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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Many thanks to everyone who came to the Annual General Meeting of Bosavern Community Enterprises, the not-for-profit body who now oversee the community farm and Kenidjack Allotments. A turn-out of 28 people, most of them shareholders, was very good. More information, and the minutes, can be found on the BCEnts website.
Selling eggs, turkeys and veg boxes.

Raffle prizes for the night.

The AGM under way.
Thanks to everyone who bought eggs and raffle tickets on the night - special thanks to the Apple Tree Cafe, Andrew Corser, and Sonja Fairfield for donating raffle prizes.

Very wet November!

Whilst lucky compared to some low lying regions of the West Country, the recent deluges have brought a few problems to the farm, such as having to wade through shin-deep water to reach the chickens, and running repairs to the skin of our old polytunnel (due to be re-skinned before the spring). We haven't been able to lift and store more potatoes as we would have liked, or to let the turkeys out of their shed.
Small lake in the chicken field gateway.
Volunteers have continued coming to help despite the weather, and we have brought both polytunnels bang up to date, cleaned and disinfected the egg-packing room, cleaned and tidied the workshop and veg-packing area, and cleaned the Hive. It seems there's always something to do. As well as having to wade out to the chickens four times a day! Thankfully it's a lovely sunny day today, so we can open the polytunnels to freshen their air, let the turkeys out for a run, and continue clearing the fenceline and willow coppice in the veg field. Fingers crossed for another week of good weather so we can lift more potatoes....

Lifting potatoes.

Before the recent deluges, we took advantage of a brief dry spell and the offer of help from a close neighbour, and lifted one third of our potatoes from the Maincrop Field. Because our gateways are small, only small old machines can fit onto the farm, so Howard brought his two-row-elevator along, squeezed past the chicken fencing, and lifted the Charlotte potatoes for us.
Howard lifting potatoes.
Thankfully these potatoes have a lot less eel-worm damage than those we had dug by hand from around the perimeter of the field, making sorting and packing a more pleasant task. Unfortunately though, the amount of grass that had grown over the potato field still made the potatoes difficult to find even having been lifted, because the turf fell back on top to cover them up again - but it was still several times faster than digging by hand.
Potatoes lifted and awaiting collection.
We have stored the potatoes in the cow shed, surrounded by a wall of hay bales and covered over by hessian sacks, to allow them to breathe whilst keeping out the daylight so they don't turn green. Potatoes are always available in the stall at the farm gate, for £1 per kilo, and of course are a basic component in our weekly veg-boxes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The new polytunnel over time.

Looking at the last entry, showing photos of our old polytunnel "The Mothership" over the past two years, we thought it was a good idea to show how the new polytunnel "The Sausage" has come on since construction last year.
October 2011, new polytunnel in pieces stored in the cow shed.
November 2011, digging couch roots out inside the newly constructed tunnel.
March 2012, weeding the winter crops - green sprouting calabrese, spring cabbage, winter lettuce, and kohl rabi.
August 2012, full of tomatoes.
November 2012, winter salads, green sprouting calabrese, and physallis.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ludgvan Horticultural Society.

On Monday last week I was invited to give a presentation on "The Growing of Bosavern Community Farm" to the Ludgvan Horticultural Society. I showed photos of how the farm had developed over the past three years, and I'd like to thank the society and its members for their attentiveness and enthusiasm, as well as the donation they made to the farm. The presentation also underlined once again how far we've come in a relatively short space of time, as the following photos shown on the night will prove.

polytunnel August 2010

polytunnel February 2011
polytunnel August 2012

Hens needing homes.

The older hens from our laying flock are now three years old, and the best of their laying days are behind them. They don't eat much feed, they love pecking and scratching around in the soil, they like eating grass and weeds and snails, they lay the occasional large egg (once a week at best), and they are inquisitive little characters. They are now looking for new homes, as we need to make way for new laying hens in a few months time. If you would like to offer a home to two or more of these old girls (they need company), we have been selling them at £1 each, although we could easily be persuaded to give them away for free (or a small donation?). Please phone us on 788454, or call in.

Bosavern Community Enterprises AGM.

Bosavern Community Enterprises, the body which oversees Bosavern Community Farm, is holding its Annual General Meeting on Friday 23rd November at 7pm, at Age Concern on St Just's Fore Street. The meeting is open to anybody wishing to attend, though only members/share-holders of BCEnts can vote on motions. There will be a raffle to raise money for the farm, and refreshments too I'm sure.

New Jobs Coming Up.

Following our grant from the Big Lottery, there will be a handful of new posts at the farm. Please keep a lookout on the BCEnts webpage for the most recent information and job specifications.

Christmas turkeys.

Our free-range Norfolk Black (a traditional breed) turkeys are getting bigger, and some are still looking for tables to appear on at Christmas. They will be fully dressed (oven-ready) and ready for collection in the run-up to Christmas (exact date to be arranged), and will cost £4.75 per lb, or £10.50 per kg. A £20 deposit will secure your turkey. Please call us on 01736 788454 to order yours. They can be visited on the farm whenever you want...


Many thanks go to Ivana, who left us on Sunday having volunteered on the farm for two weeks. Ivana is heading to Embercombe near Exeter - - and we wish her all the best for her onward WWOOF adventures.

Ellie III

Thanks again to Ellie, who volunteered with us for the month of September, then returned for another week at the end of October. Special thanks go to Ellie for running the two "Art On The Farm" workshops whilst here.
Ellie takes a break whilst sacking onions in the farmyard.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Thanks to Rafael, who volunteered on the farm over the weekend - good luck with your onward hitch-hiking!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Marie, from France, has just left the farm this morning after three weeks wwoofing. Many thanks to Marie for all her hard work on the farm, and all the best with her onward travels.
Marie on the right, sowing broad beans with Kelly.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cornishman 18/10/2012.

Dates for your diary.

Saturday 27 - St Just food and craft market, Old Town Hall, 09:30 - 12:30.
Sunday 28 - yoga workshop, on the farm, 16:00 - 17:30.

Saturday 3 - Pendeen farmers market, Centre of Pendeen, 10:00 - 13:00.
Saturday 3 - Spanish workshop, on the farm, 17:00 - 18:00.
Sunday 4 - a group of volunteers will represent the farm in the annual Feast Parade, St Just, morning.
Sunday 4 - Farm Feast, on the farm, 14:00 onwards (farm volunteers to each bring a dish to the farm, for a sit-down sharing meal).
Monday 5 - Hugh to give a talk at Ludgvan Horticultural Society entitled "The Growing of Bosavern Community Farm", 19:30 - 20:30.

Apple Day.

Many thanks to Nick and Helen and all the team at the Apple Tree Cafe near Sennen for their lovely apple day celebrations on Sunday. The farm ran stalls selling eggs, herbs, veg, and of course apples, both inside and outside the cafe, and promoted our veg boxes and Christmas turkeys too. The farm donated a veg box to the raffle, and the raffle raised £21 to buy the cafe's second lot of Community Shares. The Apple Tree Cafe buy some of their salad leaves from the community farm, and also buy other produce from us, such as green tomatoes to make chutney. We buy the bread for our veg boxes from Nick at the cafe. Now they have offered to be a pick-up point for our veg boxes, so that people in Sennen and the surrounding area don't have to drive up to Bosavern to collect their boxes at the weekend - so if you live in and around Sennen and the cafe, and would like to pick up your veg box from there, please give us a ring on 788454 to arrange it.

Apple varieties from the local area.

Our stall inside the cafe.

One of the apple-themed activities on offer.

Selling apples on our stall.

The apples we buy from a friend near Pendeen.

Sowing broad beans, third time round.

Last Saturday (20th October) we sowed the first two beds of broad beans for next year. The second bed we ever prepared outside was for broad beans, in November 2000. So here we are again, preparing for our third full growing season on the farm, and the future is bright!
Sowing broad beans - Kelly, Marie, Kevin and Janet.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last weekend's workshops.

All three of the weekends workshops went well. The Spanish workshop ended up in the polytunnel learning the names of crops in Spanish, while some funky chickens were knitted later that day, and seven people came to a very relaxing yoga session on the Sunday. Thanks to all those who led these sessions.
The "knit a chicken" workshop in full swing.
The next Spanish workshop will be this coming Saturday 20th at 5pm, then there'll be a singing workshop led by Kelsey at 7pm on Monday 22nd.

What's for sale on the gate stall?

Charlotte potatoes, £1.25 per kilo
White onions, £1.00 per half kilo
Red onions, £1.00 per half kilo
Cucumbers, 60p each
Leeks, 80p each (grown by a fellow local producer)
Green tomato chutney, £2 per jar
Cherry tomato and sweet chilli jam, £2 per jar
Green peppers, 30p each
Large free-range eggs, £1.80 per half dozen
Free-range pullet's eggs (smaller), £1.00 per half dozen
Hot chillies, green or red, 10p each
Tomatoes, £1.25 per half kilo punnet
Mixed salad leaves, £1.50 per bag
Kale, 80p per bag
Apples, £2 per kilo (grown by a fellow local producer)
Lemon verbena (best herbal tea ever!), 50p per bag
Parsley, 50p per bag
Parsnips, £1.20 per bunch (grown by a fellow local producer)
Cabbages, 80p each (grown by a fellow local producer)
Plus free "Positive News" newspapers.
Our gate stall is open from dawn till dusk, seven days a week.

Apple day at the Apple Tree Cafe.

Apple Day, 11am-3pm
Sunday October 21st

Celebrating National Apple DayCome and join us whatever the weather!

Apple tasting – lots of varieties and an expert on hand to answer your questions,
Fabulous apple-themed food,
Bosavern Farm Stall, Fresh breads and chutneys,
and Games for the whole family
Raffle raising funds for Bosavern Community Farm

Cafe open as usual, 10am til 4pm


Many thanks to Lisa, from Germany, who spent two and a half weeks as a wwoofer on the community farm - we hope you're enjoying the wet weather in Newquay and not missing the piglets too much!
Lisa in action clearing brambles beneath our  willow coppice.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Green tomato chutney.

It's been a funny year for farming. Our tomatoes didn't fully get going until September, but we've had two months of good crop, although next week looks like being the last. Tomato blight was seen in the polytunnel at the beginning of July, and has been a constant battle since. Rots also began soon after that, due to the incredibly wet summer. Trusses have rotted, so we have removed the tomatoes and disposed of the branches, leaving us with plenty of green tomatoes to make chutney out of. Having already brewed enough for the house over winter, some of our volunteers cooked up a big batch to sell on our gate stall. Delicious green tomato chutney is now available at the gate, priced £2 for a medium size jar, and £2.50 for a large.
Jenny and Anne preparing chutney in the farmhouse kitchen.

St Just Food and Craft market.

The new food and craft market is held in the Old Town Hall (near the Methodist Church) of St Just on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, from 09:30 till 12:30.

Seed Saving.

This year we have started to save some of our seeds to grow crops from in the future. So far we have saved "Green in Snow" mustard, purple sprouting broccoli, "Red Russian" kale, a mystery kale that sprang up on its own (probably left over from the previous tenants), "Ambassador" peas, and "Meteor" peas. 
Peas drying in the polytunnel to provide next year's seeds.
Not only does seed-saving reduce the money we spend on seed, it allows us to reclaim this process from seed companies/corporations. Plus the crop will develop over time, year after year, adapting to the conditions of our farm.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This weekend's workshops.

This coming weekend we are hosting three workshops in the Hive. First of all, on Saturday 13th from 4 till 5pm, Alice will be leading a Spanish workshop (donations to the farm welcome). Secondly, following the Spanish, Willow will be leading a Knit A Chicken workshop from 5 till 6:30pm, at a cost of £6 per person, including all materials and a chicken sponsorship certificate. Thirdly, on Sunday 14th, Sonja will be leading the first of a series of Yoga workshops (donations to the farm welcome). These workshops are open to all, so please come along.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Planting over-wintering alliums.

The first outside ground we ever prepared was for half a bed of onions and garlic in October 2010. In 2011 we did the same again, but 4 whole beds that time, at the end of September and start of October, and there's photos of us in shorts and sunshine pushing the cloves into the soil. This year we have planted 5 beds, and included half a bed of over-wintering "Eschalote" shallots too as an experiment (but probably too expensive to repeat?). Except that this year we planted out on a foul afternoon, and all got wet to the skin doing so, so there are no photos..... The onions are again "Radar" and garlic "Vallelado". Let's hope the garlic performs better than it did this year.....

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Dorothea, from California, left us on Tuesday after two weeks as a wwoof volunteer - many thanks for all your help, and enjoy the rest of your time in Edinburgh.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Ellie during the hay harvest.
Ellie left us yesterday morning after one month as a wwoofer on the community farm, off to volunteer on two other farms in Cornwall. We hope she will be returning to Bosavern for the first week or ten days of November (to run another "Art on the Farm" workshop), but until then, many thanks for your hard work and enjoy your other wwoof farms.

Art on the Farm workshop.

On Saturday 29th September, we held an "Art on the Farm" workshop in the Hive, from 5 till 6:30pm, led by one of our wwoofers Ellie.
Ellie showing how to monoprint using perspex sheets.

A monoprint of the farm hung up to dry.

The workshop in full swing.
We hope that Ellie will be back to lead a follow-up workshop on the first Saturday in November - please watch this space for details.

Storing onions for winter.

After stacking our onion harvest in wooden trays in the open barn for three weeks to dry them, on a lovely hot (rare) sunny Saturday we brought them all out, sorted through them, discarded the rotten ones, and put them all in sacks to store in the cow shed over winter.
100 trays of onions laid out in the farmyard.

Ellie, Simon, Jonathan and Jim sorting and sacking.

A winter's supply of onions.