April

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

When we started the box scheme it was obvious that, much as our customers aspired to eat seasonal veg, many needed practical help to make it a reality. As the years passed I realised we needed to think beyond the nearest hedge; our fate lies half in what we grow and how, and half in what you all do with... continued

Thursday 28th April 2011

I have escaped to our French farm in the Vendée to help harvest the lettuce, spinach, chard, turnips, kohlrabi and cabbages that have been in the boxes recently. The plan is to use this farm, 250 road miles south of Devon (closer than the Fens), to plug the hungry gap until our home crops are ready, keeping the boxes interesting... continued

Tuesday 19th April 2011

A couple of newsletters ago I mentioned our manager, Mark Slade, but compared with a couple of the butchers, Mark is the new kid on the block. Master carcass cutter, Ken George, for example, was involved right from the beginning. Now sixty-five and working a three day week (in which he does the work of at least two men half... continued

Thursday 14th April 2011

If you have ever inherited an allotment or veg patch, chances are you have got a rhubarb plant or two in with the bargain. It is among the least fussy vegetables, often merrily proliferating year after year for the most neglectful of gardeners, and making a show of verdant life when everything else is looking a bit muddy and twiggy.... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

All farmers love ploughing. Through March and April, every time the weather’s right, we are out there methodically turning the green fields brown; burying the weeds and last year’s crop debris and creating clean seed beds. Turning on the tractor seat to see four unbroken furrows sequentially skimmed, cut, and lifted to lie perfectly inverted with their neighbours, stretching back... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

As our spring planting starts in earnest, we are also busy stripping the last of the 2010 overwintered crops. The harsh winter was generally devastating veg-wise, so it is impressive to see such healthy leeks coming out of the ground. Potato planting actually started during the last week of February with Colleen, the first early variety, and our new variety... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

As spring picks up speed here on the farm, things are hotting up in more ways than you can shake a stick at. We’ve moved some of the picnic benches outside the farm offices so we can enjoy the spring sunshine during our breaks and look across the field at the wet garlic, which is really coming on well. Red... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

With the recent spell of warm weather it’s suddenly all go for the crops in our polytunnels. The spring onions and Butterhead lettuces are now being harvested to clear the way for the new plants coming in; first off it will be parsley, coriander and basil for April and May, and then chillies in June. Meanwhile, the chickens in the... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

It seems that after a troublesome winter, things are finally working with us. The mild, dry weather of late means we’re well on schedule with our planting. Around 120 acres of potatoes have gone in; a mixture of varieties including Valor, Bambino (one of my favourites), and Nicola. We’re going to need a bit of rain at some point soon,... continued

Thursday 7th April 2011

Tweet A wonderfully dry and sunny March has allowed us to plant about half the potatoes and the first lettuce, cabbage, carrots and spinach, all in perfect conditions. After the coldest winter many of us can remember, the remaining overwintered leeks, cauliflower, purple sprouting and spring greens are belatedly making the growth we expected of them in... continued