pricedrop potatoes + sparrowhawks on kettles

As we head towards the Summer Solstice, the days have really drawn out and we’ve had some really good sunshine, but still not enough rain. Irrigation seems to be never-ending this year; even though we had 21.5mm in May (compared to 22.5mm last year), it all came in one week, and followed only 3.5mm in April.

Summer crops have started well, but we’ve had a disappointing number of strawberries due to the winter frosts followed by a snap when the first flowers emerged. The good news is that gooseberries have started this week though. The new season bunched carrots have been excellent, and our expectations on Graham and Chris Negus to beat other growers to the first crop is earlier every year. Early Lincolnshire new potatoes from George and John Danby are also beating the competition, with brilliantly tasty results. Planting also goes on at a pace: the first 30,000 leeks out of 300,000 are going in this week, along with (in the words of Nigel Venni, farm manager), “cabbages for Christmas”. He just had to be first to mention the c-word and do so before Midsummer Day.

Meanwhile our maincrop potatoes, grown right here on the farm, are now coming in from the fields. The abundant harvest means the price has come down by 50p to £1.95/1kg and by 80p to £2.95/2kg, so now’s the time to fill your boots.

Wildlife on the farm is always fascinating, but finding a sparrowhawk sat on the kettle in one of the farm sheds was very unusual, even for Sacrewell. It did take one of our guys by surprise, but he went and grabbed his camera and we have a great photograph of the event – visit www.facebook.com/riverford to take a look. Other visitors or permanent residents spotted this week are lapwings in the fields, great crested grebe on the reservoir, a roe deer ambling about and swallows feeding on the wing. What a great place to work!! I am sad to say however that my time at Sacrewell Farm is coming to a close and I am transferring to our sister farm in Hampshire, on 27th June. I have really enjoyed the last 18 months, as I’ve met a lot of wonderfully supportive customers, colleagues and suppliers. Having worked in many places in the country this has been one of the most satisfying, so thank you all.

Gordon Twigg, General Manager