Ann's Farm Journal

Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!

Durham Uni Visit

Durham Uni Visit

Hello Everyone, 

Bob and I hope you are really well. Thank you for all your orders last week.

Once again the shop had to close early due to demand. My suggestion for you all, our lovely customers, is to order on the Sunday, after reading this journal. We update the website just before the email is issued. Bob and I wander the farm on a Saturday morning with the shop in mind. We look at our crops and decide on the Fresh Local Organic Produce we have and if it is to be placed on the website and if yes, how much will be available. This time of the year, crops grow much slower than the summer season which means that it is quite important to check availability. Sometimes, we do get the numbers wrong. Our expectation of the vegetable to grow in that week can be off. We do try but apologies for the lack of a crop on the occasional week. 

We were not the only people checking the crops this week. On Monday afternoon Durham University history department came for, literally, a field trip. As you can see from this weeks pic, Bob was in his element discussing our history and methods here on our farm. The history students had the full Bob Paton talk which, we hope, helps with their ‘Food in the Past and Present’ module. How fab to know that food history is being taken so seriously. They study farming practices of the past and present. They look at the history of individual fruits and vegetables, the old practices farmers would use, recipes and menus and the community surrounding farm life. This is all right up my street. 

An historical example provided as a thank you by the lecturer accompanying the students:

"Scorzonera also known as Black Salsify was once known as ‘goats-beard’. It was known to be really tasty, much better than carrots or parsnips." This is the extract found in a 17th century herbal book…’Gerard’s Herball’ Chap.  2,52.      

"Goats-beard,  or  Go to bed at noon, hath hollow stalks, smooth, and of a whitish green colour whereupon do grow long leaves crested down the middle with a circling rib, sharp pointed, yielding a silky juice when it is broken. In shape like those of garlic. (...) The whole flower resembles a star when it is forced abroad for it shutteth itself at twelve of the clock...until the next days sun doth make it flower anew, whereupon it was called "go to bed at noon." (...) [It grows wild in England] in Lancashire on the banks of the River Chalder. It is sown in gardens for the beauty of the flowers almost meadows and fertile pastures in most places of England. (...) The roots of Goats-beard boiled in wine and drunk, assuages the pain and pricking stitches of the sides. The same boiled in water until they be tender, and buttered as parsnips and carrots, are a most pleasant and wholesome meat, in delicate taste far surpassing either parsnips or carrots. They procure appetite, warm the stomach...and strengthen those who have been sick of a long lingering disease." 

How good is this! I may have to give up this life and become a researcher at the history department…not sure Bob would approve? But, we have been invited to look at the books and references and we will definitely be looking into this (see what I did - looking into the books).

The students were very inquisitive, asking lots of questions from the types of crops we grow and sell to the organic status we have to the business we operate to the no-dig system we practice to the relationships with other farmers to the sustainable practices used to the environmental consideration we have to the difficulties we encounter to the crew we have on board to the fun we have. They were thorough, pleasant and enjoyed eating the cakes provided for them…Students! They were brilliant and are welcome anytime. The future is looking bright. 

Talking about the future…it is a month till Christmas and in next week's journal will be all the information regarding the festive season. 🤶HoHoHo!🤶 

Thank you for returning all the boxes and bottles. This is not only a great help to us as a business but it is much better for the environment to #reuse. 

Have a great week,