At last, proper Autumn conditions… blowy, scawley showers and bright ( most of the time) skies. Today a rather chilly northerly wind has meant long johns are being worn again and painful cold hands will be on the cards this week whilst picking and trimming vegetables. The ground is wet and slippery and much care needs to be taken whilst carrying buckets of animal feed. Many leaves too are underfoot and filling gutters and drains. With the first of the skeletons of trees beginning to become visible the landscape is beginning to change . A big pan of vegetable and chicken broth is simmering on our wood burning stove, to provide a hot lunch to keep us going for the next few days. We are happy with the arrival of cooler weather, as our vegetables need the cold to put an end to warmth loving bugs and mould spores. All the storable crops (potatoes, pumpkins, onions) are inside sheds to protect from any frosts. We are very happy with our squash harvest this season, as the extra spell of warm weather has allowed them to reach their full potential, with nut hard rinds and dense sweet flesh, looking and tasting very good. We will be bringing a good selection of them to sell this weekend. Their colours announce the arrival of Autumn.
Another large box of bulbs arrived today ( crocus, iris and lily of the valley this time) this is a favourite task , it gives us a lot of pleasure to landscape the wooded areas and bring colour to them in the early spring months. Harry is occupied with building a new nursery area for the young birds that will arrive next spring. Much concrete is being mixed to give rat and wind proof foundations for the new shed. In two weeks time we are planning to start trimming the hedges around the farm, our good friend Columb is coming to give us a hand. We have given the hedges and trees at Fern Verrow a lot of attention over the past two or three years, and they are thickening up very nicely and new growth has been filling the gaps. Leaves still remain on the fruit trees and bushes, once they have fallen we will get started on pruning, another very satisfying task, using ones’ eye to create the form of the plant, nurturing it by tidying and making it look beautiful, which we believe must make them thrive and want to do their best for us.
Good Vegetables again this week.. we have red cabbage, savoy and tasty January kings, Our favourite at the moment is our hard white cabbage, we have been making coleslaw, adding to it grated purple haze carrots and apple and mixed with a dressing made from dijon mustard, lemon juice, parsley, creme fraiche and olive oil.
More “real spinach” as well as the usual chards and kales. Celeriac, parsnips and golden ball turnips in the root section. Big beautiful grey blue leeks. Many varieties of Apples and Pears, very much in season. A few chickens too for sale this week.
We will of course have a few “in season ” crops from Europe… Quince from France, the first of the green skinned lemons and satsumas from Italy. Marron chestnuts, hazel nuts and walnuts. We select and buy these from Global Organics in Stroud. We visit Global on our way to London each week and select a few things, mainly odds and ends that we are unable to grow for one reason or another. Andie at Global acknowledges that biodynamic is usually the best quality, he only supplies organic and biodynamic produce, he has long term and trusted suppliers both local to him in Gloucestershire and in France, Italy and Spain.We have been lucky to have found him , as he knows about growing, retailing and above all quality. Andie’s produce is just a top up on our range… and the things that we buy in, is onlya tiny percentage of our produce sold. The rest is grown by ourselves to certified biodynamic standards at Fern Verrow.