Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Leaves.

Winter came suddenly this year, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, with some hail, but without the freezing snowy conditions of last year. Not much is happening out on the vegetable field these days (that's not quite true, but most of the sowing and planting is taking place under cover) but our polytunnels provide good conditions for hardy salad leaves and other crops. Low light levels and reduced temperatures mean even in the polytunnels crops grow slowly, and we cannot meet the demands for mixed salad, so we concentrate our efforts on getting mixed salad leaves into the weekly veg-boxes, with whatever surplus there may be for sale on the farm-gate stall. Anyway, here's some photos of winter salad leaves, all growing in the polytunnel now.
Corn-salad, or lamb's-lettuce, a member of the valerian family, slow growing but attractive.

Giant red mustard, a brassica (member of the cabbage family).

Giant winter spinach, grows slowly through winter but shoots up in spring.

Green-in-snow mustard, good tangy winter brassica.

Greenwave mustard, another brassica.

Land cress, tastes like water cress but needs less water.

Mizuna, a brassica, fast growing but can be fiddly to harvest.

Namenia, another brassica, one of the best.

Nasturtian, not a brassica! Lovely peppery leaves and edible flowers too.

Pak choi, oriental brassica, can pick leaves or grow into a head of "Chinese leaves".

Rainbow chard, the old standby, young in salad or older as a vegetable.

Red winter kale, lovely feathery leaf for salads, another brassica.

Rocket, another classic brassica.

Sessantina, an oriental brassica.

Serifon, another oriental brassica (or is this Sessantina?).

Tat soi, similar to pak choi, leaves like lollipops.

New Compost Demonstration Site.

On Tuesday 13th December (a very busy day on the farm!) Guy from Cornwall Waste Action, assisted by several farm volunteers, constructed a compost demonstration site on our vegetable field. The site shows three methods of composting waste, being the New Zealand box, black Joanna, and tumbler, along with interpretation signs. The farm already operates a hot composting system constructed from old pallets, but this new site will demonstrate different and more "garden-scale" ways of producing compost.
Sonja, Jackie, Deb and Guy building compost bins in a torrential hail storm.

The completed compost demonstration site.

One interpretation board.

And the other.
Guy also gave the farm a wormery to set up in the house, which we will do in January when the worms have arrived. Thanks to Guy and the volunteers!

Map of the area.

Our friend Chris at YHA Land's End has produced a map of the area around St. Just and the Cot Valley, including Bosavern Community Farm and footpaths to the farm from town.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wild Penwith Volunteers on their fourth visit.

On Tuesday 13th December the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Wild Penwith Volunteers came to Bosavern Community Farm for their fourth working day since the project began. Their task was to clear brambles and gorse around the perimeter of the vegetable field, to allow access for repairing the rabbit-fence and coppicing the willow over the winter months. In fact, the same task as they undertook in November 2010 on their first visit here! This time the task was quicker and easier as there was only one year's bramble growth instead of two, so the whole job was done in the day, and there was time for a coppicing demonstration from Greg Humphries to boot.
Clearing brambles from the rabbit fence.

Waiting behind the new polytunnel for Greg's coppicing demonstration.

Greg getting into that willow coppice.
Many thanks to the Wild Penwith Volunteers for their hard graft on the day, and to Greg for his coppicing demo. Hopefully everyone will be back to coppice the willow sometime in early February.

Forthcoming Volunteer Sessions.

Tuesday December 20th - 1 till 5pm, harvesting produce for our Christmas veg boxes.
Thursday December 22nd - 10am till 3pm, organising and preparing for the farm's Christmas Family Fun Day, which runs that afternoon from 3 till 6pm.
Saturday December 24th - no volunteering (except for those on the chicken care rota).
Tuesday December 27th - no volunteering (except for those on the chicken care rota).
Thursday December 29th - no volunteering (except for those on the chicken care rota).
Saturday December 31st - back to normal volunteer session 1 till 5pm. See you there!

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish all our volunteers and supporters a wonderful Christmas and many many thanks for all your hard work throughout 2011 - we couldn't have done it without you and you are very much appreciated by the farm community. See you back here in the New Year, unless some of you make it in on the 31st....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Turkeys for Christmas.

We still have 2 turkeys available for Christmas, having sold 19 of our 21, so if anybody wants a Norfolk Black turkey this year please give us a ring on 01736 788454. They are due to be prepared for ovens on Thursday 23rd, and cost £10 per kilo, so in the region of £50 to £70 per bird depending on the size you require. Hurry!

Cornwall Today article.

Bosavern Community Farm is pleased to have been featured in the December 2011 issue of "Cornwall Today", with a 2-page spread on pages 70 and 71.

Friday, December 9, 2011


If evidence were needed that (in a time of supermarket-driven global agri-business) the small-scale community-run local organic farm is the answer at the end of the rainbow.... A brief lull in Friday's vegetable harvesting....

St Just Christmas Fair.

Tomorrow, Saturday 10th December, we will have a fundraising stall in the Old Town Hall for the Christmas Fair, selling quality used items, chicken sponsorships, farm produce, hone-made cakes and pickles. The fair runs from 10:30 am till 4pm. Please support the community farm by shopping at our stall, and by donating items for us to sell.

Christmas Family Fun Day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recent Workshops.

On November 8th Bosavern Community Farm was the venue for three workshops, attended by trainees from gardening courses run by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (of which we are a member). The day was a celebration of composting and growing, run in association with the FCFCG plus Cornwall Neighbourhoods 4 Change (CN4C) and Cornwall Waste Action.

The first workshop was taken by Hugh, Community Farm Trainer here at BCF, with the theme of "winter cropping both outdoors and under cover", being a guided tour of the vegetable field and polytunnel, so a chance to see theory put into action in the field. The second workshop was "composting" taken by Guy from Cornwall Waste Action, with a lively discussion followed by a visit to the farm's hot composting station out in the veg field. And the third workshop was "chicken keeping" taken by Kent, a regular volunteer here at the farm and fount of wisdom with experience in smallholding. Feedback from all three sessions was excellent, with many people taking inspiration from the day.

Kent with attendees and chickens.

Guy explaining hot composting out in the veg field.
There will be more workshops to come, so please watch this space for information.

Land's End Peninsula Community Land Trust Newsletter.

Dear Supporters of BCF and Followers of Hugh's blog...

Its been another busy couple of months at BCF with lots happening and lots in the pipeline!

Since the last update we have hosted a couple of extremely lively events at the farm one for a group of fifty teenagers on a world tour- sailing on a training tallship, aptly named the 'class afloat'. They loved the farm, the project and the group of St Just schoolchildren who showed them around 'their' farm so enthusiastically and with such pride. BCF also hosted a celebrationary event for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, who invited trainees from their gardening courses to come and take part in some free workshops (put on by BCF staff and volunteers) and enjoyed a great lunch (produce from the farm- prepared and baked using the Age Concern kitchen- Thanks Sylvia and Jill!)

For the local families we held a pre Feast- feast! a Halloween 'Hextravaganza' at St Just Rugby Club with lots of fiendish games and craft sessions and hog-roasted our community- pig!! (thanks to Tom MacFadden for doing such a grand job both cooking and carving...'twas enjoyed by all).

Also, thanks to the enthusiasm of one of our newest volunteers- Jenny, our produce is not only to be seen at the Pendeen Farmers Market but more recently at the  St Just Primary School, where Mrs O Brien has kindly agreed for us to share a stall with them selling farm produce and also any that the school has grown (or parents) for their own funds- a great partnership! Dates for which will be advertised and in the new year we plan for it to be a regular fortnightly event.

On a more practical level....the turkeys are doing what turkeys do best.....getting fat! the chickens are about to be moved to their new site...on the other side of the field! and the pigs....sadly... are gone, sadly because they are a great animal to have around and gone because we've eaten them....which is the reality of being an omnivore.. but what a great life our meat had and we plan to have more...in fact anyone interested in a future share should let us know. To all herbivores and their keepers, all our hay is now sold so until next summer thats it. Further news from the fields is that the cattle that have been so beautifully managing our outer fields through a local third party farmer are about to leave for the winter months. 

Great news also on the veg growing front as the farm crew have recently erected our new polytunnel, funding for which was raised from a Cornwall Neighbourhoods 4 Change 'pot' along with match funding from BCF business and in-kind labour...so a huge thanks to all our volunteers for their efforts, which were literally doubled in value!! as well as CN4C for the cash donation.

As far as planning for the future we have now submitted our final application for a lottery bid that, if successful, will make the dream of owning our community farm a reality....though as a plan B is always a good idea- the BCF finance team is already working on a share issue and mortgages and lending schemes appropriate to a community project.

We would also like to announce and welcome a new member to the team, Jackie Packer, who has kindly offered to help with our bookkeeping and banking (phew!), its a great relief to have someone with such experience(and patience) to guide us and keep us in check.

Im sure there are lots of things we have missed, but you can always come and visit and see for yourself how your community farm is progressing, to buy some eggs or volunteer yourself, hours are still 1-5pm on a Tuesday and Saturday and 10-3pm on a Thursday. 

Finally the fun-d raising team have been working hard on the winter celebration at the farm and the date for your diary is 22nd December between 3 and 6pm as usual there will be a number of great activities for all the family, some festive food and a chance to gather together for some seasonal sing-song round the christmas tree...so look out for postersin St Just nearer the day and bring your friends and family. We are also inviting the  members from Age Concern at around 5pm for a few carols and mince pies in the warmth of the farm kitchen...so if your gran or grandad would like to come along for that then please bring them along.

Once again many thanks to all who have helped and supported us throughout the year and we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Winter Solstice and a Happy New Year.

written by deb pepper on behalf of the bosavern farm community.