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.
Despite the weather we are aiming to deliver today, Friday 2nd March. Please be aware that we may be with you either earlier or later than usual, if we can’t get through or get to you we’ll do our best to get in touch. Snowy weather but we’re open for farm gate sales till noon.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, it’s arrived with the recent hot weather. We’re now picking each day and as long as we don’t have more very cold nights are confident that the crop will improve day on day. Available from the farm gate on Friday mornings, together with all our other vegetables, and also at Bridport Street Market on the junction of East and West Streets on Saturday morning.
The recent warm weather has started to wake the asparagus and we were excited last week to find the very first spears emerging, this always heralds the start of the new season, even though traditionally it shouldn’t be arriving until 24th April which is St George’s Day! However, it certainly should not be too long before we are starting to harvest to sell.
Things are certainly busy on the farm, we have started planting main crop potatoes and should complete this task either later this week or early next. We’ve planted out french beans in the tunnels to ensure that we have an early crop and the spinach, chard and beetroot which was sewn in the field earlier is already emerging, as are the carrots. The sugar snap peas are coming on well in the field, as are the broad beans, so we need lots of sunshine to aid their growth.
In the tunnels sewn seeds are germinating and beginning to grow well. The first tomatoes are nearly ready to be pricked out and the peppers are growing strongly. The onions and leeks which were sewn earlier in the year are looking strong and have been put outside to make room for cabbage, calabrese and the first of the sprouts. We’re certainly having a busy time at the moment and the sunshine is most welcome!
It doesn’s seem possible that already we are seven weeks into the year and already planting has begun both inside and out! In the tunnels we already have lettuce, onions and leeks germinated, with more modules of thelatter sewn and a plan for what’s happening next. The amazingly mild weather has enabled plantings of carrots and spinach, both of which have germinated and are clearly visible in their lines. The peas and broad beans, which were sewn several weeks ago are now up and covered in fleece to prevent the rooks from drilling them out again! It’s amazing how these birds know that the seeds are germinating below ground and literally help themselves as soon as they can! The potatoes which were planted last month are tucked under their fleece, no sign of any movement yet, which is just as well because with so much mild weather I’m sure that there will be a sting in the tail and we’ll have another cold snap before long.
We’ve been busy putting muck on the asparagus beds, a somewhat lengthy process with one on the tractor and one on the pick, but hopefully our efforts will pay off. Last summer was excellent for this year’s crop and so we are hopeful of a good yield, although we’ll have to wait a while before the first spears emerge.
Meantime, it’s dry enough to cultivate another area for more peas and beans, just hoping that we keep them to ourselves and the rooks don’t prosper!