wayward rain, strawberry promise + open farm sunday

I should probably open this newsletter with the disclaimer that, as I am writing about how dry it has been, we will probably get some rain soon! In 2010 we had 43.5mm of rain in March and April; this year we have had a measly 7.5mm. I wonder if that constitutes a drought yet. This has meant we have had to occasionally irrigate all the crops we have planted this year, and we are regularly watering some of them (eg. the main crop onions) until we get rain. Luckily for us we have our own reservoir on site, fed during the winter from the brook going through the mill pond into the River Nene, so we are not worried about a hosepipe ban. You will be pleased to know we have planted everything we had planned to, so you can expect all the seasonal crops this year, but obviously timings may vary a little given that they are weather-dependent.

We had a walk round the strawberry patch the other day, and there looks to be a good crop already forming. We have a new plot which was planted last year (traditionally the plants last for 3 years, before being replaced). This piece of land has irrigation built into the rows and therefore the plants will be well watered when they need it. Meanwhile, we have not noticed any problems for the wildlife despite the lack of rain as there is plenty of natural water at the bottom of the farm. The birds are very active, particularly the skylarks singing away in the morning and red kites using the afternoon thermals; always a wonderful sight.

open farm sunday, 12th june, 12-4pm
We have a family-friendly event planned next month here at Riverford on Sacrewell Farm. You will be able to come along and see all the crops, see where your boxes are packed, have a bit of fun with a few games and enjoy some food based on an “afternoon tea”, all done in the unmistakeable Riverford style of course! Directions are on our website, but for the satellite navigators the best postcode to use is for the garage opposite the entrance: PE8 6LB. If you are an orienteer or Ordnance Survey map user, the car park is at 0 degrees 24’ 44” W and 52 degrees 35’ 41” North. And if you wondered, 120 feet above sea level.

Gordon Twigg, General Manager