Summertime update


Well, having just got through the wettest winter since we started trading we’re now faced with the driest summer!  The weather is just incredibly unpredictable and the constant talk in our house!  Of course, it has its challenges, with some plants being more difficult to manage than others!

However, as ever looking on the bright side, the tomatoes in the tunnel are looking absolutely amazing and taste delicious. The cherry varieties are already coming with abundance, Super Sweet 100, Sun Gold and Tomatoberry are all deliciously tasty and really remind us that summer’s well and truly arrived! This year we’ve been successful in growing aubergines, probably due to the heat in the tunnel and our experimental apricot and peach trees provided lots of wonderful fruit, sadly now all finished.

French Beans, which we always plant inside to have an early crop, grew well and have now been removed to make way for more which will finish the bean season when they are ready, in the meantime the outside French Beans are being harvested, as are the very popular but extremely labour intensive Fine Green Beans.

Back in the tunnels the courgettes are producing well, although the outside planting are also doing well so likely the inside ones will soon be removed to make way for more loose leaf salad; whilst we normally grow this outside, due to the weather it’s completely impossible this year so it’s taking up tunnel space!

Outside the squash are truly amazing, we’ve always said that growing them is challenging, they really need a much warmer climate than we have here, but this year they are obviously benefitting from the heat and we have some wonderful examples, just like the picture on the packet. The sweet corn has also benefitted from the sunshine, although it could probably do with a little drink now. However, the cobs are well formed and starting to change colour, it won’t be long before the harvest starts.

Regrettably due to the weather, many of our other crops are struggling. Lack of moisture has impeded germination specifically of carrots and we still have a significant number of brassicas to plant out. Those which are in the fields are just about holding their own, and the potatoes have grown with virtually no rain at all.

Challenging times ahead, but no doubt we’ll tackle them head on!

Vegetable Deliveries resuming!

Following our enforced lay off we’re delighted to say that we’ll be delivering again as from Friday 8th June. Some things are a little sparse at the moment, we could certainly do with some more rain, but are delighted that the first of the potatoes, Rocket, are finally available.

The courgettes are growing well in the tunnels, as is the mixed salad, which have really benefitted from the heat, and outside the broad beans, spinach, lettuce and chard are all doing well.

The sugar snap peas are flowering and producing reasonably well and we still have rhubarb available.  Asparagus is slowing down now, but can be ordered this week, although likely to be the final week.

Looking forward, all the brassicas which have been planted are growing well, although again could do with rain, it looks like the hispi cabbage will arrive first, shortly followed by the summer purple sprouting broccoli. French beans in the tunnels have flowered well, so we’re just waiting for the beans to form, hopefully available within the next couple of weeks.

Open as usual for Farm Gate sales on Friday mornings.

Vegetables suspended until 8th June

We very much regret that due to the very long and wet winter we’ve had to suspend vegetables from 12th May. Our plan is to be up and running again on 8th June when, hopefully, we’ll have our new season’s produce including new potatoes, broad beans, carrots, courgettes……. Apologies, but unfortunately we have no alternative.

Meantime we are harvesting asparagus which is available directly from us on a Friday morning, at Bridport Street Market on Saturday morning or from Modbury Farm at Burton, Fruits of the Earth in Bridport, Washingpool Farm Shop Bridport and Millers Farm Shop at Kilmington.

Has Spring finally arrived?

We think that this winter has been the longest ever! Certainly we’ve had sufficient cold to kill off all the unwanted bugs, we hope, and rain to wash everything away, don’t think it has ever been so wet before! Now finally some spring-like weather at last. Things are actually starting to look greener, the grass is growing, lambs are arriving and much of the planting which we have been undertaking in the poly tunnel is shooting into life.

We hope that we have successfully finished our ‘winter’ jobs, 2 of our 3 poly tunnels have been re-covered since Christmas, so hopefully this will aid the crops to be planted in them shortly.  Already we have french beans which are just starting to climb up their pole supports, and the indoor salad is looking good.  Our experimental trees, apricot, peach and nectarine, have all blossomed well, hopefully pollination has been good and fruit will form in abundance.

Outside in the fields, understandably, things are very behind as it’s just been too wet to get onto the land. The new potatoes were planted in a ‘dry window’ in February, before the snow, so hopefully they will soon appear. We’ve also got some good lines of broad beans and sugar snap peas so are looking forward to these.

Of course at this time of the year the great interest is in the asparagus, it’s been far too cold for an early crop here at Bothen Hill! However,at the end of last week, I am reliably informed that two very tiny shoots were seen, so watch this space, the web site will be updated as and when it arrives.

Frozen Ground hampers Harvesting!

Thursday 1st March – It’s supposed to be the end of Winter today but it was minus 6 this morning when we awoke! Regrettably the ground is so frosted that we are unable to dig parsnips and both the salad and spinach have taken a battering due to the cold weather so it will have to be good old roots this weekend in the main. We do have plenty of red kale, red cabbage and green cabbage available. Apologies, but we can’t be responsible for the weather.

Meantime we are busy, everything takes longer in the cold, but today’s task after the picking is to muck the asparagus, at least it will keep us warm!!

Reflections on last year

Here we are one month into 2018 and we’ve all had time to reflect on the amazing year at Bothen Hill in 2017. Top of the list had to be the major achievement of being joint runners up in the BOOM (Best of Organic Markets) Fresh Produce section with our asparagus. The competition was open to all organic producers, both Soil Association and otherwise, and we’re extremely proud of this wonderful achievement, as can be seen in the photo of Lucy and Anita which was taken on the night at Borough Market in London.

Back to the farm, and we certainly had a good asparagus crop, selling at Bridport Street Market on a Saturday for eight weeks, as well as supplying Millers Farm Shop at Kilmington, Modbury at Burton Bradstock and Fruits of the Earth in Bridport who have continued to take our produce on a weekly basis along with Modbury.

Early potatoes weren’t that early, but the crop was good, although the main crop was disappointing. However, generally we didn’t have too much to grumble about yields. The tomatoes certainly were very prolific, as were the beans and we’re really pleased that going into the winter we have a good selection of vegetables available.

We also said goodbye to Bridport Farmers’ Markets in 2017, we’ve traded there for in excess of 15 years and felt it was time to stand down. With Fruits of the Earth in town, and Modbury in Burton, taking our produce now, customers have the opportunity to buy all week rather than once a month. We’ve had lots of lovely customers, many of whom have become friends, through the market, and we’d like to thank everyone who supported us there. We will, of course, continue with the asparagus on the street market once the season starts and of course we’re always open on a Friday morning until noon at the farm gate.

We’re looking forward to 2018 and the challenges this will bring, seed planting has already started in ernest in the newly-covered planting poly tunnel, and we’ll do our best to keep our news posts up to date during the year.

Our Christmas Arrangements


Christmas is just around the corner, whilst it’s cold we are still out picking veg and there’s a full list of what we have available on the Ordering Page of our web site. Please think about ordering your vegetables, and anything else you may want from our Christmas Shop, early to help us gague the quantities we need to pick.

We’ll be open or at least around all day on Friday, Saturday and close at Noon on Sunday 24th, so please make sure that you’ve collected everything you need by then. This year we have our Christmas Grotto open which is at the end of our lane, past the house and in part of the barn fronting onto the lane, lots of room to park, easier for browsing and loading up.

We look forward to seeing you before Noon on Sunday 24th and wish you a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous and Healthy New Year.  We will be open again on Friday 5th January 2018.


Christmas is coming

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.

We will be open for collection during the run up to Christmas, although please be aware we will also be out picking vegetables on the Thursday and Friday,  We will be closed between Christmas and the New Year but back to usual deliveries and opening times on January 5th.

2017 has been a busy and somewhat challenging year for us; the highlight was being shortlisted for the Soil Association BOOM (Best of Organic Market) awards in the Fresh Produce section with our asparagus.  Lucy and Anita attended the Awards Ceremony at Borough Market in London in July and had the most amazing time.  We’d like to wish all of our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – we look forward to seeing you in 2018.

Autumn Update

Having been politely reminded that our last ‘Recent News’ article related to the arrival of asparagus back in April, I felt it high time to bring this page more up to date!

Summer has passed here at Bothen Hill, hectic as always but with the major excitement of being shortlisted for the Soil Association’s BOOM (Best of Organic Market) Award, with Anita and Lucy travelling to Borough Market early in July for the Award Ceremony. On an exceedingly hot day we were joined with many others and whilst we were runners up in our category, the whole experience was most memorable.

Back on the farm, apart from the usual challenges with the weather, and an enormous number of slugs and snails due to the wet weather, things have progressed well. Planting was managed in good time and then harvesting took place. We have been fortunate to have had a wonderful crop of sweet corn this year, which lasted from the end of July until well into September, and also cherry tomatoes.

The potato harvest proved somewhat challenging due to very wet weather in September, but all is now safely gathered in, and having cleared the field of the traditional pumpkins for 31st October we are now left with only the Crown Prince squash in that department.

Sprout Tops are yielding well and confirm that autumn is now well and truly here and we have some magnificent red cabbages available as well. The turkeys are enjoying the autumn sunshine and are roaming about outside, as are the pigs who will be providing sausages to complement the turkeys at the end of the year – don’t forget to order early to avoid disappointment!

Apart from the usual carrots, spinach, chard and salad, other vegetables being harvested this week include parsnips, leeks, swede, beetroot, red and green cabbage and cauliflowers, see our order page for the full list.