new face on the farm
After four years at Riverford on Upper Norton Farm, James MacGregor has moved down to the original Riverford farm in Devon, to manage the site where it all started. James has worked hard in setting up Riverford in Hampshire, turning a building site into a thriving business today, and I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him well in Devon.
Now to introduce myself, your new General Manager. I’m Gordon Twigg and have moved from Riverford on Sacrewell Farm in Cambridgeshire. It may surprise some people to know that while it’s only 138 miles from farm to farm, there’s a big difference in climate. Earlier this year I wrote a newsletter for Sacrewell customers about how the dry weather affects the onions (one of the main crops grown at Sacrewell); it doesn’t look as if Hampshire has had this problem. Meanwhile I’m fascinated by the herbs we grow here. The variety of chillies is remarkable, as reflected by such exotic names as ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ and ‘Vulcan’. Join in on our Chilli Day on Friday 19th August to celebrate the variety and versatility of these fiery little fellows.
Elsewhere on the farm we are trialling dried garlic. It’s not normally that successful in England as it does not store too well, but we’ll send a bulb in some boxes if it works. Speaking of wet and dry, the rains of late have prevented us harvesting soft fruit such as strawberries and cherries, so apologies if you’ve been disappointed. Wet picking drastically reduces soft fruit shelf life, making them more vulnerable to both bruising and infection with rots caused by botrytis fungi. It’s one of the gambles inherent in the natural, outdoor system we use here, and the irony is that we’ll be cursing the rain in one field, while delighting in its arrival for thirsty crops elsewhere!
Riverford at Womad festival (July 29th-31st)
If you’re patching up your tent to head off to Womad in Wiltshire, come and visit us at the Taste the World stage, where festival artists prepare their favourite dishes with a side order of spontaneous music. We’ll have a pop-up organic café, you can plait a string of garlic to take home, and meet Guy Watson who’ll be cooking (but not necessarily singing) at various times over the weekend.