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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 1 November
Repeated Thursday 6 November
Listen to this programme in full
Stephen Harris and charles Campion
On this week's Open Country Food writer Charles Campion is in Seasalter looking at how salt and food preservation shaped the landscape. 

It may not look like it now, but Seasalter, near Whitstable on the Kent coast, was a very important place in the area’s culinary history. Landscape investigator Mark Harrison explains what factors came together to make this area perfect for people to live in. Mark has studied the area for nearly 40 years and keeps a log of much of it on his website Timescapes.

Charles hits the beach with chef and historian Stephen Harris. In his restaurant, the Sportsman, he uses local ingredients to try to capture what he calls the “terroir” or flavour of the area. It’s a taste he describes as meaty, briney and of course, salty. Much of this has to do with making his own salt and he teaches Charles the secrets.

Next it’s off to the Blean forest near Canterbury, and Charles goes foraging with Fergus Drennan. Fergus, also known as Fergus the Forager, runs courses on how to live off the wild food that grows in forests and hedgerows. He and Charles go looking for mushrooms, while chatting about how important this forest was to the salt makers back on the beach.

One source of local food for the Sportsman is Monk’s Hill Farm, which sits on the high ground among the Seasalter marshes. Farm manager Richard Stephens explains to Charles the joys and the trials of having a working farm so close to the sea.
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