Ann's Farm Journal
Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!
Milk & Honey
Bob and I hope you are enjoying all of our fresh, local, organic produce you are receiving in your boxes. At this time of the year the abundance of produce is huge, by this I mean that each crop is huge! The carrots are arriving to you with all the fresh greenery, for instance. The carrots have been harvested the day of your delivery and the carrot tops can be used to enhance your dishes during cooking or to make a pesto for your pasta dishes.
The leaves of the kale, celery, chard and herbs are also generally huge and would appear not to fit in your fridge! If I can make a suggestion…try placing your goodies in a jug of water, particularly the herbs. Place them in a cool area or use the herbs, for instance, as decoration and remove the leaves as and when you need them. I have a jug of mixed herbs in my kitchen and I just pick off what I need during cooking or for that cheeky cocktail. This said jug of herbs has been on my worktop since June 20th and still looking fresh!
The onions you will be receiving from now are our new season onions. They are fresh from the ground so will be not be cured. Still perfect for use and are best stored in a dark, cool, dry place and not necessarily the fridge. Our onions tend to be ‘strong’ in flavour so careful when chopping, no tears now! Curing of the onions - which is the method used so onions can be stored will also begin but we have actually no idea where this will take place as we have thousands to dry….plus we have the shallots to follow the same process. Should be fun.
The summer season brings crops which generally need to flower to produce a fruit. The crops are tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, peppers, chillies, beans, peas as well as berries and tree fruits. To improve the pollination of the flowers, that is to make the pollen from the male part of a flower reach the stigma, which is the female part of the flower, each flower needs a good shake (Sex-Ed over). Or, bees can do this job for us. This year we decided to bring in some British Bumblebees to help with the pollination. As each bee buzzes around for food from each flower, they will shake the flower but also take pollen from one flower to another. Tomatoes are self pollinators, but they will still benefit from the bee presence. However, aubergines and peppers tend to need that extra little help. It is for these crops mainly that we brought in the bumblebees.
The bees arrived by post in a box. Yes, we had one curious and slightly worried delivery guy! The instructions were thorough and the hive of bees is now in Polytunnel 6. Should be really interesting to see the result. And if you are wondering how they just all don’t go and fly away. The hive has a Queen. This gives the worker bumblebee a reason to return to the hive. They will keep the Queen alive with the pollen it collects from the flowers. The Queen then lays eggs to make more worker bees which in turn will pollinate the flowers which provides the food for us all to eat. Circle of Life and good’ole Mother Nature strikes again!
The chickens and pigs are all still thriving. I would say that the weather we are having at the moment is perfect for all the animals…not too hot with some water for a mud bath. We will be taking some pigs to market shortly for all of you lovely customers asking ‘where’s the pork?’.
Over the time we have been an organic farm we have built up relations with many other organic farms in the region. These are our ‘farm to farm’ relationships. We would like to introduce one such close farm, Bays Leap Farm, so close in fact it is just up the road in Heddon on the Wall. This organic farm produces raw milk products. Raw milk is unpasteurised and unhomogenised. It is milk fresh from the cow. It provides more vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, probiotics and fatty acids compared to processed milk. Plus it tastes really good. The farm is rigorously tested, it is TB free and does not use antibiotics. It is certified by OF&G(Organic Farmers And Growers). We are very interested in creating this relationship and this Organic Raw Milk from Bays Leap Dairy Farm is on our website now.
Going to check on the bees and harvest some onions, so till next week, have a good one.
Are we really living in the land of Milk and Honey?
At the moment, Yes.
Still Stay Safe,