Learning from the Past

Simone, our fantastic photographer, doing daily rounds on the farm snapped this lovely robin on our kale this week.

So much has changed in one generation.

I had the good fortune during the week to be brought on a trip back in time, back 80 years! A while back a very kind customer took the time to send me a paper clipping from 1939 featuring an article on seasonal vegetables.

Imagine food produced without artificial fertilisers, without toxic chemicals, not wrapped in plastic, produced locally. Our ancestors did not contribute to the mass of plastic pollution choking our planet. Plastic didn’t exist. My grand dad would have grown his own veggies, and if he didn’t grow it, he would have bought them in the local market or in a green grocer. Supermarkets didn’t exist back then. There was no such thing as Roundup the food was clean. Fresh produce was highly valued, it was not discounted, loss leading was not a thing.

Today we live in a world of, ‘everything and anything all the time’. It is amazing to have such choice, but there is a cost, a cost hidden behind the plastic: the chemicals, the exploitation of workers, the clearing of rainforests, the destruction of habitats, the pollution of our oceans. The list goes on. Supermarkets have played a massive part in this, but they are serving a need driven by us their customers.

Life seemed much simpler in my grandad’s day, life was certainly tougher, food was scarce at times, but the food was clean, healthy and did not leave a trail of pollution and destruction behind. We don’t need to return to a land of scarcity, but maybe a mindset change to see value in fresh food is required it is after all the building blocks that we put into our bodies every single day.

A particularly good quote that I enjoyed :

“The majority of people, unfortunately, are much too disinterested in their need for vegetables and salads to take serious steps to obtain the best value for money” “Fresh green or root vegetables….should be the staple part of every family dinner”

Being out in the rain and wind, harvesting leeks and pulling parsnips, is no fun, and it takes a certain calibre of person to persist with this work well into the winter. But this is seasonal food, this is the reality of local food production. The smell of freshly harvested parsnips, is quite frankly amazing, covered in muck they feel alive and real and you get the feeling that just by holding them in your hand you are doing something positive for the planet!

Producing good clean food, while respecting the ground beneath our feet that gives us so much deserves to be valued. Because if we don’t value and respect the earth, then there will not be much left for the next generation to enjoy. I think food production has such potential to change our lives, to change the way we eat, to change how we work, to change our world.

Here’s to learning from the past!

Kenneth

PS All our fixed boxes are plastic free and that includes our Christmas boxes * and have been since 2018!

*The Mossfield IRISH organic cheese in the bumper box is wrapped in a plastic film.

Waterlogged but Never Wavering

When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.

Oscar Wilde

I came out of my office last week, I had no inspiration, I didn’t have anything to write about, I definitely wasn’t in the right space and I was getting frustrated.

I decided to see what was going on out on the farm and I bumped into Emmanuel and shared my woes. Write about “Muck and rain, and mud, and clay and rain, and water because that about sums up the week just past” he said.

That was it, he had hit the nail on the head, it was wet.

Some places in the fields the water is a foot deep. The beds we planted on in the summer are submerged, the plants with waterlogged roots struggle to breath. It is ok for a few days but if there is prolonged water, then they die.

Walking up a sticky, muddy field with a bag of kale on your back must be one of the very best work outs you can get. If you have ever had a young child wrap themselves around your foot and not let you go, well that is what the field does.

I got the impression last week that even our poor tractor was not happy.

The ruts from the tractor wheeling’s are deep and although Joe (My seven year old son loves them, in fact he would actually disappear into some of them) it does not make for easy navigation when it comes to driving with a tonne of parsnips on the front of the tractor.

In the cold wet weather, you often find yourself with three or four layers of clothes on and waterproofs and wellies and sweating even though it is freezing and wet. This I think is one of my least favourite ways to pass the time.

But the sun is always there, we may not always be able to see it, but it is always up there over the clouds. It is only because of the clouds and the rain that you see the most beautiful skylines, the most stunning sunrises, and the most fantastic evening sunsets. These skyscapes are more striking at this time of the year that in high summer by a long way.

Then of course there is the food.

We are doing, I think, our bit for the planet. We are growing sustainable food on a scale that supports thousands of people each week. When I first wrote this, I thought it could not be true, but then I did the maths. If we do an average of 1500 deliveries per week and each household has an average of 3 people then that is 4500 people, that is a lot of mouths to feed, that is a large responsibility to do things right. That is a lot of trust put in us by you.

I shocked myself with that revelation, a far cry from the first 26 deliveries we did in May 2006.

So, we will get stuck in again on Monday, harvest more food, deal with the mud and the rain, do our bit for sustainable food, do our bit for climate change, because we have to.

Can you sustain a path such as this without being either clinically insane (and that could be the case) or having a belief in something bigger? For us I like to think it is the latter (but who is to say really). Our big “WHY” is the planet, nature, biodiversity, and every living creature we share this earth with deserving a chance. This is what drives us on. Have a look at our 5 Pledges for the Planet to see our promises as a business.

As always thanks for your support, it’s what keeps us going.

Kenneth

PS Don’t forget to place your order for next week here.