fickle french weather and a (minor) carrot crisis

My father stopped keeping sheep 50 years ago, claiming, “They just keep finding new ways to die”. After three years of growing veg in France amid hail, Botrytis fungus and deluge, I’m feeling the same about peppers. Last week a break in the weather finally allowed us to plant them out, but within hours most had collapsed, blasted by a cold morning wind. Even after careful hardening off, the shock of moving from greenhouse to open field was too much. Protecting them with mini tunnels also failed; the afternoon heat overwhelmed the survivors and they too keeled over. 

Too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot; I was in despair and reduced to a jibbering wreck unable to direct the questioning staff, so we called in advice. One consultant said cover the crop with nets, another said we needed the protection of plastic; never ask two consultants. We resumed planting in the cool of the evening and it rained all night, so at least those plants did well; perhaps three quarters of the crop has survived.

Meanwhile our autumn-sown carrots (destined for your vegboxes as new-season bunches a few weeks ahead of our UK spring-sown crop) are gasping for nitrogen and have virtually given up. They’ll start trickling through next week, but in the interim we’ve been forced to continue sending out old season carrots that some of you have complained about. I agree they are not great; at this time of year our options are limited. On a more positive note, we’ve intercropped the courgettes with parsley, which will be in lots of the vegboxes this week or next as a freebie. Take it as an apology for the carrots.
Guy Watson

a new logo
You may have noticed our new logo on this newsletter. As Riverford has grown and diversified over 25 years, we have ended up with a lot of different logos and images to represent us. It had got a bit confusing, so we’ve had a tidy up and moved to one simple logo. It will gradually appear on our delivery vans, packaging and other materials over time.