Riverford Wicked Leeks

bbc radio 4, farmer of the year...

For many years I have been a big fan of Radio Four's Food and Farming programs. Derek Cooper, who retired as presenter of the food program a couple of years ago, is in my book up there with John Peel as one of the all time greats of British broadcasting. This is why I was so thrilled to win the BBC Food and Farming "Farmer of the Year" award, last week.

The great thing about these awards is that they are initially based on the nomination of customers and then very carefully researched by experts in the industry. At this point I should thank those customers who nominated us. The judges, who each visited the farm for half a day were; Sir Don Curry (chairman of the post foot and mouth Curry Report, which is now the basis of our Government's current agricultural policy), Robert Clark (food retail analyst)and Steven Peacock from Radio Four. For all their charm they gave us a pretty good grilling, leaving few stones unturned, so I am all the more proud that we came through as the winner on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, we have finally given up on our onions. Having painstakingly graded through them and selected what seemed good for the following weeks boxes, we were finding that by the time we packed the boxes more onions had gone bad. It was a hard decision, but we have given up, and the last 30 tonnes will be fed to our neighbours cattle. Believe it or not, they go wild for them even if they are a little dodgy. For those of you who didn't complain, thanks for your patience and for those of you did, thanks for taking the time to let us know. As this was a last minute decision we had to buy some onions from Holland to fill the gap this week but hope to find some from the UK in time for next week.

The barns are full to bursting with carrots, squash and potatoes. The last crops to be brought in will be the celeriac and beetroot but we had actually run out of bins, crates and storage space because the carrots have produced such a bumper crop. One small silver lining to the giant onion cloud will be that at least we now have space to bring these crops in before the first hard frosts can damage them.

Guy Watson