glasshouse going up

Dear Friends

I have been meaning to write a newsletter for quite a while now, but with a phd equivalent in displacement activity it just hasn't happened. This morning so many people asked about the building works in the veg garden that I knew I had to write TODAY.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 1

It is good to have exciting reasons to write about in the present climate as we are buffeted from Covid developments to Brexit developments (or lack of) and back again each day.
The REASONS. If you have been shopping here in the last week or two you might have noticed some unusual activity in the market garden beyond the soft fruit, veg and apple trees. A 2nd hand Dutch Venlo glasshouse covering a quarter of an acre is being erected - a long held dream of mine, since visiting the old tomato glasshouses Darina and Tim have at Ballymaloe in Cork many years ago. I remember wandering through them in the spring (our hungry gap) with my mouth open full of amazement (and envy!) at how much was ready to harvest whilst we had nothing of note in our veg garden on the farm for another 3 months. Of course it is a very temperate climate there, but still, under glass the seasons can be seriously extended each way, giving early and late crops of veg unachievable outside or even under plastic.
SO, watch the space, literally, and those of you who want to eat our farm food particularly and look for the orange labels (our own) will see a lot more through the year and the green labels (bought in) will hopefully start to slink away. Except for all the fruit not grown in our climate even under glass, plus avos and ginger and turmeric and sweet potatoes which we could grow but would take up the whole glasshouse for the demand.

A financially scary investment, but necessary for our uncertain future, with the extremes of weather challenging our outside growing systems and, of course, Brexit round the corner with the dread of tariffs on imported fruit and veg which we in the UK are so dependant on.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 2

The shop is fully open and although we have not yet seen quite all our pre-Covid customers again it is lovely to see more and more of you back each day. Lots of new faces too. It is a very relaxed atmosphere with the tills in the cafe area, exit through the green room, and only a few people in at a time. The cafe remains shut for now, more news hopefully in a few weeks, depending on how things go in the country as a whole.
To try to make up for the enormous amount of plastic that has been generated during the lockdown generally PLEASE PLEASE RETURN TO USING OUR MILK MACHINE with glass bottles, the loose groceries system and the household refill station.
In the green room is a much larger than usual latest shipment of old and reclaimed Indian furniture to see, which we couldn't show during lockdown. Do come and visit if you are looking for any furniture, large or small.

THANK YOU to all our CLICK & COLLECT customers who literally kept the farm and Farmshop alive in those dark days. You also donated an amazing £845 (that we then matched) to The Harbour Project in Swindon and The Cirencester Food Bank. The Farmshop is still donating weekly to the local food bank - mainly our own carrots, potatoes and other fresh staples. A few weeks ago we sent a full pallet of excess veg in the garden to FAIRSHARE, a fantastic charity which you might have heard of. The gardeners and I were proud to be able to help.
The Farm Nursery children are also back on the farm and now have their very own secret woodland hide out. As the importance of being in nature is highlighted by all sorts of people (not just us 'greens' anymore!) the nursery is more popular than ever.
It is not such cheerful news that all the Farm Project visits have had to go on hold till 2021. We have so missed the children visiting and brightening up our days. We also can't be very cheerful about the farm harvest - not a good year with the weather extremes against us. Sadly we cant put the arable crops under glass.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 3

We are making a new flower cutting garden just to the right of the bump where the flowers have always grown, and are about to lay paths with preloved bricks and paving from our customers and friends.
Calling on all you garden lovers - does anyone have any surplus red bricks or excess paving of any sort lying around that you would love to get rid of? If you do have anything could you email hilary with rough dimensions or numbers and we can arrange delivery/collection. It can be 5 bricks or paving slabs or 100. Just nothing deeper than the depth of a red brick which is 7cm.

BUSINESS WITH PURPOSE

I read yesterday that 'business with purpose is the future and organic is the answer to nature, climate and health issues'. The Organic Farm Shop IS a business with purpose, looking to the future whilst doing our very best to look after human health, the soil, the insects, the wildlife, the flora and flauna, the birds and of course provide copious amounts of fresh untravelled vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and eggs (as well as a vast array of organic groceries) on a daily basis for us all.

Thank you for supporting the farm, we hope you feel proud to be part of our journey to help save this small corner of the planet for future generations.

love

Hilary

The juice of a carrot, the smile of a parrot
A little drop of claret, anything that rocks...
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 3.
With thanks to the late Ian Drury

 

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