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News From The Farm: July 2018

I used to enjoy hot weather and snow a lot more before I started working at The Farm. I now scan the forecast with nervous trepidation when we have bouts of extreme weather.

The Beast from the East had a dramatic impact on both us and the wider network of farms we work with. Whilst the short term impact of logistics were mitigated by the wonderful attitude of our workforce, who ensured our boxes were packed and sent out in good time, the longer term implications were an extension to the British 'hungry gap’ (the in-between season period where UK produce is at its lowest). Normally we’d have had new potatoes, early season onions and a greater variety of greens by May. However, the snowy conditions, followed by the heavy rain, delayed the ploughing and then the preparation of the fields for planting. The knock-on effect has been we have had to rely on imported produce and stored winter crops for a longer period than normal. Many early UK crops were affected by the weather, the outcome of which is July and August will be abundant months whilst May and June were thin on the ground.

What followed was a period of good weather; almost perfect growing conditions (for about three weeks). And then it got hot. And dry. And hotter and dryer! The long period of drought has begun to affect many producers we work with. Many farms in the West Country do not have the irrigation infrastructure to cope with prolonged drought, and struggle to keep thirsty plants well fed. Lettuce is rotting from within. The sun is scorching greens and they’re wilting fast once picked. It’s even too hot for strawberries... I never thought I’d say this in the middle of summer, but if we get some consistent rain in the next couple of weeks it’ll put a smile on my face!

I believe this year has highlighted how small-scale, agro-ecological farming can help cope with difficult growing conditions and adverse weather. Small farms are simply better equipped to deal with drought and also put less stress on water resources. Shorter supply chains ensure food arrives on your table quicker without the need for over-packaging and processing. During the Beast from the East, supermarkets created panic about bread and milk shortages as they tend to rely on one or two big farms and producers to supply at a national level. In contrast, small supply chains in independent businesses coped, as they provide for local communities, ensuring their supply can continue with minimal disruption. Food chains and systems, similar to what we are creating at The Community Farm, have shown their resilience and virtue; feeding people sufficiently whilst looking after the producers we work with.

Despite these difficult conditions, I often find myself admiring the flexibility of The Farm and our network of growers. Time and time again, it feels that local food systems are the way forward.

Ped Asgarian
Managing Director

July and August Events

Moth Monitoring – 21 July – Discover and identify some of the wonderful moths that live on The Farm.

Tennis & Farm Fun Days – July and August – Active and engaging days for your 4-10 year olds this summer.

Valley Fest – 3-4 August – The Community Farm is offering pickling workshops, seed-saving sessions, forest school, farm tours, wildlife walks and more at this fun family event. Book tickets at valleyfest.co.uk/
Summer Foraging Walk – 11 August – Explore the summer hedgerows and wilder areas of The Farm. Forage your own tasty leaves, learning what’s good to eat right now.

Scything Workshop – 25 August – Learn how to scythe, pitchfork and rake effectively.

Do we deliver to you?

We deliver to Bristol, Bath, Chew Valley, Weston-Super-Mare, Frome and plenty of places in-between!