Author Archives: lucy

Asparagus season at Bothen Hill

The asparagus season is well underway here at Bothen hill, where we grow 3.5 acres of the tasty spears. The season started in the last week of April when we began to harvest Gijnlim, our early variety; this has been followed be Ariane, Millennium and also Jersey Knight.

2015-05-09 13.08.42Being close to the sea gives the asparagus a regular coating of salt, which enhances the flavour. We harvest the asparagus daily – this year’s yields are as a result of last year’s hot and sunny summer.  To date, we have harvested well over half a ton and we hope that the crop will continue to yield well into June.  Once picked, the spears are hand graded, bunched, labelled and packed prior to being hydo-chilled ready for delivery.

Continue reading

Merry Christmas 2014 from Bothen Hill!

We are now in the throes of our busiest time of the year, with our Christmas turkeys and vegetable boxes all ordered and getting ready to be delivered across Dorset over the next few days. We will be closed between Christmas and the New Year but back to usual deliveries and opening times on January 2nd.


Our Christmas turkeys are reared as day old poults, arriving in the Summer, and allowed to grow and mature slowly over the months running up to December. Their feed is supplemented by our organic vegetable waste – we’ve found that cabbage is their favourite! – and they are allowed to roam free in the field during the day. We have a very loyal customer base who have been returning to us for years and are very proud of our reputation for producing what many customers describe as the most delicious turkey they have ever had.

On the vegetable front, winter veg is in full swing, with plenty of greens, including sprouts, sprout tops, curly kale, Red Russian kale, cavalo nero and purple sprouting to complement our usual range of root vegetables. One of the biggest challenges that we are faced with during the winter months is ensuring a continual supply of staple items such as carrots is possible; this involves planting the crop at intervals throughout the Autumn, including some sowings in our polytunnels for the latter months.

2014 has been a busy year for us, with the excitement of planting our own broadleaf native woodland and yet more asparagus, we are looking forward to watching our hard work grow! We’d like to wish all of our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – we look forward to seeing you in 2015.

Field to fork: potato harvesting

Last weekend saw what signals to us the beginning of Autumn: potato harvesting. Here’s a brief explanation of how we get those potatoes from our field to your fork.


At Bothen Hill we plant our potatoes on the back of our tractor. We start planting the first early potatoes in January, with harvest starting in early May. The remainder of our potatoes are main crop varieties, with types such as Valour and Rudolph being planted in early April. These are allowed to grow all summer until they are harvested during late September or early October.

Towards the end of the summer, the tops are removed a month before harvest to allow the skins to ‘set’ which means the potatoes will store well. This is important as we aim to keep this harvest going all the way until we have new potatoes again in the Spring.


When it comes to harvesting, our potatoes are lifted using a tractor mounted harvester, which lifts the entire row, dirt and potatoes. The whole family are then involved to separate the potatoes from dirt which move along the machine on an elevator and in to half ton boxes for storage.

All of our potato varieties are suitable for all uses, but we do grow waxier salad potatoes which are particularly good sautéed once the summer season has passed.


End of summer update from Bothen Hill

We had a busy day at Dorset Farmer’s Market in Bridport this weekend, with a whole host of delicious veg available. The sweetcorn, which has continued to come on with the recent sunshine, was a best seller – over 100 cobs sold to happy customers!

We are fortunate that all of our produce is looking good – despite the recent lack of rain – we therefore have a whole range of vegetables which we are either harvestinSONY DSCg now or looking to integrate into our boxes within the next couple of weeks…

Our runner beans, which we planted in one of the polytunnels, are flowering well and hopefully will provide us with a late crop of beans next month. Additionally, we are also looking towards the Autumn, having harvested a few of our earlier squash varieties. Uchiki Kuri, a round orange variety, is cropping now – having sampled it for ourselves we can confirm that it is rather tasty! The celeriac has grown well this year, and looks really good, as do the other root veg we have in our fields – swede, carrots and parsnips are all coming along well.

This year we have for the first time expanded our range to include white beetroot; they are deliciously sweet, and not as messy as their red cousins! We have found that they work well roasted in the oven and have had good feedback from our customers who have sampled them as well.

What’s new this week: sweetcorn

Our 'Early Bird' variety of sweetcorn is ripe and ready to eat now

The recent rain has freshened all of our glorious summer veg – we love this time of year as there is just so much to choose from!  Some of our favourite vegetables that we have growing on the farm at the moment are our shallots, which are bigger and better than ever before, and tomatoes.  We have a range of varieties; Sun Gold, a sweet orange cherry type, which have proved particularly popular in salads, whereas the beef steak tomato varieties are excellent for cooking.  Last night we had ratatouille with our own shallots, tomatoes, courgettes and garlic.  Delicious!

In addition to the veg we’ve had coming through all summer, yesterday we also picked the first sweetcorn of the year.  At the moment we’re picking our Early Bird variety, which will be followed by the others which we hope will crop for another month.  Our favourite way to enjoy this sweet vegetable is boiled and served with a bit of butter – traditional corn on the cob.  We also quite like it barbecued if the weather’s good.  Our absolute all-time favourite recipe is here – Jamie Oliver gives it a great Mexican twist.  Enjoy!