Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas.

Bosavern Community Farm would like to wish everybody a very merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year 2013. We would particularly like to thank all our volunteers, wwoofers, supporters, shareholders, fellow producers, and customers for all their hard work and support throughout 2012, and we look forward to working with you in 2013.
Volunteers with our finished Christmas tree in St Just Methodist church.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Coppicing workshop.

Today we held our annual coppicing workshop, led by Greg Humphries. The Wild Penwith Volunteers were in attendance as usual, and with the farm's volunteers and wwoofers this made 14 people. After Greg had given a tool talk and coppicing demonstration, we got down to the practical task of coppicing the third and final line of willow on the south side of the Market Garden Field. We began this task in November 2012, and now it's complete! Three lines of willow brought back into rotation, and withies transplanted to surround one and a half of the farm's fields as windbreaks.
Coppicing the third and final line of willow.

Greg showing us how it's done.

Removing the coppiced willow for processing (snedding).
The coppiced willow is being processed into fire-wood, bean-poles, pea-sticks, weaving pieces, and withies for planting as windbreaks around next year's Maincrop Field (where the chickens currently are).
Many thanks to everyone who came along today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Last farmer's market before Christmas.

The last market before Christmas will be the St Just Food and Craft Market in the Old Town Hall this coming Saturday, 22nd December, from 09:30 till 12:30. We will have our usual stall selling eggs and veg from the farm, so please come and support us there.

Last day of freedom.

Our 41 Norfolk Black turkeys spent their last day in the open air today. Tomorrow they will be kept inside, and not fed, so they are ready for slaughter first thing Wednesday morning. This year's turkeys have been better behaved than last year's, even though there's twice as many of them. The following photos show them enjoying their field for the last time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Turkey collection.

Just a reminder to all our turkey customers this year, that your turkeys will be ready for collection from the farm on Wednesday 19th December, anytime in the afternoon or evening. Please bring some money or a cheque with you to pay the remainder - we won't know the exact price of your bird until then. Many thanks, and see you then.

Coppicing workshop next Tuesday.

Tuesday 18th December will see our annual coppicing workshop held here on the farm, again led by Greg Humphries and the Wild Penwith Volunteers. The workshop will commence at 10am, and if it's anything like last winter it will continue until dusk. Please come along and learn how to coppice, and help us in the task - bring a packed lunch, wellies, and waterproof clothing.

Rainwater harvesting from a chicken shed roof.

After talking about it for two years or more, we eventually had enough spare time and the relevant parts to install a rainwater harvesting system onto one of our chicken sheds. Not only does this save water and money (we are mains metered), but it saves us time in the morning - no fiddling around with a hosepipe, the water is right there at the shed already. Not surprisingly the butt filled up straight away and is almost overflowing already (the rain wet us to the skin during installation)!
Rainwater harvesting system on chicken shed one.

Three little pigs move home.

Three of our one-year old kune kune pigs have moved to another farm near St Buryan. We still have eleven on site though, busy ploughing the land for us (even where we don't want it ploughed!).
Ginger, Lowenna and Blue a few days before leaving.

Christmas veg boxes.

We will be continuing as normal over the festive period, with veg boxes ready for collection at 5pm on Fridays 21st and 28th December. Anybody wishing to receive a box, or to change their normal order, for these dates, can you please contact Hugh before the evening of Thursday 20th December - many thanks. There will still be freshly baked bread available too, please let us know if you want some in your box.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Food photos.

The contents of one of our standard veg boxes - 1kg Charlotte potatoes, 3 leeks, pak choi, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, 500g onions, lettuce, and a sprig of sage (last week's selection).

Mixed salad leaves with borage flowers.
Thanks to Alice, who took these lovely photos during harvesting last Friday.

Trengwainton Gardens organic horticulture students visit Bosavern.

Today, Thursday 13th December, we received a visit from Jeannie and five of her students studying horticulture at the National Trust's Trengwaiton Gardens. Hugh gave them an hour's tour of the market garden and polytunnels, then Jennie showed them the animals, and then some of them joined us lifting and picking potatoes and got dirty for an hour.
Jeannie and the gang in one of our polytunnels.

Lifting potatoes again.

Many thanks to Heather Lane Nurseries for lending us their single-row elevator - just a shame that the day we collected it the deluges began! The recent brief dry spell allowed the land to drain enough to take the elevator up to the Maincrop Field though, so every day since Saturday 8th December we have been up there lifting and picking up spuds.
Nico, Ian, Jim, Janet and Kevin.
Howard helped us lift all the Charlottes last month, and so far over the past few days we've lifted all the Cosmos and are now halfway through the Ambo. Results have been mixed. Some patches of Charlotte were only 10% rejects (mainly due to worm damage, but also rabbits and slugs) while other patches were maybe 60% rejects (lucky pigs!). Cosmos were the worst, maybe 60-70% of the crop rejected. And Ambo are the best, with only about 20% rejected overall. Next year we will be growing Maris Peer, Charlotte, and Ambo.
The single-row elevator in action.
We should now have enough potatoes in storage to see us through to the first new potatoes next May.

Christmas decoration workshop.

On Sunday 9th December, in the Hive, we held a Christmas decoration workshop, to prepare for the dressing of the Bosavern Christmas tree in St Just Methodist Church on Friday 14th. We have of course gone for a farming theme, with many items of vegetables from the farm transformed into Christmas baubles - physallis lanterns, hawthorn berries, green peppers, green tomatoes, red chillies etc - along with knitted pigs and felt chickens, and decorated blown eggs. Please go along to the church to see the finished tree, and watch this space for a photo.

Christmas volunteering sessions.

There will be no volunteering sessions at the farm on December 25th or 27th, or on January 1st. The following sessions will take place as normal:-
Saturday 15th 1-5pm, finishing lifting this years potato crop.
Tuesday 18th 10am-5pm, coppicing willow with Greg and the Wild Penwith Volunteers.
Thursday 20th 10am-3pm, harvesting for Christmas veg boxes and market.
Saturday 22nd 1-5pm.
Saturday 29th 1-5pm.
And returning to normal on Thursday 3rd January, 10am-3pm.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clearing the market garden field fence-line.

Today we have finished one of our biggest winter jobs, clearing the fence-line of the market garden field, having begun back in October. By the end of the year the edges of the field are a mass of brambles, nettles, ivy, tall grasses, and alexanders, swamping the three lines of young willows we've planted over the past two winters, and the rabbit fence too. Our rabbit fence doesn't keep them out anyway, but brambles growing up and over it acting as rabbit-ladders just help them on their way. Having spent weeks hacking our way around the 400m of fence and willow, we can now access the fence to repair and strengthen it, and have given the willows a helping hand in their struggle to establish. We also have better access to the compost demonstration site and cattle trough. Our next job is to coppice the willows and plant their whips in the next field up, to start growing a wind-break further up the farm.
Janet and Simon clearing around willows and rabbit fence.

Heather Lane Nurseries.

Following a trip to Heather Lane Nurseries at Canonstown, between Penzance and St Ives, we have begun to broaden our range of produce by buying their vegetables. Our veg-boxes and farmers market stalls have recently included swedes, headed lettuces, butternut squashes, black Tuscan kale (cabalonero), and pumpkin portions from Heather Lane. The nurseries have been operating since the 1980s, and their primary objective is to provide a place where adults with learning difficulties can contribute to a working environment. We were very impressed with what we saw, the amount of work that has gone into the success of the project, and the positive effect it obviously has on people's lives. We look forward to working closely with Heather Lane in the coming season.