Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Bosavern Community Farm would like to wish all its volunteers, supporters and customers a very enjoyable New Years Eve, and a happy and prosperous 2014.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shop opening times.

The new farm shop has now been open for almost one month, and is situated inside the packing shed opening off the farmyard. We aim to open the shop from 10 am till 4 pm every day except Sunday, although this depends on the availability of volunteers. If on some days and at some times the shop is not open, the gate stall will be (between 7:30 am and 6 pm), with its more limited range of produce - including our eggs of course! Please park in the yard when visiting the shop.We are now stocking fresh bread from Nick, a range of fresh veg from this farm and other local producers, our free-range eggs, St Just calenders, honey, candles, chutneys, frozen turkeys, juices, soaps, and other local produce.

Advent Fair, farmers market, and shop opening.

On Saturday 30th November, it being the fifth Saturday of the month, we held a farmers' market here on the farm in the open barn. We tied this in with the start of Advent, so had a free community event where people could make advent calenders, have tours of the farm, and enjoy coffee and cake on a fine autumn day. Plus the first day of opening of our recently completed farm shop....
Some of the stalls in the open barn - pies, cakes, honey, candles etc.

The cafe in the farmyard.

Some of the first customers to the new farm shop.

Fresh produce for sale in the farm shop, all from the community farm except the celeriac.

Hugh and Ena getting the hang of the new till and scales.

More farm produce for sale in the shop.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gustavo and Lucas.

Many thanks also to Gustavo and Lucas, two chefs from Brazil, who wwoofed with us for 3 weeks in December - we hope you had a good Christmas at your next farm.
Gustavo at the farm gate stall.

Lucas helping on turkey slaughter day.

Chris again.

Chris, who wwoofed with us in September, came back for 7 weeks through November and December, leaving just before Christmas. Thanks Chris, you are a star, we really appreciated your efforts on the farm and in the house, and hope you had a good Christmas.
Chris building a door for the polytunnel.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Annual General Meeting.

The AGM of Bosavern Community Enterprises (or BCEnts) the body that oversees the running of the community farm, is taking place tomorrow night (Thrusday 19th) at 7pm in the Old Town Hall, near the big Methodist church in St Just. Everybody is welcome to attend, although only members can vote. We hope to see as many people there as possible, so come along and make your voices heard.

Christmas turkeys.

We still have some turkeys left for Christmas, so if anybody still has not ordered a turkey and would like to do so can they please phone us on 01736 788454 as soon as possible! They will be ready to collect, fully prepared, from the farm any time on Monday 23rd December.

Christmas veg boxes.

We'd like to wish all our veg-box customers a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year. We will be producing veg boxes as per normal on Friday 27th December, so if any of you are away for Christmas and would not like a veg box that week can you please let us know as soon as you can. Many thanks, and have a great festive period!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Re-skinning the Mothership.

After two weeks spending every spare moment removing the damaged old cover and rotting timber from our old polytunnel, and rebuilding the wooden sections, last Thursday 28th November a team of volunteers helped us get the new skin on. By the end of the day the skin was re-trenched and battened into place, ready to weather the weekend's strongish winds. The doors and windows went on on Monday, and the finishing touches, including all the planting and sowing, were completed today.
Applying anti-hot-spot tape and rolling out the plastic cover.
Tightening the skin over the polytunnel frame.
Shovelling earth into the trenches to hold the plastic in place.
The reskinning volunteer team - Willow, Anne, Paul, Emma, Camille, Peter, Chris and Rebecca.
Many many thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who gave their time to help with the re-skinning.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



Heaps of thanks also to Rebecca, from the USA, who left yesterday morning for Dartmoor after helping on the farm for one month.
Rebecca helping to trench the polytunnel.


Many thanks to Camille, a French agronomy student who has just left after wwoofing for two weeks on the farm.
Camille bringing cauliflowers in from the field.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Latest Mortgage News.

We are in a desperate position today at Bosavern Community Farm as the Co-op Bank has turned down a mortgage for us to buy the farm. The Lottery has said we need to buy the farm by 30th November or it will retract its offer of £215k.
Bosavern is doing so well with a real bumper year of food, we've had all the local schools up learning about where our food comes from, workshops galore and community events. Please don't let us lose this great community asset.
WE NEED A LOAN OF £100 000. That could be 1000x£100 or 100x £1000, to buy the farm by tomorrow. 
Please forward this to anyone who may be able to help.
Kind regards
Lynne Dyer

Monday, November 25, 2013

Preparing to re-skin the old polytunnel.

Over the past ten days we have been renovating our oldest polytunnel. This tunnel, the Mothership, was already on the farm when the community came here, and we believe it to be 10 to 12 years old. Within a year of us being here the front timbers were starting to come apart, being unable to cope with the weight of tomatoes pulling on them. We have continually patched and repaired the tunnel, but strong winds earlier this month started to tear it apart drastically.
Storm damage, early November.
 Both the plastic and timber needed replacing, so we spent two days digging these out and removing them.
Rebecca and Chris digging the old plastic out (after lengthy heavy rain!).
Front timbers removed, but plastic still on.
 A strong overnight wind did most of the work of removing the plastic for us. Once off we reconstructed the timber ends of the polytunnel both front and back, finishing this work today. We have also constructed new windows and doors or repaired the old ones, and covered these ready to be re-hung, and begun adding the additional plastic panels at front and back.
Back end timbers replaced and ready for plastic.
 The tunnel will be ready to re-cover on Thursday 28th November. The weather forecast is good, with low winds and no rain, and we are aiming for a 9 am start (subject to alteration...). Our usual volunteer session will start at 10 am, but if our regular volunteers can come one hour earlier that would be much appreciated. We are hoping for 10 people, until the cover is secured, and already have 5, so please come along and join in.

Farmers' Market, Advent Fair, and Shop Opening.

This Saturday 30th November there will be a farmers market and craft fair here on the farm from 10 am till 3 pm, with activities based on the beginning of Advent. During the event we will also be opening our brand new farm shop for the first time, selling mainly produce from the farm, but also selected goods from the surrounding area. Please do come along and support your community farm!

Friday, November 15, 2013

From tomatoes to winter salads.

Over the past two weeks we have converted our biggest polytunnel from tomatoes (with a few aubergines, tomatillos, physallis, squashes and courgettes thrown in) to winter salads.
Alice, Charlotte, Phil, Amelia and Friederike digging beds
First we harvested the remaining tomatoes, both red and green (for chutney), pulled out all the plants, chopped them up and added them to our compost bins. Then we rolled up the woven black plastic mulch, marked out beds of 1.2m width, and dug them over to a spades' depth removing any living couch roots we found (not many, surprisingly). With a good team of volunteers this took two days.
The beds all dug over, and trays of salads ready to plant.
We had sown thousands of salad seeds into modules one month beforehand, so they were ready to plant when the time came (although they were quite small, we're not sure the compost was good enough quality). So we relaid the irrigation pipes, added four more, and planted salad seedlings 10cm apart in two lines, one either side of each irrigation pipe, making 24 lines of salad in total.
Martin and Rebecca planting the first salad seedlings.
 The plants have responded well to getting their feet into the soil, and we hope to start harvesting them in early December. We planted a mix of brassica salads (mizuna, mibuna, rocket, senposai, tat soi, serifon, sessantina, shungiku etc.) plus winter spinach, claytonia, watercress, and red salad bowl lettuce. As always, many thanks to all our volunteers for their invaluable help.

Farm shop volunteers required.

We love our produce and need enthusiastic people to help us sell it and join the team. We are looking for help either mornings or afternoons. If you are interested please contact Yvonne on 01736 788454 or yvonnebristow@blue-earth.co.uk.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Nyssa, our 100th WWOOFer, has just left us after six weeks volunteering on the farm. Nyssa was a pleasure to work with and a real asset to the farm during her stay. We wish her all the best in her onward travels, and a happy Thanksgiving back home.
Nyssa labelling eggs.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

U3A talk.

On Wednesday afternoon last week I gave a talk to St Just U3A about developments at the farm over the past three years. It's always good to give talks like this because it makes you realise how far you've come! Below is one example, showing roughly the same view on our vegetable field in September 2010 and again in September 2013.
2010 - one polytunnel and a field of weeds.

2013 - three polytunnels and a field full of crops.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christmas turkeys.

This year we have fifteen each of 3 different breeds of turkey for Christmas. Roly Poly is a white bird, costing £10 per kilo, with expected weights of 6 to 12 kg per bird. Kelly Bronze is an all-rounder, costing £11 per kilo, expected weights of 5 to 10 kg per bird. And Norfolk Black is the gamey turkey we have raised for the past two years, costing £12 per kilo, expected weights of 5 to 10 kg per bird.
Our free-range turkeys outside in their large run.
Please order your turkey now to avoid disappointment - we are asking for the usual £20 deposit - by phoning 01736 788454, or email lynne@bcents.org. They will be ready for collection on 23rd December, having been freshly prepared the day before.

Veg boxes.

Our veg box scheme has been running since June 2011 without a break, and our boxes have never looked better. Here you can see James, the farm's Produce Distributor, proudly displaying the four sizes of veg box on offer. These are, from the left, small at £7 each, standard at £10, large at £14, and mega at £20. Boxes are available either weekly or fortnightly, and can be collected from the farm or local hubs, or delivered to your door depending on location. Please contact us for more details, by emailing vegbox@bcents.org or phoning 788454.
Halloween veg boxes each included a whole pumpkin for carving (Friday 25th October).
Last week's veg box contents were (Friday 1st November):-

Small box - one bunch of carrots, one cauliflower, 200g of chard, one cucumber, half a kilo of onions, one pepper, and half a kilo of Charlotte potatoes.

Standard box - one kilo of beetroot, one bunch of carrots, one cauliflower, 200g of chard, one chilli, one leek, half a kilo of onions, half a kilo of parsnips, half a kilo of Charlotte potatoes, one black winter radish, and a salad bag.

Large box - one kilo of beetroot, one cabbage, one bunch of carrots, one cauliflower, one head of celery, 200g of chard, one cucumber, 200g of kale, 2 leeks, one kilo of onions, one kilo of potatoes, one black winter radish, and one salad bag.

Mega box - one kilo of beetroot, one cabbage, one bunch of carrots, one cauliflower, 2 heads of celery, 200g of chard, one chilli, one cucumber, 200g of kale, 3 leeks, one kilo of onions, one kilo of parsnips, 2 peppers, one kilo of potatoes, one black winter radish, one salad bag, and two butternut squashes.

All of this produce came from the community farm, harvested fresh on the day (except for onions and potatoes which are in storage), and was grown to Wholesome Food Association principles.

Friederike and Charlotte.

Friederike and Charlotte are currently hitch-hiking to Bristol after spending one month wwoofing on the community farm. We'd like to thank them for their valuable contributions during their stay here, and wish them the best for their forthcoming wwoofing in Italy.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Drying chillies.

Last Sunday we harvested almost 1000 "ring o fire" chillies, and threaded them to dry hanging around the Rayburn stove in the farmhouse kitchen. Using a needle and thread, we sewed the chillies together by pushing the needle through the thick part of the stalk near its base, then hung them in the warm and dry for 2 or 3 weeks. They should then store for several months, depending on the damp.
Alice with a string of chillies.

Chillies strung and hung in the kitchen.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Planting apple trees.

We were recently donated three apple trees by Joan Fisher, and would like to thank Joan for her very generous gift to the farm. Last Thursday we planted them in the grassy area of the farmyard, against the south-facing wall of the old pig sheds. There is a Bramley, a Katy (my favourite apple when I was a kid), and an Anniversary. Digging the holes was hard work, requiring a pneumatic drill to break through lumps of granite in places, but we filled the holes with good topsoil from another recent excavation, and hope the trees will do well in their new home.
Tree planting team - Jenny, Nyssa, Willow, Anne and Martin.

30,000 hits

Sometime over the past few days this blog passed its 30,000th hit - thanks to everyone for looking, I hope it's informative and keeps you up to date on events at the farm.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Drying onions.

This year we harvested 900 kg of onions from a half acre patch in our maincrop field. Harvest coincided with the onset of a very damp autumn, and we weren't able to dry the onions sufficiently for long storage, so had to come up with an alternative solution to relying on warm dry weather.
James helping to build the onion-drying contraption.
So in the cow-shed we built an onion-drying contraption. We raised a wooden slatted tonne-box on blocks, filled it full of onions, blocked the gaps around the sides with old doors and boards of wood screwed into place, borrowed an industrial fan (thanks Tim!), bought a gas-fired space-heater, and heated the onions from below.
Martin and Nyssa filling the contraption with onions.
 We were aiming at a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius for a 3-day period, but for health and safety concerns we turned the device off late at night, and re-fired it first thing in the morning, so the temperature did fluctuate (though we left the fan on 24/7). We also found that the onions on the very bottom were far too hot and turned soft, while those on the very top were not up to temperature. But after four days of heating in this way the onions were all dry (fingers crossed) and ready for storage.

A fraction of our onions dried and hung from the rafters for winter storage.
We stacked half the onions in open plastic crates, and suspended the other half from the shed rafters in net-bags. Like this we hope they will store well into the new year. The contraption worked very well, and the onions look good, and have already been selling (£1.50 per kilo).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New volunteer session times.

Times for our volunteer sessions on the farm have changed slightly to fit in better with the farming day. Volunteer sessions will now be:-
Tuesdays 10 am till 3 pm - please bring a packed lunch.
Thursdays 10 am till 3 pm - please bring a packed lunch.
Saturdays 2 till 5 pm.
We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What's now available in the farm shop?

Free-range eggs, £1.50 for half a dozen.
Small (pullets) free-range eggs, 70p for half a dozen.
Charlotte potatoes, £1 per kilo.
Lemon verbena, the best herbal tea ever, 50p for 25g.
Parsnips, £1.20 for a half kilo bunch.
Celery, £1 per head (with the leaves on because they're the tastiest bit).
Onions, 75p per half kilo.
Cucumbers, 60p each.
Runner beans, £1 for 200g (almost the last of them!).
Pointed "sweet-heart" cabbages, 50p each.
Kale, 80p for 200g.
Garlic, 50p per pot (almost over!).
Chillies, 10p each, fat red "Rocoto" or thin red "Ring o Fire".
Peppers, 50p each.
Physallis, a.k.a. Cape gooseberries, £1 per punnet.
Tomatoes, £1.50 for a half kilo.
Black radishes, 20p each (eat raw or cooked in a stew or stir-fry).
Salad bags, £1.50 for 120g mixed leaves and flowers.
Chard, 70p a bunch.
Beetroot, £1.50 for a kilo bunch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tomato harvest.

The end of September and still continuing into October has seen our biggest polytunnel "New Baby" producing masses of tomatoes. After a slow start to the season, with the tunnel not completed until May, then the strong easterly winds of July ripping the plastic off it, our tomato plants have recently started performing to their full potential. We pick twice a week, last week totalling 170 kg of tomatoes, and today harvesting another 92 kg. These are sold at £3 a kilo through our veg box scheme, local farmer's markets, gate stall, and wholesale to many local pubs and cafes. How long will they continue? Maybe another 2 to 3 weeks....
Charlotte picking tomatoes this morning.

Monday, October 7, 2013


We'd like to send a big thank you to Caroline from the USA, who came to wwoof for two weeks and stayed for three, helping to finish the onion harvest and read stories to visiting school groups, amongst many other things.
Caroline picking salad in the Mothership.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Harvest 2013.

After a kinder growing season, more people working on the farm, some rabbit fencing, an extra polytunnel, and general expansion and improvement of the farm's operations, 2013 has been the best harvest to date here at Bosavern Community Farm. Most notable are the best harvests ever had of potatoes (despite the onset of blight in mid-July), onions, beetroot, carrots (with no sign of carrot root-fly - yet), parsnips (we've only just started harvesting them, but the bed is big and looks amazing), runner beans, celery, chard, rocket, physallis, cabbages, kale, squash, tomatoes, aubergines, tomatillos, basil, radishes, spinach, and celeriac (also yet to be harvested). We'd like to thank all the volunteers, both local and through WWOOF, who have helped us to make this possible.
Harvesting potatoes - with David, Ed (from Chagford CSA), Martina, Franziska, Jim and Alice.

Parsnip bed.

Our harvest of onions drying in the barn before storing.

New polytunnel full of 300 tomato plants.


Many thanks to Helen, from Australia, who left this morning after 9 days helping on the farm (our 99th WWOOF volunteer!).
Helen harvesting salad in the "mothership" polytunnel.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

WWOOF statistics.

Our 100th WWOOF volunteer arrived yesterday! Nyssa, from the USA, has come to help on the farm for the next 6 weeks. Which seemed like a good point at which to crunch some numbers, particularly helpful (maybe?) to people or organisations wondering whether to become WWOOF hosts or not, indicating whom they can expect to come......

So, out of the 100 WWOOFers we have hosted to date:-
Nationalities in descending order - British 24, French 18, German 17, American 10, Canadian 5, Australian 5, Italian 4, New Zealanders 3, Chinese 2, Swiss 2, Austrian 1, Dutch 1, Japanese 1, Belgian 1, and Portuguese 1.
Females outnumber males by 67 to 33.
In the same time period (just under 3 years) there have been 3 WWOOFers who have failed to turn up.
Of those 100 WWOOFers, 98 have been good (some of them have been excellent), and there have been only 2 that we wish we'd never taken on.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This year's tomatoes.

Gardener's Delight - delicious cherry tomatoes.

Moneymaker - productive big slicing tomatoes.

Quadro - for cooking or slicing.

San Marzano - plum tomatoes primarily for cooking.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Thanks also to Chris, who called in to help for 5 days on his cycling and wwoofing tour of the south-west (see photo below).

Martina and Franziska

Our latest German wwoofers departed this weekend, one back to Dresden and one to another part of Penwith - many thanks to them both for their work over the past three weeks on the farm. I'm sure the chickens will miss you too!?
Franziska (left) and Martina (right) harvesting onions with Chris (centre back).