All country houses had a kitchen garden designed to supply most of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs required by the kitchen. When the Crawley family was away, for example at their London house, produce would be sent from the country garden by train. In the season 4 Christmas special, we see the upheavals the constant moves between country and town occasioned when the Crawleys decamp to Grantham House for Rose’s first “season,” including her debut ball.
In the Edwardian era, it was a mark of pride to serve out-of-season produce at the family table, as this showed both the skills of the gardeners and the wealth of the family. Producing nectarines in December required prolific amounts of coal to heat the hothouses and growing walls, while retarding the growth of grapes until March needed specialist equipment and plenty of patience. Fortunately, given the precarious state of the Crawleys’ finances, fashions were changing by the 1920s, and there was a new emphasis on exquisite-looking seasonal fruits and vegetables, full of flavor and not quite as overcooked as their Victorian forbears.