We have now entered the dreaded annual "hungry gap", between the end of winter crops and the start of summer ones, when many veg-box schemes take a short break to regroup and prepare for the season ahead. But, like last year, we are aiming to continue the Bosavern Community Farm veg-box scheme without a break, produce permitting. Last year was an awful growing year, a wet summer followed by a wetter winter, then a cold cold spring, so winter crops didn't get very big and ran out sooner than usual, and summer crops will be late too because the ground has been too cold to sow until the past few days. Last year we sowed our first peas mid-February, this year it will be towards the end of April!
Our stored potatoes ran out last week, our stored onions in February, our cauliflowers two weeks ago, and our leeks have run out today. Everyone in this area seems to be in the same boat, with not enough veg to go around. We have been buying unsprayed vegetables from Gulval, near Penzance, to supplement our boxes through the winter, but these have run out this week too. The local produce we have been able to source are dried chillies (from Incredible Crops in Trezelah), salad leaves to boost our own (from Slight Hill in Heamoor), cabbages which have now run out (from the Real Ideas Organisation in Badgers Cross), and next week hopefully rhubarb (from Moorvue Rural Centre near Morvah). We are still producing our own jerusalem artichokes, salad leaves, various herbs, rainbow chard, spinach, green sprouting broccoli/calabrese, sorrel, physallis (Cape gooseberry), and eggs, but this is not enough to fill our boxes.
We have therefore had to make a difficult decision, and after much debate by the farm team, we have ordered some produce from an organic wholesaler called Sunseed Organics, for next week's boxes and farmers market. Sunseed Organics are based in Bristol, but their depot is in Devon, and we will only be buying produce grown in Cornwall and Devon. This is pushing the boundaries of "local" somewhat, but our only other options were to close down our veg-box scheme until the summer, or to buy local veg grown "conventionally" and therefore sprayed, and we didn't want to do either of those.
Next week we should have Devonian potatoes and carrots, and Cornish cauliflowers, all certified organic. If any of our veg-box customers do not agree with our decision, we understand completely, and if you want to cancel your box until our own crops come through in the summer, then please just let us know.