Friday, December 2, 2022

Shop times

As of November 2022, we have decided not to open our farm shop on Sundays, or on bank holidays. So we will be open from Monday to Saturday 10am till 5pm.

Thank yous

We need to thank two local firms for helping us out recently:-

1. Leswidden Building Supplies - for lending us 6 sections of security fencing to enable us to create a user-friendly enclosure so our chickens can have some outdoor space during the latest ongoing avian flu lockdown.

2. Moomaid of Zennor - for giving us 200 of their once-used ice-cream tubs to box up portions of greens for our veg boxes. These tubs are re-usable (please remember to return them every week!) and keep our member's kale, chard, salad, squash, herbs etc... nice and fresh in the fridge all week.
Many thanks to LBS and Moomaid!


Today's veg boxes

This week we produced 83 veg boxes, which we delivered to people's doors around Penwith, or to one of our four community collection hubs for our members to pick up from - here at Bosavern Community Farm, St. John's Church in St. Ives, the Redwing Gallery in Penzance, and Newlyn Fermentary (our newest hub, with many thanks to Rachel and Ben).

Jihu and Yerin digging potatoes on Wednesday.
This week our small box (£7.70) contained mixed salad leaves, a stick of lemon grass, 1kg of Carolus potatoes, purple-top turnips, a lump of Crown Prince squash, oriental greens, and leeks (all grown here on the farm).
Pauline, Jihu and Yerin, picking salad on Friday.

Our standard box (£12) contained mixed salad leaves, a stick of lemon grass, 1kg of Carolus potatoes, purple-top turnips, a lump of Crown Prince squash, a cauliflower, perpetual spinach, kale, 3 jalapeno peppers, and leeks (all grown here on the farm except the cauliflowers, which are local and organic).

Please email us at vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk to join up.


Daniel

One of our WWOOF volunteers, Daniel, from Italy, left us this morning to head back to London then Italy. Many thanks Daniel for your help, your singing, and your cooking, and we wish you a merry Christmas back home with your family.

Digging potatoes on Wednesday morning.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Polly, Warren, and Rosie

Three core members of the farm team left us this autumn (as well as Heather and Bea - see earlier post) - Polly, Warren, and Rosie.

Polly snedding coppiced willow ready for planting as whips.

Polly came to the farm as a WWOOF volunteer in November 2020 and stayed for two years, acting as our host for residential volunteers in the farmhouse, as well as helping on the farm and with delivery rounds (and many other things including amazing art work...). Polly steered the farmhouse, and its occupants, through some very difficult times during various lockdowns, for which we are incredibly grateful.


Warren with the chicken pop-hole door that he made and decorated.

 

Warren came to us as a WWOOF volunteer in October 2021 and stayed for just over one year, helping on the farm and assisting Polly in the farmhouse, as well as creating more amazing art work (such as the farm map), and other things...

Unfortunately we don't have a photo of Rosie, which is an idication of how busy we were this summer. Rosie first came as a volunteer in 2021 for 2 days per week, but returned for 5 months in 2022 as our Assistant Grower, working 3 days per week. Rosie brought a lot of very good ideas to the farm some of which we have managed to implement.

We are so grateful to Polly, Warren, and Rosie, for all their hard work, art work, ideas, friendship, energy, and the huge help they all were during their times with us, and we wish them all the best in their futures.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Squash harvest 2022

Despite the horribly hot dry weather this year, and our plants going into the ground about 3 weeks too late, we still harvested more than 500kg of squash at the end of October, just in time for Halloween. Most of our squash are Crown Prince, which is probably the best squash there is, but we also have some Turk's Turban, and we did have some Jack-o-Lantern but they have already sold out. They are for sale in the farm shop and at farmer's markets priced at £2 per kilo (and also being eaten at the Dog And Rabbit and the Gurnard's Head).




Haruka

Haruka, from Japan, joined us as a WWOOF volunteer on the farm, and has left this morning to travel across the country. Many thanks to Haruka for her help whils with us, and all the best luck with her onward travels - thank you!


Tomorrow's veg boxes

Tomorrow's veg boxes are going to contain:-

Small box (£7.70) - jerusalem artichokes, Carolus potatoes, rainbow chard, kale, and salad leaves.

Standard box (£12) - jerusalem artichokes, Carolus potatoes, rainbow chard, Oriental greens, 3 ring-of-fire chillies, leafy celery, salad leaves, leeks, and mixed herbs.

Please email us on vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk or phone 788454 to join our not-for-profit veg box scheme.

Preparing leeks in the farmyard for veg boxes last week.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Recent wwoof volunteers

We have recently hosted several autumn wwoofers who have been and gone and whom we would now like to thank for their time and help whilst here.

Ben, providing us with hot coffee and biscuits in the farmyard.

Jane shovelling greenwaste compost for the market garden.

Elliot (on the left) going out into the maincrop field to pick perpetual spinach.

Kate, with her camera, who helped on the farm whilst filming a documentary for WWOOF, to celebrate their fifty year anniversary.
And also Joseph, of whom I failed to get a photo (sorry Jo!).


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Heather and Bea

This year we have been incredibly fortunate to have four long-term volunteers living in the farmhouse and helping on the farm (also in the house and shop). Two of these were Heather and Bea, who came in January and stayed until the end of October, having already been here for 3 months last year. Good long-term volunteers are a huge asset, as they get to know what they are doing so they can show other volunteers how to do farm jobs, they can take on extra responsibilites, integrate into the farm and local community, and even give our staff some time off when needed. We would like to express our huge gratitude to Heather and Bea for their year with us, and we wish them a wonderful winter, as they travel around India!


Chicken enclosure

Unfortunately all chickens in the UK (and turkeys, geese, ducks, quails etc..) have had to go back into lockdown from Monday 7th November, by law, due to the ongoing avian flu epidemic. Avian flu has never really gone away this year, and has been killing wild birds all around the coast of Cornwall, including within 2 miles of the farm. Millions of farm birds have also been culled by DEFRA to try to control the disease. This is the worst outbreak to date. Farm birds were anly allowed out of their sheds/barns (or fully enclosed runs) on May 2nd, so they were outside free-ranging for only 6 months of the year.

We have not bought any new chickens this year, which we would normally do in both spring and autumn to top up our flock, so we are about 150 or 175 head down in number to what we had planned to be. Add to this the seasonal dip in egg numbers (colder weather with reduced daylight) and our eggs are in short supply. Our veg box members are now limited to only half a dozen per veg box per week, no eggs are available at our two farmers market stalls, or to restaurants, and what we have left over are going into our farm shop where they are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

We are going to see how this winter pans out and then decide in the spring what to do about this situation - do we gradually wind-down our flock and stop keeping chickens, or do we build it back up to previous numbers and learn to live with bird flu and its restrictions?

The good news, though, is that we spent all yesterday creating the best-ever run for our chickens, fully enclosed with netting over the top, so they can come out of their sheds into a small area of outdoor grass.



Many thanks to all our volunteers who helped us with this yesterday - you might have got soaked to the skin but you did make 240 chickens very happy! - Warren, Rob, local Ben, wwoofer Ben, Jez, Mick, Yerin, Jihu, and Dan. Special thanks go to our almost-vintage tractor which huffed and puffed but eventually managed to get all three sheds down the field into position...


Friday, September 30, 2022

Compost signs

Heather, who has been volunteering with us since January, has also been busy creating signage on the farm (see both Polly and Warren's pieces in earlier entries), this time for our compost bays to help us be more organised and produce better compost. Many thanks Heather!


More recent WWOOFers

Ivo, from London, seen here picking basil in Valentine, stayed for three weeks.

Abby, from Byron Bay, seen here picking courgettes, stayed for 7 weeks.

Matt, from Stockport, on his second stay with us, seen here weeding the maincrop field, stayed for 3 weeks.

Many thanks to our three WWOOF volunteers, who helped us out in August and September, who have headed home or onto new things.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

WWOOF Host

https://www.bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk/were-recruiting/

We are looking for a live-in WWOOF volunteer host for our farmhouse - please follow the above link for details. This is a twelve-month volunteer post ideally starting in November. 



Thursday, September 15, 2022

New farm map

Warren, one of our long-term residential volunteers, has created this amazing new map of the farm, which we have mounted on the wall in the farmyard. Warren is a supremely talented artist and sign-writer, and this map is a wonderful addition to the farm, along with other signs and murals (some have already featured on this blog, and some will be here later) by both Warren and Polly. Many thanks to both!


Veg boxes

We deliver our community farm not-for-profit veg boxes all around the area. Our veg is picked fresh here on the farm on Thursdays by a team of dedicated volunteers, ready to be packed, then delivered or collected on Fridays.

Jenny, Ross and Ivo picking basil.

Matt and Abby picking spring greens.

Jos and Jackie processing red onions.

Tomorrow's veg boxes will contain:-

small box (£7.70) - Ambo potatoes, onions, basil, fennel, rainbow chard, kale, and purple sprouting broccoli.

standard box (£12) - all the above plus courgettes, a cucumber, salad leaves and tomatoes.

Please contact us on vegbox.bcf@bcents.org to enquire about joining our scheme.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Andy

Andy, our Assistant Grower on the farm for almost 6 years, decided to leave us this summer to pursue a career in gardening. Andy played a huge part in the farm for those 6 years, fulfilling many roles, and with his help the community farm has gone from strength to strength. We would like to wish Andy lots of luck in his new endeavours, and we hope that he still calls in for a coffee whenever he is passing! Many many thanks Andy.

Andy sideshooting tomatoes in June 2017.


Recent wwoof volunteers

We have been so busy this summer that our blog has not had many updates, and one thing we always like to post on here is a photo of each WWOOFer who comes and goes - but we haven't managed that since James left at the end of May! So here is a big thank you to all the WWOOF volunteers who have come and gone since then - Daniel, Maddie, Liam, Shivani, Ruby, Elena, Lily, and Toby. Our apologies to those of whom we do not have photos.

Elena (on the left) and Shivani (on the right) picking redcurrants with Heather (middle) back in June.

 

Toby (front middle) helping to stack hay in the barn earlier in August.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Holiday Hunger, Community veg box fund, Street Food Project, and Family Picnics in the Plen

Holiday Hunger. With funding from LiveWest and help from Pendeen School, this summer during the school holidays we have been providing veg boxes to LiveWest tennants in Pendeen and Boscaswell, in particular families with school-age children. We began by parking the farm van in the village and distributing veg boxes to anybody who came, but word has now got around, and yesterday we delivered 24 veg boxes directly to people's homes. All the veg and eggs in the boxes are produced here on the community farm. This scheme is only funded during the school holidays.

Community Veg Box Fund. An anonymous donor recently gave a sum of money to the farm for us to provide veg boxes to people in the local area who are struggling to make ends meet. So we set up our Community Veg Box Fund, identified five local recipients, and we have been delivering a weekly veg box to them over the summer. This fund will run out in September.

The Street Food Project. Throughout 2022 we have been donating fresh produce most weeks to the Street Food Project in Penzance, which provides hot meals every evening, free of charge. 

Family Picnics in the Plen. A small group of local people set up this project for the summer, to help families with young children in the local community, and we are one of a number of local producers and businesses who have donated food. Two picnics have already happened, and the final one is scheduled for the 31st of August.

There are many ways that you can help us to help our community:-

  • donate to our Community Veg Box Fund so that we can extend the time that we can provide veg boxes or identify more recipients;
  • join our veg box scheme and recieve a weekly/fortnightly/monthly veg box;
  • shop in our Farm Shop (open daily 10am till 5pm, or 10am till 2pm on Sundays) or at our farmer's market stalls (Sennen every Tuesday 09:30-12:30, St. Just every Saturday 09:30-12:30);
  • volunteer on the farm, or in the farm sop, or as a delivery driver.

Please contact us at info@bosavern communityfarm.org.uk.

Many thanks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Hay 2022

For the past two weeks the weather was only good for one thing - hay - so we took the opportunity to harvest ours. The temperature hit 32 degrees Celsius outside, and 54 degrees in one of our polytunnels, so this was very hot work. Because of these horrible weather conditions it was our fastest hay harvest to date, as it was dry before we even cut it, so didn't need turning or drying in the fields. There was not a drop of moisture anywhere. We cut the ragwort out of the fields on Tuesday, Clive cut the hay on Wednesday, then baled it on Thursday, we brought in 5 trailer-loads on Friday, and the final 2 on Saturday morning.

We couldn't access Hotel Field this year because of the allotment drainage channel being dug through the gateway, so we left that field standing, and cut Carn Field, Top Field, Far Field Middle, Far Field South, and Standing Stone Field. Top Field is a small field and had so little hay in it that we didn't even bale it, but the other 4 fields yielded 418 bales between them. 

Byron and Ross loading hay in the field.

The final 61 bales of hay loaded and ready to lead to the barn.

Team stacking in the open barn.

"Fiesta del campo" at the end of Saturday - drinking cold cider on the hay stack - with Abbie, Warren, Polly, Toby and James.

This year's hay is now for sale in the farmyard, at £3.50 per bale, and some of last years' too. Local delivery is available by arrangement.

Many thanks to everybody who helped with this year's hay harvest - Sim, Caedmon, Abby, Warren, Toby, James, Heather, Bea, Ross, and Byron - and also to Rosie for putting St. Just market together by herself because we were too busy, Polly for delivering the bulk of our veg boxes by herself because Hugh was on the tractor, and Holly for not only delivering veg boxes on the St. Just to St. Ives route, but also for buying all the cider!


Sunday, August 14, 2022

A hectic week on the farm

This past week has been one of the craziest weeks on the community farm ever! We are suffering severely from the ongoing heatwave and drought, which is really affecting the quantity and quality of crops that we have now, and will have through the coming winter, so we have been irrigating as much as possible just to keep things alive in the hope of rainfall soon. At the same time, we are having a land drain installed across the top of the Allotment Field, to try to prevent the allotments getting so wet in the winter. The digger doing this work burst our water mains on Tuesday morning, so we had several hours with no water on the farm at all, and we had to take drinking water from our neighbour's kitchen just to keep ourselves hydrated. Tuesday's main task was removing ragwort from the hay meadows - very hot work. 

We have also been renovating the farmhouse kitchen, replacing both the floor and the ceiling, as well as many of the fittings, which resulted in both the power and the internet going down for some of Tuesday afternoon.

And we cut the hay, and brought it all in to the barn, one of the biggest itchiest sweatiest most-stressful jobs of the year - but we got it done (more on this later).

And St. Just Market began again, the first one since March 2020 (in the W.I. Hall from 09:30 till 12:30 every Saturday from now on), meaning more harvesting and packing and logistics, added to Sennen Market every Tuesday.

And two of our shop volunteers couldn't make it this week, and our two volunteer delivery drivers were both away, so well done and many thanks to Polly and Holly for stepping in to deliver 70 veg boxes between them as far afield as St. Ives and Ludgvan, on routes they'd never driven before.

Add to this our production of 90 veg-boxes all of our own vegetables, keeping the farm shop stocked daily, looking after 350 free-range hens, and it has been quite a week.....

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Planting winter squash

On Tuesday 19th July we eventually got around to planting 600 winter squash (a.k.a. pumpkins) into our maincrop field, maybe 3 weeks too late for their own good, but the weather and time and person-power were against us, and better late than never....

We plan to get our squashes into the ground at the beginning of July, once all the leeks are in, but we took a break in planting leeks, and finished the leeks (all 6300 transplants of them) on the following Tuesday.

Many thanks to our team of volunteers on the day for seeing the task through to the end - Sim, Rob, Jez, Mick, Ruby, Lily, and Warren. Tuesday is one of the busiest days on the farm, with a team of local and (inter)national volunteers working together on tasks such as this one - if you would like to get involved please contact us via email, or call in.


Open Day photos

We held our summer open day (in cooperation with Open Farm Sunday) on July 10th, in a heatwave, having postponed the event from June 19th because of bad weather! So we had to shelter from the sun instead of from the rain, but still, a lot of people came along and helped us to celebrate the farm and our local community.

Just Ukes making their world premier performance in the farmyard.

Jill with her Hedgepigs and Hoglets Rescue charity stall.

One of our black bees getting acquainted with Bridget's beeswax candles.

Nick's spoon-carving workshop and stall.

Sophie's touch preserves and pickles stall.

The 'Oss from the Raffidy Dumitz band dancing in the farmyard.

Plus we had refreshments from the Community Cabin, a farm tour with our Head Grower, Lawrence the Potter demonstrating and selling pots in the yard, our farmshop, a book stall by donation, Warren's Welly Wanging in Four Acre Field, meet the chickens with one of our WWOOFers, and an open farm for the day. 

Many thanks to everybody who attended, for helping to put the community into the farm, and for all our volunteers who helped us set up and take down, organise and plan, and help on the day. And many thanks to all the musicians who performed!


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Veg box delivery round

Two years ago we were the only vehicle on the road when delivering our veg boxes around the area every week during the lockdown(s). This photo was taken yesterday en-route to Zennor and St. Ives. Yesterday's big delivery round (our other smaller round in the other van takes in Heamoor, Penzance and Newlyn, including our community collection hub in the wonderful Redwing Gallery) wound around Newbridge, St. Just, Boscean, Pendeen, Zennor, St. Ives community collection hub, Ludgvan, Gulval, Paul, Kemyel, Crean, Trendrennan, Porthcurno, Trevescan, Sennen, Escalls, Tregiffian, Hendra, and the Cot Valley. Surely one of the most scenic veg box rounds there is???

Many many thanks to our small team of volunteer drivers for doing the bulk of our community deliveries - Chris, Joe, Polly and Ed. If anybody would like to join the community farm team as a volunteer delivery driver, in our vans, who has a few hours to spare on some Fridays, please contact us on info@bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk. Many thanks!


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tomorrow's veg boxes

We will be out and about around Penwith tomorrow delivering our fresh not-for-profit veg boxes to collection hubs and member's homes. All the veg has come from the community farm and has been picked fresh yesterday and today. 


This week the seasonal veg in our boxes is:-

£7.70 box - basil, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, rainbow chard, green French beans, and new potatoes.

£12 box - tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, rainbow chard, new potatoes, garlic, kale, blackcurrants, and green French beans.

We can add eggs, bread, milk, yoghurt, and honey as extras.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Veg boxes

We are now filling our weekly veg boxes with lovely summer produce - tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, new potatoes, blackcurrants, redcurrants, salad leaves, rainbow chard, spring onions, globe artichokes, bulb fennel, green peppers, green French beans, lemon verbena etc..



Small boxes cost £7.70 and have on average 6 items of veg. Standard boxes cost £12 and have on average 10 items of veg. Please email us to join our scheme and support the farm.

vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Preparing the maincrop field

After the chicken sheds moved into the old maincrop field, we prepared the area they came out of ready for some of this year's maincrops to be sowed and planted into. First it was topped to cut the grass, then ploughed to bury the grass, then rolled to break up the lumps, then we pulled as many dock roots out by hand as we could, then it was shallow-rotovated. Some swede, beetroot, and chard have been sown in long lines, but the weather has been very dry so germination has been patchy. In the photo our potato patch can be seen at the top of the field.


2022 garlic harvest

In May we harvested our garlic crop which had grown over winter in Imogen polytunnel. We got almost 1000 good-sized bulbs out of just under one half of a tunnel, which is a good return. Garlic is available in the farm shop, veg boxes, and Sennen Farmer's Market, at £1 per bulb.

Shivani harvesting garlic and preparing them for drying.

True garlic bulbs drying in our Propagation Station.

Not to be confused with elephant garlic, a close relative of the leek, which we generally harvest fresh/wet for our veg boxes during the hungry gap (lovely in a risotto).