumpkin. Another is called ‘Black Pearl’ and is similar in heat to the chilli found in Tabasco sauce.

Other varieties available include the scary sounding ‘Trinidad Scorpions’, ‘Medusa’, ‘Demon Red’ and ‘Satan’s Kiss’.  Others will will try to fool you with sweetshop sounding names including ‘Peruvian Lemon Drops’; but buyer beware – this South American creation is still three times hotter than a Jalapeno.

If you want to hang out with the ultimate strong man of the culinary world, then look out for the ‘Carolina Reaper’, officially the hottest food on the planet.  On the Scoville Scale, which is used to measure the heat of a chilli, the grim Reaper comes in at 2.2million units. That’s nearly 1000 times hotter than a jalapeno!

It’s not all about the hot celebrities of the chilli world;  there are over a dozen varieties for sale including mild chillies you can eat in a salad and the Gogosari, a savoury chilli from Transylvania.  You can dilute the chillies to your taste, by making  hot sauces, infused oils, jams and chutneys.

The chillies were grown by volunteer gardeners at the popular community project, all under the guidance of Braehead man Alasdair Forsyth.  Alasdair has been growing chillies for over thirty years and the polytunnels at Braehead have allowed him space to grow a larger crop.  Alasdair will be on hand to offer advice.

The sale runs from 11am-1pm on Saturday 30 October at Braehead Community Garden, Broom Road, Stirling, FK7 7GU.

 

Braehead Community Garden update plans for a growing enterprise and unveil two new projects 

Volunteers at Braehead have been busy over the winter months planning and fundraising for two new infrastructure projects and a new social enterprise at the 11,000sqm Community Garden.  Braehead and Broomridge Community Development Trust, who operate the garden, have also been developing a model for a social enterprise to provide a sustainable source of produce for the local community.

Solar Panel Array

A 30kw solar panel array has been installed on site, which will completely eliminate the garden electricity bills and generate an income for the project over the next twenty years as it sells surplus energy back into the national grid.  Funding for the project came from via the Community And Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Environment Trust.

Fourth Polytunnel

A new Polytunnel has been erected on the site, significantly increasing the amount of covered growing space in the garden.  This will allow more community gardeners to grow their own tomatoes and peppers and chillies.   Funding for this project came from the Community Climate Action Fund.

Market Garden Social Enterprise

A great display of some of the fresh, local produce grown at Braehead Community Garden
A great display of some of the fresh, local produce grown at Braehead Community Garden

The fourth polytunnel will allow the project to dedicate two of the existing polytunnels to a ‘market garden project’, with volunteers growing fruit and veg to donate to projects and people who need help and also to generate an income by selling low-cost, nutritious local produce within the community.

Trust Chairperson Matthew Power says

Lockdown meant we were looking at losing an entire growing season in 2020, but instead we supported a small team of volunteers and grew fruit and vegetables to distribute into the community to those in need.  We were so successful that we realised we could do more and look to develop this in the future, which gave us the idea of raising money for a new polytunnel’

Trust Treasurer Aileen Hall says,

solar panel project bears fruit for community garden

‘The solar panels will completely eliminate our energy bills and give us a sustainable source of income for many years, which means we can look well into the future and subsidise access into the garden.  A regular source of income for a community project is crucial and I’m delighted we can count on this in the years to come along with reducing our carbon footprint on the world’. 

Braehead Community Garden opened in 2015 after the community raised £250,000 from the National Lottery to build it.  The garden offers local residents the opportunity to grow their own produce in a ‘micro-allotment’ raised bed.  In addition, there is an apiary with honeybees, a flock of egg-laying hens, a large orchard, workshop and picnic area complete with a pizza oven constructed from the clay found on site.  For more information on the community garden, log on to www.braehead.org

Braehead Community Garden from the air in 2020

Growing for the Community

Braehead, Broomridge and District Community Development Trust (BBDCDT) have been a community anchor working with Stirling Council to reach people who have needed help with shopping, prescription collection etc during the Covid-19 restrictions.

BCG Fresh Produce

Trust Chairman Matthew Power takes a delivery of fresh produce to North Parish Church hall to be made available through the Heart of Braehead food project
Trust Chairman Matthew Power takes a delivery of fresh produce to North Parish Church hall to be made available through the Heart of Braehead food project

Leading on from this was the decision to use all available raised beds at the Community Garden to grow fresh fruit and veg to share with garden members, volunteers and the wider community.

A much reduced but dedicated team of Braehead Community Garden members have prepared, planted and tended raised beds with fruit and vegetables to share.

Thursday 25th June saw the first harvest wheeled round to North Parish Church hall to be made available through the Heart of Braehead food project.

There were lovely new potatoes, radish, beetroot, tomatoes and lettuce – all freshly picked, full of goodness and very, very local….
A great display of some of the fresh, local produce grown at Braehead Community Garden
Some of the fresh produce from Braehead Community Garden
Potatoes grown at the Braehead Community Garden
A great display of some of the fresh, local produce
We are delighted to be able to contribute to this fantastic community food project.
There are more details and photographs on the Growing for the Community page.