Sunday, May 31, 2020

Busy busy busy

We are very pleased to be very busy at this critical time. We are continuing to support our local community as best we can, both through our farm shop (which has remained open daily throughout the crisis, with safety measures in place) and veg box scheme.
Our weekly veg box numbers remain high - it took us eight years to reach 50 boxes per week, then only three weeks in March to get to 155 per week. This has now reduced slightly to about 140 - 35 of these weekly boxes are for Pendeen School, who distribute them to their Pupil Premium families, and we are pleased to have been asked to continue this service until late July.
Somehow we have managed to fill these high numbers of veg boxes during April and May, the two worst months of the year for fresh produce, the notorious "hungry gap". We have been very relieved to have been able to buy fresh produce from Cargease Organics, Phoenix Organics, Trenow Organic Market Garden, and Heather Lane Nurseries to help see us through. As we are now clawing our way slowly out of the hungry gap this stressful task will become (thankfully) easier.
We are, as always, hugely grateful to the team of local volunteers who come to the farm, without whose help we couldn't provide so much for so many. Although many precautions are taken, our volunteers (and staff) put themselves and their families at risk whenever they leave their homes to come and help, and we cannot thank them enough. Thanks are also due to Sue James for giving us the money to buy a large gazebo for the farmyard, allowing us all to have coffee-breaks and lunch outside in the yard, at two-metres apart, whatever the weather.

Red kites

On Thursday 28th May we had some rare visitors over the farm - four red kites - distracting us during our picking-and-packing social-distancing mid-morning coffee-break. This photo shows the distinctive tail, as this red kite was chased away by a gull (on Saturday I also saw a buzzard being harassed by jackdaws).

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Recent nature sightings on the farm

A kestrel hunting over the tussocks of Home Field - we see this kestrel most days.

An adder in the market garden, only the second time one has been seen on the farm in ten years.

Orange-tip butterfly in the Propagation Station polytunnel.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Busy on the farm

Although things have calmed down a little in recent weeks, the community farm is still very busy, in the packing shed and the farm shop. Weekly veg box numbers have dropped from around 155 to around 145, and at this the leanest time of year we are struggling - but so far managing - to find enough produce to put in them. We have bought produce from Cargease Organics in Cockwells, Heather Lane Nurseries in Canonstown, Trenow Market Garden in Perranuthnoe, and Phoenix Organics in Herefordshire to help us.
146 veg boxes under way in the packing shed last Friday.
Thankfully our faithful hungry gap crops (mange-tout, sugar snaps, various herbs, purple and green sprouting broccoli, sprouting tips, and salad leaves) have done well, though some have now finished, but those are being replaced by the earliest crops of the new season starting to come through (radishes, globe artichokes, kales, cucumbers, wet elephant garlic, and more herbs).
Wet elephant garlic.

Picking the last of the PSB.
To supply this much fresh produce to the local community would be almost impossible without the involvement of the local community, and we all owe a lot of thanks to the local volunteers who help pick, pack, sell, grow and deliver this essential food, as well as our small team of staff and residential volunteers - Sue, Linda, Ben, Ian, Lucy 1, Dom, Caroline, Helen, Andy, Shelley, Mary-Ann, Joe, Lucy 2, Nick, Neil, Maggie, Chris, Rex, Gary, Ilaria, Fran, Adrien, Cathy, John, Ailsa, Deb, Cameron, Ali and Holly.

Friday, May 15, 2020


Adrien today left the farm for a second time. He volunteered with us for 9 months up until last summer, then returned in March for a social visit, before being stuck with us for 2 months due to the coronavirus lockdown! We are very very grateful for his help during this difficult time, he has again been invaluable. Adrien is the first of our lockdown team to leave. He should now be on the road in France, and we wish him good health and good luck as he returns home to uncertainty.
Mending the chicken fence with Rex.

Picking salad in the Mothership.

Packing greens with Ilaria.

Stringing tomato vines with Ilaria.
Planting potatoes with Chris.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Chicken sheds move again

As part of our rotation system, every two years the chickens move field, which involves dragging their sheds (with the chickens inside) from one field to another through some very narrow gateways. Kieron Williams helped us for the second time running, and he's getting quite good at it! Our tractor is only strong enough to tow the sheds downhill, but Kieron's can pull them uphill too...

Chickens out and about in their new field, six days after digging the last of our potatoes out of this patch.

Rex and Adrien replacing a section of fence after the chicken sheds had passed through.
Half of the field where the chickens came from is already planted with potatoes (ridged up today for the second time), and the other half is about to be ploughed for our winter brassica patch (plus leeks, beetroot etc..).

Friday, May 1, 2020


Last night would have been our annual Beltane celebration and community get-together at the farm. But not this year, cancelled like most other things due to Covid-19. So here are some photos from Beltanes past to cheer us up.



The two missing years are because I wasn't there, but there was still Beltane on the farm. Hopefully in 2021 we'll all be back!

Peat-free potting compost £8.70

We have had a delivery of Petersfield Peat-Free Supreme potting compost, which is the best peat-free compost we've found, and what all the plants we raise to grow or sell are started off in. Sacks are available in the shop at £8.70 (as well as seeds and plants - herbs, bee-friendly flowers, tomatoes and courgettes).