Good thyme had by all during talk on herbs

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The 36 members of the Fryern Ladies’ Probus Club who attended the July members’ lunch at The Roundabout Hotel, West Chiltington, had much news to exchange about recent events and a number of holidays enjoyed both at home and abroad.

Following an enjoyable lunch, President Jean Minter introduced the speaker for the afternoon, Chris Moncrief, and his subject ‘Herbs through the Ages’.

As Director of Vitacress, the well-known company supplying large amounts of fresh herbs to many chains of local supermarkets, he has overseen the changes from originally growing tomatoes and salad leaves, to the production of a wide variety of increasingly popular herbs.

There is now an annual turnover of between £60 to £70 million pounds each year, as we become more adventurous in their use in our cooking.

At their sites in Angmering and Chichester, new glasshouses are being installed, enabling production to continue for 365 days a year. Once grown by hand, herb production is now fully automated and this ensures a healthy and reliable product year round.

Chris then produced a Herb Quiz to test everyone’s knowledge of the history and use of herbs. Each table had an answer sheet to fill in, while he posed questions. This caused much discussion and amusement and after papers were marked, prizes of fresh herbs were given to the members of the winning team. Everyone was also given a book on coriander and its uses and Chris was warmly thanked by Pam Bertuzzi.

The raffle was drawn and a most enjoyable meeting drew to a close with new friendships made and long-standing ones refreshed, an important part of becoming a Probus member.

Report contributed by Rachel Martin.