Once more our friends at TFM have been writing great blogs, which are just too good not to share. These sentiments equally apply to Exeter and Crediton Farmers' Markets too, and we look forward to welcoming you all there. Please note we can now take credit cards at Exeter and this service will soon be extended to our other markets too.
New post on Taunton Farmers Market
Considering how our producers spend much of their working life up to their armpits in mud and muck, it's surprising how much they contribute to the new 'Clean Eating' concept.
If you haven't heard of clean eating before, it's a new attitude to how and what we eat, with an emphasis on reducing the consumption of processed and refined foods and upping the amount of fresh fruit and veg. Eating clean is a diet, but it's not aimed at helping you lose weight, although this is often a knock-on effect due to consuming better-quality food. Clean eating, instead, means being more aware of the food's pathway between its origin and your plate. In other words, knowing what you're eating, where it comes from, what's been done to it and what has or hasn't been added or taken away on its journey between its source and your pantry.
The idea is gaining momentum due to social media, and is perhaps the first 'faddy' diet to concentrate on improving health, rather than losing weight. It calls for a long-term change in our eating habits and instead of restricting calories, restricts foods which are known to be bad for us.
It involves embracing whole foods, like vegetables, fruits or whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats. Processed and refined foods are not automatically bad for you - for instance pasteurised milk - but they are often less nutritious than their whole food counterparts and can contain high levels of preservatives, salt and sugar. Clean eating means shopping with awareness, and choosing wiser options, such as tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup. Sugar, saturated fats and alcohol can also be detrimental in excess, so these are limited, too, at least to recommended daily amounts. Oven and microwave ready foods have much of the goodness already cooked out of them, and contain high levels of unhealthy additives so, while they may be convenient, they aren't as good for us as a piece of grilled fish, or a stir-fry of fresh vegetables.
While many clean eaters go down the road of giving up meat and choose a plant-based diet for their clean eating regime, this isn't a requirement. However, research has shown that highly processed meats are bad for you in the long term, and it's best to opt for meat dishes you have to prepare from scratch. Reducing some of your meat intake in favour of whole grains and vegetables is also recommended, to reduce the consumption of saturated fat. Fruits are a good way to get a sweet treat without consuming refined sugar, plus, as a whole food, they provide vitamins and minerals manufactured desserts and sweets don't. Similarly, whole grains contain more nutrients and fibre than refined grains, so whole grain bread, rice and pasta are preferred to their refined alternatives.
Why, I hear you ask, would I want to do all that?
'Multiple studies have shown that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can curb or prevent certain life-threatening conditions and diseases, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.' 'Foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been linked to cancer and infertility; highly processed foods are stripped of nutrients needed for overall health; and heavily modified food tends to have additives that overstimulate the production of dopamine, the "pleasure" neurotransmitter, perpetuating a negative cycle of constant junk food cravings.' (Fitness Magazine)
Even if you're not in a position to go entirely down the clean eating route, shopping at Taunton Farmers Market can help set your feet on that path. How? Whole food.
It's what we grow, it's what we sell.
All our producers grow the food they sell themselves, often from seed, or, in the case of animals, from their first few days of life. As small producers, they are better able to monitor what happens to it, and ensure sure it's healthy and nutritious. It comes to you direct from the farm, with none of the processing factory farms employ. The meat sold has not been force-fed, or pumped with antibiotics, the animals are free-range and live comfortable and stress-free lives. The fruits and vegetables produced are grown without artificial pesticides or fertilizers and are harvested within hours of coming to market. There's 'field to fork' provenance, which is sadly all too rare in the global produce industry, where food might take weeks to get to you - passing, on the way, through dozens of pairs of hands, which may not even know what country, let alone field, it came from.
With minimal handling and processing, and maximum care throughout its production, the food at Taunton Farmers Market is as clean as it can get.
Wishing all our Customers a very Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.
We are closed between Christmas and New Year, our first farmers' markets and box deliveries will be in the first week of January 2017.
Linscombe Organic Vegetables Christmas Ordering
Deadlines for Christmas Orders
For ONLINE orders on this website, 9am Tuesday 20th December
For orders on our PAPER FORMS (available from any of our Farmers' Markets) Thursday 15th December.
Christmas Farmers' Markets:
Exeter and Taunton Thursday 22 December
Crediton SUNDAY 18 December
Welcoming One of Our Farmers' Markets Onto the Farm
Taunton Farmers' Market is a producer run market, and we are very keen to let our customers know more about us. Each month the market visits one of the producers, and produces an article which is then posted on the farmers' market website. This month, we were delighted to host the market ourselves. Taunton is the furthest afield we go to sell our vegetables (we only attend the market and do not deliver boxes there) perhaps influenced by the fact that Taunton is Helen's home town, so when the market was looking for an organic veg producer in 2011, we just couldn't resist the opportunity to go. Also Taunton is the same day as Exeter Farmers' Market, meaning we get to pick and pack for both markets on the same day, which fits well into our farming schedule. We have great pleasure in posting the resulting article below, with thanks to Taunton Farmers' Market and Kirsty.
It's been far too long since I last visited one of our Market producers in part of my 'Meet the Producers' journey, but I'm back after a short break and excited to share my most recent adventure with you.
I spent a sunny morning down on Linscombe Farm with Helen, chatting about all things organic.
If I'm perfectly honest, and I may get shot down for saying it, I have always been a huge skeptic when it comes to 'organic' veg. My naive understanding was that organic veg was abit gnarly, and already partially eaten by mini-beasts. I could not have been more wrong, this produce is absolutely beautiful...so much so that I barely even had to edit my photos and not a mini-beast or slug hole in sight.
I've tried growing food at home, with the romantic notion that it will look like this and hard though I try, it never does. So my biggest question for Helen was simply 'how?' How on earth do you make vegetables look so huge and pretty and healthy, without using any fertiliser, any weed killer or any pesticides to keep the pests at bay?
Helens answer was simple; it all starts with the soil. This is Phil and Helen's philosophy when it comes to organic farming, and it's working pretty well I'd say. To elaborate, the theory is this: if the soil is well managed to maximise the nutrients within, the plants are strong and healthy, instead of feeding from a shallow layer of fertiliser on the top, the plant has to work harder to gain it's nutrients from the rich soil beneath it. Consequently the crop is healthy, jam packed full of goodness and far better for the consumer. Its food with flavour, it's not watery and bland, it's happy veg for a happy belly.
Helen was kind enough to give me some demonstrations about how to weed organically, to be honest I never really knew how to use a hoe...are you picking up on the fact that I'm not that green fingered? But look how simple Helen makes it look, all you have to do is make sure that the crops are a hoe's width apart and just run that little beauty right down between them...weeds be gone! Hoorah! No Weedol in sight.
These guys have been registered with the soil association, and certified organic for 20 years now, and they talk with such passion that it's contagious. And the thing is that it doesn't start and stop at the soil and the produce, it's much more than that. The whole farm is carefully worked so as to be ecologically harmonious, sounds like such a 'hippy' thing to say but it's the best way I can describe it really. Purposely grown hedges around the farm, not only an effective barrier and boundary, have encouraged a huge growth in birdlife on the farm. In fact a recent bird survey has shown that the birdlife on Linscombe farm has doubled in the last 10 years. It's not just hedges that have helped this though, shortly after moving to the farm Phil decided to dig out a huge pond! Not a little pond like you might have in the garden for a handful of goldfish, not even a koi sized pond, but basically a lake, and naturally this has created an increase in the amount of thrushes and swallows on the farm. In fact the conservation efforts of Linscombe Farm won them a Gold award in 2011 (and annually since then) from the Wildlife Trust for working for the benefit of wildlife and the natural environment, so big congratulations for that.
I must add at this point, that it isn't just Helen and Phil up on the farm. They have a small crew of dedicated staff who help them to keep things ticking over. I met Nick and Carol who were eagerly picking the bountiful crops of beans and tomatoes, ready for the up-coming markets and box packing. Having these lovely girls helping them out with picking etc means that Phil and Helen can dedicate their time to growing, in fact a staggering 90% of the vegetable plants are grown on the farm from seed. Linscombe Farm have been attending Farmers Market for many years, in particular they have attended Taunton Farmers Market since 2011. They also run an organic veg box scheme in and around the Exeter area, so if you fancy a weekly delivery of delicious seasonal organic vegetables, hook up these guys on their website alternatively head over to the Taunton Farmers Market, all day on a Thursday come rain or shine, we'd love to see you there!
Coming along nicely...
Young, vigourously growing vegetables are hugely photogenic. The tunnels are at their resplendent best now as we haven't started picking many of them yet. The broad beans are phenomenally tall this year and will crop well:
We've started picking bunches of beetroot and the carrots will follow soon:
Spring greens and climbing French beans - and you can see several varieties of lettuce behind them:
And these lettuces and celery are hardening off outside ready for field planting:
The hungry gap will end soon, really
Since the last cropping news in January where we said there had just been one real frost this winter, there have certainly been a few cold snaps to make up for that. Too cold for the tender crops like the tomatoes aubergines and peppers that are ready to transplant, so these will now be going in later than anticipated. On the other hnad, we now have superb crops coming on in the tunnels, which should be ready by the end of May if all goes well. Broad beans, bunching carrots and bunching beets, sugarsnap peas, french beans and salad onions. First crops of fennel and radish have already been a hit with customers, and spinach and chard continue to crop well, with a gorgeous new crop of chard coming ready this week (1st week of May). Plenty of leafy salads also available with some lush pak choi now available too.
Estelle's Winter Bird Survey
Winter is always an interesting time to look out for birds in the wild. There is less natural cover as the deciduous trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves, and so birds become more prominent whilst perched in the branches of trees. There are winter visitors to look out for, such as redwings, which flock from Scandinavia and Russia to spend a comparatively warm winter with us in the UK, arriving from September/October and leaving our shores from March. This species feeds largely on berries and worms, and it is our smallest thrush species. It is listed on the UK Red List for conservation concern as there have been steep declines in its breeding populations. During the farm surveys, a group of approximately 80 redwings was recorded in the vicinity of our office and carparking area.
A flock of about 40 linnets were recorded in a tree close to the polytunnels, on the margin of one of the crop fields. These slim finches were also recorded on the farm during the spring surveys, and were thought to be nesting in the hedgerows of the same crop field. Linnets feed on seeds and insects, and they have attractive markings, particularly the males, which have rosy red chests and foreheads. The linnet is another UK Red List species, and this is due to severe declines in number, with over half of the UK population being lost since 1970.
An unexpected, but rather heart-warming, sight was the song flight of a male skylark that I encountered upon entering the meadow on the farm. This small, streaky brown bird is a champion singer, and gives out its uplifting tune whilst rising vertically, to a height of up to 1000 feet. The mild winter weather of 2015/16 appears to have led to an early spring in nature. Skylarks do not usually start performing their song flights until March. The skylark was once abundant in the UK but is now also on the UK Red List; its population halved during the1990’s and continues to decline. Farms such as the one we produce our organic vegetables on are now vital in offering suitable shelter, feeding and breeding habitat for this declining species.
The lower part of the farm meadow is much damper and is largely covered by rush. This offers suitable habitat for a range of different species, including reed bunting and snipe. In total, 36 snipe were recorded in the lower meadow. These are such interesting birds visually; they hide in the vegetation until you almost tread on them and then they rocket out and upwards in a zigzag pattern, flashing their white undersides and sporting their long straight beaks and angular wings, with which the males beat out a drumming sound during their courtship in the spring.
On the whole, it is clear that the farm is offering suitable habitats for a broad range of species, including some that are increasingly uncommon and particularly in need of some help. It is important to work alongside nature in order to sustain it, and that is what organic is all about.
Our most familiar amphibian, the common frog, is found throughout the UK and much of Europe. It breeds in ponds, wet ditches and slow moving streams, and many people will have noticed them making use of their garden ponds in spring, which can provide excellent habitat for amphibians. There are many excellent wildlife habitats throughout the farm, providing shelter, food, breeding, nesting and hibernating spots for many species, including amphibians. Common frogs lay large, dense clumps of jelly-like eggs, each containing a dark-coloured egg in the centre; this differs from toadspawn, which is laid in long chains containing a double, linear row of eggs. The peak of the breeding season is March and April, but the frogspawn at the farm was first seen on the 3rd February, which reflects the exceptionally mild winter we have experienced. Common frogs hibernate during the winter, either in mud at the bottom of a pond or on land in a sheltered place such as a log-pile or compost heap. During the breeding season females lay eggs just once, but their spawn often contains between 1000-2000 eggs. The amazing transformation from egg, to tadpole, to young frog generally takes up to 4 months. Tadpoles are predated by many species during this time, including newts, freshwater invertebrates such as dragonfly larve, fish and certain species of birds; from each cluster of frogspawn only 5 frogs on average will survive through to adulthood, this is why the clusters are so large. It is wonderful to watch the transformation of the frog throughout its life-cycle. We will keep an eye on the progress of our frogspawn and hopefully we will have young frogs fledging from their aquatic home later in the year!
Seasonal Cropping and Farm News
Here we are at the end of January and it's more like the end of March when you walk around the vegetable fields, squelching underfoot as you go. It's been so mild this winter (only one real frost so to speak of - see below) that all the crops are well ahead of their usual cropping pattern. The popular black kale is running to flower, but with some lovely leaves still on it; rather time-consuming to pick the individual leaves, but well worth the effort. The green and red kales will soon be following suit, althought the red kale has been limited in availability all winter merely due to aphid infestation. Pick one, discard one, pick one, discard two. It does seem a huge waste when the critters are so prolific, but we do discard affected crops - apologies if the odd one gets through and apologies to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for what may be perceived as waste, but we do get grumbles if aphids slip throught the net, and we believe, the aphid attacked plants do give out stress chemicals which make them taste different. What is very interesting is that the adjacent green kale only has very small patches of aphid - must be proof that the red pigment in the vegetables is indeed good for you - see our "eating rainbows" in the nutrition section.
Aphids are not the only beasties thriving in the milder weather - there is also an abundance of caterpillars in the crops this year - their favoured crop of choice seems to be chard, which they are also sharing with the roe deer. You are sharing the chard with the roe deer too, and it is in rather short supply, although shortly we do hope to have some tunnel grown chard avaiable, which hopefully the deer won't get to! There is also an abundance of small slugs, whose crop of choice is the sprouts. The sprouts do have some nibbles in them, but they do still taste delicious. The sprout tops on the other hand are rather more damaged and are acting as slug congregation points, so we have now taken them off the website.
All these extra beasties may or may not have helped the bird populations - it will be interesting to see if the milder considitions have had any effect on the bird numbers, and Estelle has been undertaking a "winter" bird survey for us. She waited for the frosty weather to try to get a "winter" population count, and has one more survey to do, after which we hope to have some results to tell you about. If you are concerned about sharing your weekly vegetables with the wildlife, then do spare a thought for us, who are given short sharp shrift by our seven year old, if we dare to complain. On the daily school run we pass by some fields of tender young oilseed rape plants, which have spent the winter being feasted on by a flock of some 200 pigeons. Whilst feeling heartily for the affected farmer, I have spent all winter fearing the frosts or snow and the pigeons moving onto our vegetables, which are still accessible to the pigeons under such conditions (in 2010 we lost a whole field of veg overnight when it snowed). When we drove past the rape field this week, there were no pigeons, and I said "Oh no, where are the pigeons, I hope they haven't gone to the veg field" to which I was told "You have to SHARE the veg, the birds have to eat too you know, you can't choose to feed some and not others, that's racist". Well, now you know. Enjoy your nibbled vegetables and thank you for sharing :-)
The long awaited frosts are a bit of a shock to the system. We have been so used to the mild winter, that it was rather bemusing to make the early morning trip up to the field for picking and then have to wait for the crops to defrost before they could be picked. Hopefully the crops which have been maturing a couple of months early, will now slow down their accelerated "ripening" so to speak, and we shall still have some crops in March and April!
Christmas is coming
Please see our Christmas Ordering section and our Farmers' Market section for all the latest Christmas updates on how and where you can get our vegetables this season.
You have probably heard all sorts of news both locally and nationally about cauliflowers all maturing before Christmas. Our regulars will know that we have just had the most fantastic crop of cauliflowers over the last few weeks, but this current crop was just finished this week (4th Dec). We do have plenty more varieties to mature, but we cannot guarantee these will come on demand for Christmas orders. We do have all the other usual Christmas favourites, including our Red Drumhead heritage red cabbage (try it with celeriac for a great alternative to bread sauce with your poultry), red sprouts, green sprouts of course plus loads of other great tasting greens and roots. The web shop will of course, be updated for latest availability. Happy menu planning for your festive feast.
With the onset of the much cooler autumn weather, there is a bit of a change in the availability of crops this week (23 Oct at writing). Out go the majority of our own grown aubergines, peppers and tomatoes, although there a limited numbers of Farmers' Long Asian aubergines and Brandywine tomatoes for a couple more weeks. New from the tunnels are a range autumn lettuces - much slower growing at this time of year and not as large as lettuces can be in the peak of summer, but protection from the elements means they are lovely and tender. We also have a new crop of beautiful tunnel grown celery. New from the fields are swedes and parsnips, carrots are also now field grown (we have had far more tunnel grown bunching types this season, so you will have noticed a change in the size in the last couple of weeks). Romaneso caulis are also back this week and we have some rather delectable Ruby Chard for a few weeks only. Monitoring the white caulis, which do seem rather reluctant to appear, leaving me wondering if I inadvertently missed seeding a variety this spring - must check!
It was full steam ahead for the potato harvest whilst the good weather lasted. We managed to get all our Setante (lovely red skinned all rounder potato we particularly enjoy baking) and Ambo (our favourite for mashing) safely out the ground. Then part way through the Valor, our harvesting machine came a cropper and stopped working. Belt slippages and breakages, stones getting jammed in the mechanism - all of these were dealt with, but then the old machine finally gave up the ghost and refused to go further. We have kind of been expecting this for the last three years, but it always pulled through before. Phil and Tom (and a couple of visitors one evening - thanks to Steve and Curtis) spent the rest of the weekend fixing up an old beast that we knew was available locally. Then on Sunday, just as the first test drive was completed and the final adjustments being made, down came the rain. And still it comes. The ground is now far too wet to do any potato harvesting, so we are really hoping for the weather to dry up soon so we can get the rest of the Valor out the ground. The bad news is that our very popular heritage Aran Victory still lies beneath the soil, as do the rest of the Charlotte. Send out the vibes for a spell of sunny weather, with a nice drying wind.....
Taste of the West Gold Awards
Both Crediton and Taunton Farmers' Markets have been awarded the Taste of the West Gold Awards 2015. Congratulations to all the stall holders and the customers who help to make the markets so vibrant and special. We hope to see you there!
Yay, two great things in life - sunshine and sweetcorn. Picking sweetcorn early evening for Crediton Farmers' Market in the morning was an absolute joy. Succulent cobs of corn, lovely evening sunshine, and poppies gently swaying in the breeze amongst the celeriac crop next to the corn. Topped off with a quick blackberry foray. Sounds idyllic, but it was mostly working, honest!
Fingers crossed for a September that gives at least several consecutive days without rain. Two whole weeks would be better. Following the wet August, we have plenty of weeding to catch up on and also need to harvest the potatoes. You may have noticed the potatoes having rather more soil on recently, a testament to the wet ground we have been digging them out of, and the size, which is also a testament to the wet July. Hopefully by the beginning of the week, the conditions should be dry enough to get on with the harvest. We also need some sunshine to mature the winter squash crop.
We have started planting up tunnel crops for winter, including tat soi, pak choi and sorrel. Plenty more of this to do too.
Enjoy the sweetcorn season.
You can probably tell how busy we have been over the summer by the lack of recent news! A mixed time for the crops this season due to the variations in weather we had. Dry weather early on meant we had to be very careful about transplanting and drilling crops - had to give up on summer spinach which bolted as soon as it grew a leaf! (If we drill it again now, the wether will probably blast hot again for August!). Aubergines, peppers, chillies and tomatoes are thriving, and we have great crops of both. We have it on good authority that the chillies are good and hot this year. The onions started the season brilliantly and then when it got warm and humid went onto develop mildew, which stopped the bulbs growing any more. We do have a crop, but don't expect whopping onions this season! The brassicas (kales, cabbages etc) had a tricky start in the dry, but couldn't believe their luck when we had a total of 65ml of rain last week. Lettuce was less happy about the deluge, and we will have limited supply for a week now.
Time to draw a breath now the main plantings are done, a chance to plan the winter tunnel cropping and then onwards with the late summer harvests.
Crediton Food Festival 13th/14th June 2015
Town Square in Crediton. Come and meet local producers, listen to food demonstrations starring the Devon Chef, Tim Harris, and much much more .....
We will be at the Festival on Saturday only, if you want to come along for a chat, but we will NOT be selling vegetables, just displaying them.
Hungry Gap time is fast approaching and some of the winter staples like parsnips and celeriac are now off the list until next autumn. Greens are also changing, with the winter cabbages also off the list and kales all coming to an end. However sprouting broccoli is still cropping heavily and we have plenty of tender chard, as well as all the usual salad goodies, with radish on the menu this week and lots of lovely pak choi maturing too. This will soon be followed by all the beans and peas, bunching beets and carrots. In the meantime we are manically busy getting everything seeded and transplanted for the coming season to produce the crops we know you are going to love!
Good Friday this coming 3rd April, so a little adjustment to Friday deliveries. Friday morning deliveries will be on Wednesday afternoon, with the exception of Exeter Bran Tub and Seasons collection points, which will be on Thursday. Friday afternoon deliveries will be on Thursday also. Plenty of great veg for your Easter roast, the parsnips and Crown Prince squash are roasting fantastically as present, sweet with loads of flavour.
Farm cropping news
A bit of a later start to this season, with the colder night temperatures experienced throughout February and into March meaning that our field cultivations are a couple of weeks later than usual. We always find that it is best to wait until the soil warms up and becomes more friable, as crops put in before the soil is right for planting invariably end up being of poorer quality and yield. Also driving on the soil and attempting to cultivate before conditions are right is never good for soil structure; and since we love our soil and look after it, we prefer to wait (even if we are frothing at the bit in eagerness to be getting on with it!).
However, planting is well underway in the tunnels, with lovely crops of chard at present, and the bunching carrots and beetroots are growing, albeit a little behind due to the cooler weather. No doubt everything will catch up as soon as we get abit of warmth, hopefully in early April.
International year of Family Farming
2014 has been the international year of family farming and we thank all our customers for supporting our family farm this year. Please show your support to other local and small family farm producers this Christmas.
Andy and Mandy Johnson's Laydilay organic eggs, meringues and mayonnaise are available as usual from the local products section of our website.
Rod and Ruth Hall are doing organic Christmas Bronze Turkeys please visit www.roddysturkeys.co.uk
Jo and Tim Budden have a fantastic range of organic meat, including beef, lamb, pork and poultry of all types so please visit www.higherhacknell.co.uk.
Linscombe's Christmas Ordering and Delivery Calendar Dates
Tuesday 16th December - deadline for all online orders. No bespoke orders after 10am on this date !
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th December - normal box deliveries
Friday 19th December - noon deadline for any late non-bespoke orders (phone or email only).
Sunday 21st December Crediton Christmas Farmers' Market
Monday 22nd December ALL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION POINT AND HOME DELIVERIES. Christmas Courier orders dispatched for next day delivery.
Tuesday 23rd December Exeter and Taunton Christmas Farmers' Markets
Wednesday 24th December to Friday 2nd January inclusive. CLOSED. No box deliveries.
Saturday 3rd January Crediton Farmers' Market
Thursday 8th and Friday 9th January, box deliveries as usual
Thursday 8th January Exeter and Taunton Farmers' Markets resume.
Special Offer on Butternut Squash
Take advantage of our Butternut Bonanza to get in some extra nutrition by having a roast squash or squash soup feast. Check out some of our squash facts and recipes here. Did you know that winter squash contains 475% of your daily vitamin K1 and antioxidants? Click here for the article.
Christmas Farmers' Market Dates Announced
Possibly a tad bit early for some of you, but the dates have been provided for the special Christmas Farmers' Markets for those who want to get the dates in their diaries:
Crediton Farmers' Market will be as usual, on the Sunday before Christmas, which falls this year on 21st December.
Exeter Farmers' Market and Taunton Farmers' Markets, both on TUESDAY 23rd December.
So that means our Christmas Collection Point deliveries and local home deliveries will be on Monday 22nd December.
Last orders for Christmas by the usual Tuesday 10am deadline on 16th December.
Phil's 50th Birthday Treat
If you read our reminder email at the beginning of the week, you will know that Phil did get time off for good behaviour after the onion harvest. Not only that, but he got to celebrate his birthday in style at Percy's Country Hotel and Restaurant, where we had the most fantastic Sunday lunch ever. Huge thanks to Tina and Tony Bricknell-Webb, who sent us this clip of our lunch being prepared. Note the dish with the heritage "Scarlett Emperor" runner bean, picked freshly from Tina's garden as we arrived.
Find out more at www.percys.co.uk Highly recommended if you love good food, which we know you do!
Sometimes with farming, everything goes according to plan and you get a job done with great satisfaction. On Tuesday and Wednesday evening we managed to get the onion harvest in, just perfect timing before the rain on Thursday night and Friday. It doesn't get much better than that, as the onions had just had a couple of weeks of lovely dry weather, and are now all safely in the barn, beautifully dry, which means they should store well for us this year. Thanks to the Linscombe Team who all pulled their weight getting the farmers' market picking and packing done whilst we onioned away, and to our boys, who got drafted in to help as soon as they got back from school! Some well earned pocket money for the extra pairs of hands. It was Phil's birthday on Wednesday, so a birthday treat for him too. He may get time off over the weekend for good behaviour and great timing with the crop.
Wildlife news for this week - Kingfisher spotted over the pond again. Fabulous.
Exeter Green Fair
We had a great day at the Green Fair on the cathedral green in Exeter on Saturday 30th August. If you visited our display stall and would like assistance using the website to order, or wish to register as a new customer for our "cashback" offer at the Green Fair, then please contact Stephen in the office on 01392 851403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during the hours of Mon - Tues 9am to 4pm or Weds afternoon between 1pm - 4pm. We look forward to hearing from you.
End of August: We struggled to get potatoes harvested with the rain last week, but a turn in the weather back to (hopefully) something more summery should mean we can get up some potatoes this coming week and offer a more varied selection. Lettuces are coming to an end, but salad leaves are doing well. Lots of lush and healthy Brassicas arriving now with the autumn on the way, offering a great vitamin boost for the kids before you get them back to school! Fantastic Romanesco and green caulis at the moment, both with great flavour. Try their curds lightly sauteed with corn cut off the cob. Tomatoes slowed down ripening last week, but plenty still to come and still tasting good. Make the most of them throughout September.
Exeter Green Fair - Cathedral Green, Saturday 30th August
Soil Association views on the Leifert report
Here's a link to the Soil Association's thoughts on the new report on organic food from Professor Leifert.
Also articles from the Guardian and Independent newspapers.
Crops now maturing in abundance
Plenty of choice now becoming available with many of the brassicas making a welcome return, with their valuable nutrient boosting properties. Why eat kale in the summer? To help your body cope with the excesses of summer holidaying of course! All brassicas are great at helping cleanse toxins from your body.
Special Offers on Tomatoes
As the holidays arrive just as tomatoes start to crop in abundance, there are some special offers to treat yourselves with whilst you are still at home. Bulk choices for cherry toms, and peppers. We pick our superbly flavoured brandywines when they are ripe, so that you can benfit from their great flavour - but this does mean we get some which split, as they are very prone to this. We are doing a 1kg reduced price for split brandywines - eat straight away in a juicy salad (great with basil/marjoram/garlic and olive oil), or simply pop into the freezer for later processing (we just freeze them whole and then make sauces and soups with them later in the year). Delicious.
BBQ season in full swing!
Lots of vegetables perfect for the bbq are in full season now, with courgettes, aubergines, peppers and chillies perfect for chopping and popping on skewers over the bbq - or frying in a pan for a less time consuming preparation. (Alternatively the kids can do the chopping and skewering, but our skewers are then used as swords - not relaxing!). Try the small jalapeno peppers which are very popular in Turkey (so all the market customers are telling me!) and are great just sliced in half and gently cooked on the bbq grill. Sliced tomatoes and plenty of variety of basil to make a great colourful summer side dish - just add chopped garlic/spring onion, olive oil and a tad of ground pepper.
Lots of wildlife on the farm this week
Quite an exciting week for the wildlife this week. Two teenage barnowls on the telegraph pole outside the house, with Mum or Dad on another pole encouring them to hunt. Great to watch. Also a snake in the polytunnel yesterday - my screams were probably heard in both Crediton and Exeter, as it took a few seconds to register it was a grass snake and so harmless. It quickly disappeared down a hole by the polythene, so probably it screamed when it saw me too. Hoards of baby frogs have also been hopping around for the last ten days - hard to know where to put your feet at night. Just sat and had a beer (Curry gold from the North Curry Brewery who attend Taunton Farmers' market - highly recommended if you are ever up that way!) by the pond having just got back from today's Crediton market, which was a lively market with much musical entertainment which was hugely appreciated by the customers. Sitting by the pond I was entertained by masses of damsel and dragon flies and moorhens and ducks. Also the thrushes have had a booming year this season and we have more thrush anvils around than we have ever seen before. Not so welcome wildlife - pigeons in the field, rooks in the field (both attacking brassicas and sweetcorn respectively) and a rabbit which has got into the tunnel but is proving impossible to get out - just shows that the taste of the vegetables is worth hanging around for.
Crediton Food Festival 14th June
In the Town Square
We shall be at the Festival on Saturday, with a display only, no produce to sell, as it falls inbetween the two monthly Crediton Farmers' Markets. Come along and say hello, we look forward to seeing you.
We have been busy over the last few weeks doing our seed order and planning our cropping for the coming season. As many of our regular customers will know, we do try to grow heritage varieties of vegetables. Some of these "open pollinated" varieties may not be great croppers, but they can have great flavour, and also for a smaller box scheme like ours, the cropping period is often irregular (ie they don't all mature at once) so we can harvest smaller quantities over a larger period. We don't just grow these varieties for our customers taste buds or our own convenience though - one other reason for growing them is to keep these varieties in demand so that it is worth the seed companies still producing them. The most important reason, is that by keeping these old varieties in use, we are helping to maximise the genetic diversity of vegetables. Why is this important? Old varieties may contain genetic characteristics that could be vital in the future. Also, the greater the diversity of the vegetable genepool, the better resistance we have against pests and diseases. This is simply illustrated in our own fields, where we grow up to 300 varieties of vegetable each year - if one variety fails, we know another will succeed.
This year, yet more of our favourite heritage varieties have become unavailable - Purple Cape Cauliflower, which we have loved and grown for years (and which cropped brilliantly last winter when so many other varieties failed), is one such variety this season. The Soil Association are campaigning against European legislation which, if it becomes law, will further reduce the varieties we have available to us. Please follow the link below to find out more - yes, they do ask you to donate, but you don't have to - more importantly to us, would be for you to just add your name to supporting the campaign, which will keep you updated with what is happening. Thanks for taking the time to read this. www.soilassociation.org/saveourseeds
Christmas Orders update
Regular deliveries as usual on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th December.
Christmas Home Deliveries on MONDAY 23rd December. Be sure to select Christmas Home Delivery during checkout with the next available delivery of Friday 20th December (it will be processed by computer Friday, delivered on Monday!)
Christmas Collection Point Deliveries on MONDAY 23rd December. Be sure to select the Christmas Collection Point option during checkout, with delivery date of Friday 20th December (computer processes Friday, delivery on Monday - sorry for any confusion!). You MUST specify what collection point you wish to use in the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION during the checkout process - if this information is missing, for regular customers we will assume your usual collection point, for new customers, we will phone you to confirm.
Credition Christmas Farmers Market SUNDAY 22nd December
Exeter Christmas Farmers Market MONDAY 23rd December
Taunton Christmas Farmers Market SUNDAY 22nd December
again for all markets, computer will process orders Friday, so Friday 20th December will be offered delivery, with ACTUAL deliveries on your method of collection!
Deadline for orders:
Bespoke online orders (ie you choose what you want) Tuesday 17th December 10am. Sorry, no late orders accepted.
Traditional sacks (our great selections of produce - you won't be disappointed!) Tuesday 17th December 10am. Late orders accepted by phone at our discretion until Thursday 19th December, no later!!
Ordering early for Christmas? Not all Christmas products have yet become available (especially fruit and nuts)....subscribe to our reminder email to be alerted as products are added.
Please ensure you select the correct delivery date when you checkout - the default date is the next available delivery date. We cannot refund orders which are picked and packed if you have selected the wrong delivery date, sorry! Check the date on your confirmation email and contact us if it is wrong!!
NO deliveries or Farmers Markets between Christmas and New Year, with regular deliveries resuming on Thursday January 2nd.
Exeter Green Fair
Saturday 7th September. Cathedral Green Exeter. 10am - 4pm
We shall have a stall at the Green Fair, but for display only, as the Fair coincides with Crediton Farmers' Market where we shall have our usual great range of produce. Jan Kawelec, Nutritional Therapist will be your hostess at the Linscombe stall at the Green Fair, with not only her extensive knowledge of our vegetables (having worked with us for many years) but loads of extra information about the health and nutritional value of them as well. There will be tasters of cherry tomatoes at the Green Fair and we will also have sweetcorn available.
Great Value for money with your weekly vegetable shop
Went to the beach with the children yesterday to prove to them we can also do "normal" things in the summer. Sometimes we have managed to get off the farm by 3pm (Sam is still young enough not to notice everyone else is packing up and leaving just as we arrive!) but yesterday we made a special effort to get away for the day so the boys could see the Red Arrows. (I got told off for making mutterings about fuel consumption). Anyway, a lovely day out with beautiful sunny weather, and managed to get back home in time to water the seedlings before they wilted!
On the way home we called into Sainsburys (more guilt) to get some french stick to accompany the delicious home-made tomato soup waiting at home. Of course such a visit had to involve a price comparison of vegetables. Was really genuinely shocked to see how expensive vegetables are in the supermarket - conventional peppers are 80p each, whilst ours have been on the website for 65p each for some weeks - and are on special offer this week at 50p each. All organic vegetables were far more expensive than ours, and in most cases the conventional vegetables were also more expensive - always when they announced a West Country origin eg conventional cornish courgettes were £4.28/kg when ours are just £2.80 a kg, and nearly all the Taste the Difference products were dearer or comparable in price to ours. Only a few of Sainsbury's "basics" were cheaper than our prices.
So often, if someone decides to leave the box scheme, they cite financial reasons, or tightening their belt and I wonder if people really do look at just how much vegetables cost in the supermarkets - and for a less fresh, invariably less nutritious product?
Our Vegetable boxes and choosing your own basket on our website are also cheaper than other national schemes, like Riverford and Abel and Cole, so we reckon we represent great value for money......
Pass the message on.........word of mouth is our best advert, but it does need us, and you, to shout about it..........thankyou.
A great farm walk
- thanks to all those who came. We hope that you shared our enjoyment of a beautiful summer evening in beautiful countryside. The weather was perfect and the crops looked great; couldn't have asked for better.
The farm walk was so good we will be tempted to repat it shortly - possibly spending some time looking at the huge range of crops in the polytunnels? Watch this space!
FRIDAY 26 JULY 6.30pm
We shall be having a Farm Walk this coming Friday providing an opportunity to see the fantastic looking vegetables, meet the growers and the Linscombe Team and enjoy a lovely evening walk in the superb Devon countryside.
The evening will feature Jan Kawalec, who will tell us about the nutritional benefits of some of the vegetables we see as we walk around. Jan used to work with us at Linscombe and followed up her interest in healthy eating by becoming a qualified nutritionist, and we are really looking forward to sharing her knowledge.
There will also be an opportunity to try free samples of the produce, buy some of the range of vegetables we grow and Rocks Organics are generously providing some of their superb squash and cordial drinks for refreshments.
Look forward to seeing you all on Friday evening, dogs are welcome, but must be on leads please. Thankyou.
Linscombe Strawberries now available
Some of you may recollect us mentioning last year that we had planted strawberries. Last season, being the first year, we had the type of pest as seen below which ate the modest crop! Plenty for all this season though!
New Season Update 2
18th May 2013
Mid May sees us completely in the "hungry gap" when we have the most limited range of produce on offer. Most will now be familiar with this expression, but for those who may not be, the "hungry gap" is when last season's crops are over, but this season's crops are still coming to maturity and are mostly not ready to harvest. Since last writing we have planted out the crops that were on the hardening off benches, just in time to get well and truely watered in by the rain last Tuesday. The continued cold nightly temperatures means that field crops are still well behind what they could be if only we would have more warmth. A frenzied rush of activity this week has seen many mature crops removed from the polytunnels and successional plantings put in - pak choi, fennel, french beans and sugar snap peas. We have also put some of our courgettes into the tunnels this year, as it has simply been too risky to put them in the field with a few late frosts still around.
All the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have now been transplanted and are hopefully "getting their roots down" to start growing in earnest. I took the liberty of eating the first cucumber this week, which was totally delicious (sorry to deprive you of the opportunity!). There are more fruits set and growing and these will be available very soon.
The hardening off benches never remain empty at this time of year, and the seed tunnel is overflowing with crops ready for this period of adjustment prior to transplanting. Fingers crossed for good planting conditions this coming week......
New Season Update
Following on from a rather unfortunately cold start to the year which delayed the head-start we were hoping to get in the fields, it has now finally turned into spring! All the potatoes and onions have been planted, as well as a couple of successional sowings of broad beans. The parsnips and first early carrots have been drilled, along with chard and beetroots and spring onion. Ground is now ready for the first transplants raised from seed in our own seeding tunnel - greens, lettuces, kohl rabi and calabrese. These are currently on the hardening-off benches; I can almost hear their roots squeaking in anticipation of being planted into the soil.
We have seeded the majority of the brassicas we expect to harvest in 2013, such as caulis, all sorts of cabbages, more calabrese, sprouts etc. Also seeded are courgettes, sweetcorn and we are just about to do the squashes, now the weather has finally made the seed germinating well a real possibility.
The tunnels have been an absolute God-send over the last season, and most of the crops at the moment are coming from them. Even we have been impressed with what they have produced for us - with help from a very hard-working team of course, especially Julian, who has excelled himself with coaxing everything along. Over the next few weeks we shall be reaping the vegetables of our labour - the first of the bunching carrots are imminent, and the first spring onions and radishes are proving to be exceptional. Spring greens are also a great favourite, and the chard has finally shown a growth spurt, which is great news.
Salads have been kept coming all winter and now the weather is finally turning warmer, we shall be moving away from the more peppery flavoured leaves which are so great over-winter, to lettuces and basil etc. Last year our basil was a disaster, mostly being eaten by the copious slugs that were around, so fingers crossed for a great crop this season.
Cucumbers have also been planted out in the tunnel, although we did have a bit of a scare with the frosts, and some plants did get nipped in the bud literally. As I write this, hubby is out with son number 1 (ie eldest) covering the cucs over with fleece to protect them from the low temperatures forecast for tonight. Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers have also been put into the tunnels they are due to be planted in, as part of their acclimatisation process, so they too need to get tucked up snug under fleece.
Despite the odd cold night, the warmer days have really accelerated the rise and demise of the remainder of last season's field crops. Having tolerated miserable weather all winter, many of them had an unseasonably early end - such as the kale, which surprised us by running to seed a good two to three weeks earlier than normal. Can only assume the plants were too stressed after the winter, and the slightest hint of spring saw them bolting to set seed - after all, it is nature's response to spawn in the face of adversity. (Not quite sure what that says about us having gone to the excess of four children, but there must be a good story there somewhere..... I always blame it on eating too many organic vegetables.) Anyway, getting back to the field vegetables, the sprouting broccoli, having been desperately slow to get maturing this season, meaning not enough to go round most weeks, has suddenly decided to rocket off. Both the white and the purple will go another week, but whether or not we get an additional week after that is debateable. Caulis will mature quickly too.
Much work to be done in the next few weeks....still more seeding of the post Christmas vegetables, plenty of watering of transplants and weeding of tunnel crops to be doing, planting of the field greens - and weeding them too once they get going, and before we know it, we'll be harvesting tomatoes and aubergines, yippee!
Here's our annual wish, for lovely warm summer days, with sufficient showers of overnight rain to allow perfect growing conditions. Enjoy your vegetables.
Christmas Ordering Information
Please click for a direct link to our Christmas Orders Page which provides details on collection/delivery/holiday dates, deadlines for bespoke and Traditional Sack orders etc...
Some new local products available via the website. Please note that organic turkeys cannot be ordered through the website, but through Rod direct on 01392 833833. Thankyou.
Taunton Thursday December 13th and 20th
Crediton Saturday December 15th and SUNDAY Dec 23rd
Exeter Thursday December 13th and 20th and SUNDAY 23rd.
Breaking news: "Farming Rocks"
Says Dylan Alton from Brampford Speke Primary School following a visit to the farm to celebrate the harvest festivals. Poems to follow..
An Ode to the Polytunnel:
To see our 5th July 2012, newsletter please
See Phil on BBC Spotlight
talking about slugs....contrary to the national press reports which changed the story to tales of "millions" of slugs, don't panic, we haven't been "rasped" to death by them, but we do have abundant toads to help us keep the numbers down, and the numbers of toads have attracted grass-snakes - how exciting is that? Very!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Killerton Organic Food Fair
Saturday 23rd June
Join us at the National Trust venue to promote and show your support for organic food. This has now been and gone - but see below for the Western Morning News coverage of the event:
Crediton Food Festival 16th and 17th June
Produce stalls (including us) and cookery demos on Saturday 16th, and the Big Picnic Lunch on Sunday 17th with more foodie stalls and live music. The Town Square in Crediton, come and join in all the fun!
13 June Newsletter: Slugs!
Sorry for the big gap in news. This newsletter was encouraged by BBC Spotlight featuring a piece, filmed on our farm, about how the wet weather is encouraging the growth of slug populations. This piece was then picked up by lots of other news agencies including radio, tv and national newspapers (The Daily Express that we know of so far.).
So click on the link and "read all about it"
4 April 2012 Newsletter: What to do with a Cabbage
So click on the link below to read it
Deliveries for Easter - all deliveries will be made on THURSDAY 5th April this week, as it is Bank Holiday on Good Friday.
Crediton Farmers' Market this Saturday as usual, 10am to 1pm. See you there!
Traditional Vegetable Christmas Sacks and a Mixed Fruit Christmas Sack are now available in the online shop. The vegetable sacks contain everything you need for a traditional christmas dinner - potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks, sprouts, savoy and red cabbages, plus those extras for making christmas special, like parsley, onions, roasting squashes to give a splash of festive colour (or make a superbly tasty soup for starters), not to mention the salad for christmas tea or Boxing Day.
As with all the products in the shop in the website, click on the arrow on the top right of the product box for more information and quantities.
Christmas Orders and Delivery Dates
Christmas deliveries will be on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd December, according to where you live - see our delivery and collection information. Regular customers can expect their deliveries on their usual days, but timng may be a little different to usual, depending upon the number of extra orders to process - please don't forget we are getting everything to you freshly picked, and much depends on the weather (hopefully not a repeat of the snow of last year!). Courier deliveries will be dispatched on Wednesday 21st for next day delivery.
Order deadline is strictly Monday 19th December 2011.
No deliveries between Christmas and New Year - regular customers are recommended to replace their standard orders with a small or large christmas sack, or, add extras of their choice to their regular order to ensure they have sufficient vegetables for the festive season.
Usual delivery service resumes on 5/6th January 2012.
We wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
We have produced a set of instructions to help guide you through your first orders. This has been done as a seperate file to download so that you can either print it off or have it in a seperate window on your computer screen alongside the window that you are making your order in. Click here to download.
Seems like awhile since the last news, so what have we been doing to keep busy?
We have harvested potatoes - a bumper crop this year, so 25kg bags of maincrop Valor and Setanta are available for the great value price of £8. Both varieties can be considered good all rounders suitable for a variety of purposes, including mashing and roasting, although we recommend Setante for baking in particular.
Onions and Squashes have also been harvested and again a bulk discount is available on larger orders - see our squash medley option - fantastic value at £1 per kg for a 5 kg order and a must for all squash lovers. Altogether, these offers make for some great value local vegetables in these cost conscious times. And they are all organic and home produced into the bargain.
Our polytunnels have been cleared of some of the summer crops now that November is well underway and we have been busy establishing the winter salads.Following a fantastic season for aubergines these are also being removed to make way for spring crops, as are the tomatoes and peppers.
Helen has been focussed on pulling apart all the business admin and putting it back together again, and we now have the repeat ordering function ready on the website which is fantastic news and long-awaited by many of you. So you can now set up your regular weekly or fortnightly orders. We are still in the process of putting together some instructions to help guide you through the ordering process. Hopefull tese will be available to download shortly. we are also aware of a few areas on the website that need more clarity/simplicity and are working on this as well. Please do let us know if you have any comments....
Last but not least, we were nominated by you (THANKYOU!) for the Devon Life Food Awards, and achieved becoming one of three finalists in the "Food Producer of the Year". There was no category for just vegetables this year and we were pipped to the post of winner by a beef producer who has just got a major contract for supplying the new Waitrose in Exeter. Having won an award last year, we weren't disappointed, we had a great evening out at Sandy Park, and we weren't expecting to win as the three finalists in our category were judged by Waitrose! However, Redhill Farm, whose apple juice is available on this website did win their category for "Best Drinks Product" and Crediton won the award for "Best Farmers' Market" so winners all round. Also, Ben's Hens Eggs have also just won a Taste of the West Gold Award. Great produce all round!
Click Here to download the 9th November Newsletter about the merger between Rod and Ben's Vegetable Box Scheme and and Linscombe Farms Local Organic Vegetables.
or Click Here to download the previous newsletter about the merger from 26th July 2011
Click here to download the newsletter from 28th September
Hope that you are having a relaxing Bank Holiday. We are amore than a bit relieved to see some sun after the deluge. I think that we have now very much got enough water in the fields to see us well into the autumn!
Sunshine is now very much needed to get our excellent crop of onions dried as well as getting a start on lifting the main crop potatoes - again, a very promising looking crop appears to be lurking under the ridges. After our move from Linscombe, however, we still haven't got anywhere to store them properly and remain reluctant to invest the £20,000 or so needed to build an insulated store - if we do the work ourselves - as long as sales remain as poor as they are. Along with the two local box schemes that we have told you about, another local economic casualty has been a large, potato oriented, coldstore near Exeter that I had been tempted to try this winter. One less decision for me to make.
Don't forget do your web order at www.linscombe.co.uk before the Tuesday 10.00am deadline. Sorry the reminder is a bit late again. We have been trying to play catch up with the work after the rain and whilst regular staff are away………
There still lots of great peppers, aubergines and tomatoes. Special offers on the aubergines and tomatoes.
Please do remember to return your Jute bags n the same way as the boxes. Many thanks.
Phil Helen, Boys and gang.
15 July 2011
Hard to believe that it is only just over a month since the heavens opened on our Open Day - the first "real rain" for about 8 weeks at the time. And now we are waiting for some more with a similar deluge forecast for tomorros (Saturday 16th) and this time we really do need it. Turning into a dry years - albeit the first one snce we moved here in 2006. We have seen seeps and springs stop, some a month or more ago, that have never stopped since we first saw them and, similarly, the higher ground water levels (the stuff that the crops can get hold of) have also dropped for the first time.
So bring it on.
We have chosen Sunday June 12th for our first
2pm - 4pm
Childrens' activities courtesy of Carol.
Walks and Talks.
Meet the vegetables.
This event has been timed to coincide with the national Open Farm Sunday. See http://www.leafuk.org/ofs/home.eb
Click here to download the full May Newsletter
Hurray!! The first bunching carrots and beetroot are ready! Probably the earliest we have ever managed.....
A burst of intense spring sunshine has mixed implications on the farm - great news for getting the coming seasons crops well under way - assuming some lovely rain showers upon occasion! However, the demise of last season's crops will be accelerated, and the "Hungry Gap" when local seasonal crops are at their minimal range will march upon us. Make the most of the exceptional sprouting broccoli whilst you can...
New - welcome to the beginning of our new local products range. Ben's Hen's Eggs are now available in this section, joined by Red Hill Farm's Natural Apple Juice.
Both producers are ones we have worked closely with over the years and have products which we consume ourselves. We are currently looking at other lines of local produce, so if there is anything in particular you would like to have available, please let us know, email@example.com
Exeter University are holding a Farmers' Market on 18th March 2011 as a part of Devon Week. See you there!
New second monthly Farmers' Market starting in Crediton next month: Friday 15th April
Download our full newsletter complete with photographs by clicking here
Download our full newsletter complete with photographs by clicking here
Download our full newsletter complete with photographs by clicking here
Thanks to the skill, planning and sheer hard work of The Boss (Helen - no question of which the weaker sex is on this farm) and her team, practically all of the produce has been picked and is safely in the packhouse.
Many of your orders are also packed and ready for delivery tomorrow - we are going to try to do all the deliveries tomorrow (including the usual Friday deliveries) to allow us an error margin (and a day to get ready for Christmas with our boys). Personally I am amazed as I wouldn't have put money on it a couple of weeks ago, even without the -12C on Saturday night and the 8 inches+ of snow on Sunday night.
The plan is to let you know when we leave with your order and again when we have delivered it. We have still not calculated the route so we with give an ETA with the first email and then confirm with the second.
We hope you all have a great Christmas and we look forward to seeing many of our customers (and friends) in the New Year.
All the best from Helen, Phil, Tom, David, James, Sam. And the team - Nick, Dave, Jarmina, Linda, Vilem and Martin. And Badger.
A very special mention also goes to Jan, without whome the new website would not have happened yet, and our team of expert web people at Thinkology (mostly Richard, Jo and Mike). Thankyou
We are now collating the orders that we have received from the several different methods available and sorting them into collection and delivery points. When we have done this we will try to plan a route and then let you all know when you are likely to see us. It looks as if we should escape any more serious snowfall before Thursday and , by this afternoon, most of the roads were looking a lot better than they even had been this morning. If we do have to use 4x4s for deliveries this will slow us down considerably as it will entail mutliple trips as opposed to the two trips usually made in the van. But we will get through.
Many of you have tried to make a web order and then charge it to your credit account. We did try to transfer all of this information to the new site but it proved impossible so apologies to those of you who tried and had to give up (often in frustration). When we get a bit of space in the New Year we will go through a reconciliation and either credit your new accounts on the web or return your credit to you. We have asked our web people if it is possible to continue with the current direct transfer arrangement: they are sceptical but will look into it. If it is not, it should be a matter of entering your payment details once (be it Paypal or a card) and then our Payment Provider's secure site will do it all for you. We will let you know before any change occurs - unless you want to change over to benefit from the increased choice and convenience, as many of you have already done.
A busy packhouse.....
Our first Christmas packing at Bidwell has certainly shown up some of the downsides of moving from Linscombe. Not only have we moved from the purpose built, insulated space that we had at Linscombe but it is less than 25% of the size. Still, it makes it feel busy. Despite being inside an old cob barn, the insulation is not a patch on the modern materials that protected your vegetables whilst we were at Linscombe; hence all the horticultural fleece and various materials covering the harvested crops in the photograph. And of course, whilst we were at Linscombe we never experienced a single frost of the intensity of most of the ones that we have had over the last few weeks. But we do like a challenge, and we do have better soil...
The challenges of the weather have been many and varied: even the dog was a bit nonplussed by the snow. After being disappointed by the non-arrival of the postman at his normal time (he has a "special" relationship with our postman does Badger) he soon perked up having discovered the acrobatics involved in catching snowballs in his mouth.
Although the snow helps to stop the crops freezing inside the polytunnels, this benefit is outweighed by the increase risk of the entire (expensive) structure collapsing onto the (irreplaceable) crops inside. The weight of 6-8 inches of snow on top of one of these metal framed marvels is utterly astonishing and Vilem spent a healthy morning with a long and large broom knocking the snow of 40,000sq ft of polytunnel the morning after our big snowfall.
We managed to get the crops picked, packed and out from a very snowy farm to attend the snowbound but very atmospheric Christmas market in Crediton.
Unfortunately attendance was disappointing, probably because of difficulties created by the very snow that made the the market so different in the first place. Can't win them all....
We did notice on the way home with our vegetables that another nearby business was doing a roaring trade, however. The runway sized carpark at Tescos was practically full.
And finally a photograph that is just pretty.
Finally the frost has yielded and the ground softened enough to allow your Christmas carrots to be harvested. There have been times in the last few weeks where we seriously doubted this would happen - -14C one night and -8C on many created a layer of frozen soil up to 50mm thick at times.
Even better the thaw happened on the weekend when the paid staff are all off, so the Elves did all the work for us ......
Linscombe Organic Vegetables is pleased to announce the arrival of its new on line shop and web site! The new shop enables new customers from all over the UK to join their local customers in having access to Linscombe's extensive range of high quality seasonal organic veg.
PLEASE BEAR WITH US WHILST WE GET THE WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING PROPERLY. Although it is now possible to order and pay in the way that we intended, a few people are still experiencing problems. The development team are looking into it.
There will also be the potential to set up a repeat order coming soon. We will let you all know when this happens.
The web site contains a wealth of information about the farm, about organic growing, about local food issues, and links through to other sources of information on these issues.
We are also very please to announce that we have been voted
Best Organic Product/ Trader of the Year
at the Devon Life Food and Drink Awards 2010.
A great honour this as we beat off some very good (and VERY large) competition to get this award: Devon has the highest number of registered organic producers of any county in the UK.
So some happy humble vegetable producers:
and an "exuberant" Boss.......
Just as well she got to pick the calabrese the next day in the wind and rain....