News from the farm gate – October 2017

I’m very pleased to report that we have safely gathered in the harvest despite all the wet and windy weather we have been having. It has been very frustrating for the farming community with having such a wet and mild August. The sun needs to shine and the fields must be dry so the combine can work its magic and cut the wheat and barley. Once there is a light drizzle or shower it is pretty much game over for the day as the wet crop becomes tangled up around the machinery and everything gets bunged up.

In the polytunnel, I have enjoyed harvesting an abundance of tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and varieties. I’ve made most into soup, chutney and sauce which I have frozen to enjoy during the winter months. I’m still waiting for the chillies to ripen and then I can preserve them too. The pumpkins in the garden have gone mad and are already bright orange and blooming nicely. I was hoping to sell some at the farm gate for Halloween but they may have peaked before then – we shall have to wait and see!

The yard long beans I have been carefully nurturing in the polytunnel haven’t come to anything. I had some treated seed from when we visited Thailand and thought I would have a go at growing something a bit exotic. It was easy to get the seeds to germinate, but sadly the mediocre summer temperatures meant that they didn’t fare well and have only got to a flowering stage now. I’m not holding out much hope that I will get any beans as the plants looks a little sick. Maybe next year I will have better luck.

There is more new life on the farm. One of our cats has had kittens. It took us by surprise as we were hoping to get her neutered but we didn’t catch her in time. The cat has 4 little fluffy bundles following her around at the moment. 3 are ginger and white, 1 is a tortoiseshell colour. It wasn’t until we stumbled across the kittens in an old water trough filled with straw that we realised that we had a few more mouths to feed. Now the challenge is on to catch them all and try and tame them a bit. Hopefully we can find new homes for them in the coming months. If not then we will have plenty of mouse catchers here at Orchard Farm.

House renovation work is well underway with a new kitchen nearly in situ. It has been a couple of months in the making and we are really pleased with the results. It is the room in the house we spend the most amount of time in during the day so it is important to get it right. We even treated ourselves to a new cooker which was a big investment but well worth it.

In other really exciting news, I wanted to share with you all that Andrew and I are expecting a baby, due at the beginning of November. I have really enjoyed my pregnancy although I’m starting to get quite tired now as I blossom in my final few weeks. We are starting to gear up for the new arrival with a nursery and all that bits and pieces that you need to care for a baby. We also attended some antenatal classes which were really good fun, lots of laughter and jokes, and of course the farming innuendos that surround bringing new life into the world! We are both really excited and so hopefully when I write my next column I will be able to show a few pictures of the baby at home – fingers crossed!

Finally, I wanted to mention that Love British Food Fortnight is just around the corner from 23 September to 8th October. Love British Food is the leading national campaign for the promotion of British Food. Whilst a year-round source of advice, for two weeks around harvest time, the campaign puts its efforts into various events around the country from food festivals to harvest celebrations. It’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved. Whether you decide to hold an event in your community or go along to one that has already been organised, it really is a fantastic opportunity to support the producers that tirelessly work hard to put good, nutritious food on our table. For more information visit

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