Ann's Farm Journal

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

Three New Polytunnels

Three New Polytunnels

Hi Everyone,

Well…..we now have TEN POLYTUNNELS!

Number ten was completed last Thursday – many thanks to our local builders; Dodwell Brothers. This provides us with 1/4 acre of covered organic vegetable growing – probably the largest area of covered organic vegetable growing in the region. Covered cropping has many advantages including; increased temperature, protection against wind/rain/frost/snow, controlled watering, better protection against pests – especially rabbits, ability to grow Summer fruiting crops such as tomatoes/aubergines/tomatoes, quicker growing crops and importantly a better working environment for ourselves!!!

Now we only have to make up the beds with PAS100 compost, lay the wood chip paths, erect the overhead watering system, place the ground watering system, prepare the gravel paths around each tunnel, make six rabbit proofing gates oh….and then plant out! Each tunnel will easily need six tons of compost! This comes from local garden waste and is composted by our friends at Codlaw Farm, about eight miles away.

We were hoping to plant the tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, chillies and peppers in the new tunnels very soon. However, the dreaded epidemic delayed the erection of the tunnels and as a result the crop plan has had to be altered slightly. Everything has consequences….delayed polytunnels, altered crop plan and then the harvesting plan needs to be readjusted. There is no way we could forgo any of our tomatoes or our summer crops. This is always a favourite season of the year….the colours, the smells, the taste, the crops. Bob has ensured that the readjustment allows all crops to be planted in good time.

Last week we mentioned in the email, that Faye the very talented chef and MasterChef semi-finalist will be providing us with recipes.
Faye has provided us with a lovely picture and bio of herself:

I entered Masterchef in 2017 and after a long interview process I was lucky enough to be selected to appear on the show, I actually couldn’t believe it to be honest. I made it to the semi final which I still find hard to believe. The show was a massive learning curve the highlight was going to work in the professional kitchen “ormer” in Mayfair. I learnt such a lot that day.

The one piece of advice I took away from the show was from Tom Kitchen he said “ don’t serve food if you don’t want to eat it”.

I’m a massive advocate of local produce we rear our own beef and lamb here on the farm and grown what we can but as we are pretty high up and it’s always windy here we are a bit limited, that’s where Hexham shire Organics come in. I’ve been getting fruit and veg from Bob and Ann for a few years and I love it, actually what I like best is looking around the poly tunnels with Ann marvelling at all the beautiful produce then going home and making dishes based on what’s ready. When Ann asked if I’d like to write some recipes up for them I jumped at the chance, there’s nothing better that sharing the food I love.

This week she has provided us with the first of her recipes, see below. I, for one, will be trying her bread recipe, especially as Gilchesters Organic Flour is available again this week. The team at Gilchesters have been working flat out to provide the North East with organic flour during this time. We are very lucky to be able to buy some. The pigs and chickens are very happy too, as they also eat organic bran and seed from the mill.

As well as the Flour we also have Bacon available again to go with the Sausages, Eggs, Herbs, Juice and Butter that you can add to your boxes.

So, we seem to be local people pulling together…the Polytunnels were constructed by a local company, the compost arrives from near here, Faye lives in the Shire, Gilchesters are not ten miles away, you are all within a close radius of Hexhamshire Organics. Is this the way ahead? Less mileage, use local, go organic? There is always a silver lining, even during a pandemic!