Sunday, December 28, 2014

Starling murmurations

For the past week or so we have been treated to starling murmurations at dusk as thousands of starlings fly over the farm heading north - this is the first time I can remember this happening here. So far this is the best photo we've got, taken one hour ago as I was measuring out the footprint of our to-be-constructed propagation polytunnel.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eggs aplenty

We are very pleased to report that there are now plenty of eggs for sale at the farm (in our shop and on the gate, as well as at farmer's markets when they start up again in the New Year). We apologise for the lack of eggs that plagued us through October and November, due to the onset of winter clashing with repairing and moving the chicken sheds - our old birds couldn't handle all that upheaval, and the new brood hadn't started laying yet. All these issues are now resolved, and we are collecting around 130 eggs a day.
Lots of lovely eggs for sale in the shop today.


Many many thanks to Yaewool, from South Korea, for volunteering on the farm over Christmas week (especially for the Korean food on Christmas Day!) - we hope you successfully made it through the "transport chaos" to get back upcountry today.
Yaewool picking rainbow chard, on Christmas Day in the morning...

Christmas on the farm.

Chickens and polytunnels don't realise it's Christmas, so the farm has continued over the festive period with a skeleton staff.... We did close the shop on the 25th and 26th however, opening on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th for the run-up....
Dawn over the farm whilst heading to the chicken sheds on Christmas morning.
Beautiful weather on Christmas Day! Two of us harvested most of the veg needed for our Boxing Day delivery of veg boxes, with time for some repairs to brassica netting and chicken shed windows before dusk. Then on Boxing Day we harvested salad before delivering veg boxes as far afield as Penzance, followed by some weeding in the polytunnels.

A special mention must go to Yaewool, our wwoofer from South Korea, who helped all week with only Christmas Eve off, and 3 local volunteers who came down on Christmas Day and Boxing Day mornings to help collect and process eggs - plus 2 other local volunteers who called round with gifts of shortbread and buck's fizz!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas wishes.

Bosavern Community Farm would like to wish all its volunteers, supporters, customers and friends, both past and present, a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year 2015 (and thank you for your continued support).
Merry Christmas from our chickens!


Thanks also to Jamie, from Miami via London, for his contributions during one month volunteering with us - and a wonderful Christmas and happy new year 2015 to you too - Jamie will still be enduring the coach to London as I type this....

Pierre and Iona.

Many thanks to Pierre and Iona, from Brittany (near Concarneau which is twinned with Penzance!), for their help during 10 days as WWOOF volunteers on the community farm - and also our best wishes for Christmas and 2015.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Coppicing Workshop

Yesterday, Tuesday 16th December, we held our 4th coppicing workshop on the farm, in association with Greg Humphries (local woodsman and artist) and the Wild Penwith Volunteers from the Cornish Wildlife Trust. Several farm volunteers also helped, so we fielded a team of 15 people and got far more done than we expected.
Greg explaining the principles of coppicing to the group.
In the winter of 2010-11 we coppiced the back line of the three lines of willow windbreak along the south side of the market garden, and now after 4 years growth it was time to coppice it again.
The line of stumps after coppicing at the rear of the windbreak.
After coppicing the willow, the offcuts were sorted and processed (known as "snedding") into three products - 3-foot-long thumb-thick straight withies for re-planting in spring; foot-long lengths for stacking and seasoning for next winter's woodfuel; and a pile of reject brash for leaving to rot as a wildlife habitat in the field.

Cutting withies (left) and woodfuel (right).
Two lengths of withy soaking in our pond ready for planting come spring.
After the coppicing and snedding was complete, with time to spare and fueled by mince pies, we cleared around the willows planted around the market garden to free them from grass and bramble, to give them a better chance of survival. A very productive day! Many thanks to all who came along, and especially to Greg and David for their expertise and organisation.

Shop opening hours for Christmas

The farm shop will be open from 11am till 6pm on the following days over the festive period:-

Wednesday 17th December
Thursday 18th
Friday 19th
Saturday 20th
Sunday 21st
Monday 22nd
Tuesday 23rd
Wednesday 24th
Saturday 27th
Sunday 28th
Wednesday 31st
Friday 2nd January
Saturday 3rd
Sunday 4th

Then we will be returning to our normal Wednesday to Sunday inclusive 11am till 6pm.

There is still time to order our special Christmas Hampers for 22nd and 23rd, as well as to buy Bosavern Christmas cards, and a range of ideal gifts like honey, jams, chutneys, hair tonics, leatherwork, wildflower seeds, chilli relish etc....


Many thanks to Dominic, from the Black Forest in Germany, who left today after 5 weeks as a wwoof volunteer on the farm. Have a great Christmas back home and enjoy your new wwoofing experiences in the new year.

Christmas Tree Festival

For the third year running a group of volunteers from the farm have decorated a tree in St Just Methodist Chapel, which is one of many trees available for viewing from 1 till 7pm until December 19th.
This year's theme is Christmas Music, and our tree is based on We Wish You A Merry Christmas....including miniature figgy puddings made by children at our recent Advent Celebration.

Chapel Street Christmas Market

Saturday 13th December saw historic Chapel Street in Penzance closed to traffic for the day for a 1940s and 50s themed Christmas market. Bosavern Community Farm took a range of produce along - veg, eggs, honey, herbal tonics and Christmas cards of the farm - and joined the producers at Chapel Street Producer's Market.
Many thanks to Deb for running our stall, and for all the people who came along to support us (and help us to carry things back to the van afterwards!).

Chapel Street Producer's Market began this year and runs from 9am till 1pm on the second, third, fourth and fifth (if there is one) Saturdays of the month outside the Methodist chapel - Saturday 20th December will be their last until February though. Find more information on their facebook page.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

St Just Christmas Fair.

On Saturday 6th December the farm had a stall at St Just Christmas Fair - thanks to Alice for running the stall and making it look so inviting.
Alice running our stall.

The old town hall looking very festive.

Dawn at the chicken sheds.

Some lovely photos from letting the chickens out early Saturday morning...

Alberto and Sarah.

Many thanks to Alberto and Sarah, from Madrid, for their 10 days or hard work on the farm, and the amusing card they left behind! We wish you all the best back in Spain and hope to see you again in the future.

Sacks of potatoes.

We now have sacks of our own Valor potatoes for sale in the shop, priced at £10 for 12.5kg and £18.50 for 25kg (normal price is £1 per kilo).

Aromatherapy Workshop.

Today, four lucky ladies cosied up around the farmhouse fire and enjoyed a day of Aromatherapy and Massage Techniques with our very own Alternative Therapy Workshop leader Isobelle. We learnt about the effects and use of many different oils, smelling and discussing each one. After a delicious shared vegetarian lunch, Isobelle imparted some hand massage and head, neck and shoulder massage techniques, which we then took in turns to indulge our partners with. We then put into practice our newly found knowledge and each chose oils to make our own pot of Aromatherapy massage oil which we could take home with us. By the end of the day everyone had found at least one or two oils which they felt they could relate to and would like to start using in their every-day life . A lovely time was had by all and there was much talk of further Alternative Therapy workshops being run at the Farm. Keep a look out for posters in the New Year and do come and join us! Thanks Isobelle and all those that came!

Coppicing workshop 16th December.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Aromatherapy workshop 10th December.


The farm would like to thank Boris, from France, for his valuable input during one month as a WWOOF volunteer with us, and wish him all the best for his onward experiences.
Boris digging parsnips in the market garden last week.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent fair.

Today's "advent fair" on the farm was well-attended, thoroughly enjoyable, and ran as smoothly as clockwork (thanks to our team of volunteers and supporters who worked tirelessly to make it so).
Advent fair afternoon agenda.

Alice running our cafe in the packing shed - hot soup, freshly baked bread, hot drinks, mulled orange juice, cakes and mince pies.

A busy farmyard.

Craft workshops in the Hive - edible wreathes, mini Christmas puddings, and salt-dough tree decorations.

An edible wreath.

Our farm shop and sample hamper.

Enjoying the fire-pit in the farmyard.

We unveiled our proposed development plan for the farm, particularly the outbuildings.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Advent Fair this Sunday 12-4pm

Latest Cornishman article.

Christmas hampers.

Prototype Christmas hamper - actual contents may vary!
Please come to the farm shop and see our example Christmas hamper on display - full of lovely food and only £35. The actual contents will vary as we will be taking delivery of special Christmas chutneys and other produce nearer the time. Hampers need to be booked in advance, and can be collected from the farm on the 22nd and 23rd December. We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Harvesting potatoes.

So far this year all our potatoes have been dug by hand, but in early November we took possession of a single-row potato lifter, which has speeded our work somewhat! The current dry spell has allowed us to lift more than a tonne of potatoes so far, with more to come.
Tractor and lifter in the field.

A crate of freshly unearthed Valor potatoes.

Romain, Dominic and Boris picking up potatoes last Saturday.
Lifting potatoes has inspired one of our local volunteers to produce some artwork based on her experience - click this link to see her amazing drawing


Many thanks to Romain, from France, who left the farm on Monday after one week volunteering as a WWOOFer - we wish you all the best on your onward WWOOFing travels in the UK.
Romain picking up potatoes in the maincrop field.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Energyfund Cornwall Award.

Bosavern Community Farm Wins 'Energyfund Cornwall' Award!

On Monday 10th November, Pete (Grower), Nikki (Full time Volunteer) and Rob (our in house Renewables Expert) went to Energyfund Cornwall awards after being shortlisted for an award. The ceremony was hosted by Lucy Siegle, 'Green Agony Aunt' from the Guardian at The Eden Project.
Of the 23 applications for the £300,000 Energyfund Cornwall fund, 4 got partial funding and 15 were fully funded.

We are very happy to announce that the farm has been awarded a £10,800 grant!
This will be used for the initial costs associated with developing renewables at BCF and possibly a Community Share Issue launch to fund the installation costs. The bulk of the money is to pay for planning application fees and the environmental reports needed to go with them. Just over a quarter of the money will be used for running a CSI to raise the funds to pay for the systems work - but now at least we can move on with this without any financial risk to the farm. This is a very important step in helping the farm become more self-sustaining and to be a model of best practice in sustainable food growing initiatives.

Additional congratulations to Rob for recieving an award for his second venture of developing
a solar PV project through West Cornwall Community Renewables, (like Bosavern is a Community Benefit Society). This will fund Rob to kick start WCCR, developing local community owned renewable generation.

Well done Rob and thanks for running our application!
Thanks to all who supported our Crowdfunding application and please continue to support us in this exciting venture!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Onions stored for winter.

2014 saw our largest harvest yet of the biggest onions yet, which we were able to dry in the field then polytunnel due to late summer sunshine. They are now all sorted and stored in the packing shed, hung from the beams in string sacks, and should see us through the winter and spring.
Some of our onions - "sturon" and "red baron" stored for winter.

Picking and packing volunteers.

Friday 14th November saw our biggest volunteer turn-out yet for picking produce and packing veg boxes, and once again we'd like to thank all our wonderful volunteers for making the community farm possible and worthwhile.
Alice, Martin, Jenny, Willow, Janie, Nikki, Tigerlily, Pete, Darren, Dominic, Boris and Mark.
With their help we were able to pick and pack for 30 weekly veg boxes, plus our wholesale orders for local businesses (cafes and pubs), Pendeen farmer's market, and our own farm shop, by midday, which gave us the afternoon to tick some more jobs off in the market garden and polytunnels - thanks again!


Everybody at the farm would like to thank Darren, from Sheffield, for his hard work as a volunteer over the past month, and wish him all the best for his potential permaculture project in Spain.
Darren and Boss processing red onions in the packing shed.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Many thanks to Paulo, from Brazil, who spent one month volunteering on the farm - good luck with the rest of your UK travels and fact-finding missions.
Paulo piling rubble during our autumn tidy-up.

Squash harvest.

This year we had two squash patches, the second of which was an experimental bed to see which of five varieties would yield best under the same conditions.
Jack-be-littles in the squash patch.

Crown princes in the squash patch.
On Thursday 30th October we harvested all that were there and weighed them - the yield of five plants of each of the five varieties, in a 25 square metre bed:-
crown prince - 27.8kg
jack-be-little - 18.5kg
rolet - 16.5kg
butternut - 6.6kg
turk's turban - 3.5kg.
The relative harvests of our five varieties - crown prince (back left), turk's turban (back centre), butternut (back right), jack-be-little (front left) and rolet (front right).
Consequently we won't be growing turk's turban again, though the butternut may be worth another go if we think we can spare some polytunnel space for them next year. We have grown jack-be-little for the past 4 years and will continue to do so; we will include rolet in our veg boxes sometime this month and we welcome feedback on their flavour and cooking performance; and the crown prince is a winner, though we must remember that those 27.8kg of squash corresponded to nine individual vegetables.
Crown prince, turk's turban, and summer crook-necked displayed in our farm shop.