George, Florence & Veganuary

It’s been a wet, windy and cold start to the year, the water levels in the fields are high. We have been lucky enough to have harvested enough of our key root crops like parsnips before Christmas so we do not have to go out into the muck for them in the last couple of days. It would have proved difficult.

The crops are looking pretty good all things considered, we have some amazing new produce coming in from the fields next week. The purple sprouting broccoli has been flourishing over Christmas and we intend to harvest quite a bit of that for next week. We also have the first new mixed salad, it seems crazy to think it is ready but it is. We will harvest this from our own tunnels starting next week too.

It is difficult to manage all the produce around this time of year especially as we shut down for a week and everybody gets a well-deserved break and we do end up with some waste veggies despite our best efforts. Today it was my job to traverse the muddy fields with a bucket of waste veggies to feed our two rescue pigs, they were waiting and snorting and they always seem very excited about the prospect of food. George and Florence seem content, they don’t like the cold, but they do like their bellies to be scratched, they like roaming in the trees and rolling in their straw bed that they keep meticulously clean, they do not like the rain. Florence is very adventurous and constantly breaks out in search of what, I am not so sure. But I think conversation with George seems not to be up to scratch and she goes in search of more stimulating company!

Pigs are the ultimate food recyclers, but the myth that they will eat anything is far from true. I have learned that like our children, they tend to keep away from broccoli and kale! This I guess is fortuitous as whenever Florence breaks out, she wanders through fields of kale and never touches a bit! They definitely have their own little personalities, and they like to have the freedom to roam and to have access to decent straw bedding. As regards Florence and George they will grow old together on our farm provided of course George’s level of conversation improves!

But whether you eat meat or not, I think there seems to be some consensus that the factory farming of animals is wrong, it does produce cheap meat, but I wonder at what real cost to us as a society and to our health? I have found it interesting that my dad who has been a staunch meat eater all his life, has now changed his diet to mainly vegetables, not on ethical grounds but because he felt it was better in general for his health. He still eats meat, that is his decision and I certainly respect that.

Veganuary can cause all sorts of heated discussion, but I guess it is a personal choice, it is up to each individual whether we choose to eat meat or not, or choose to reduce the amount of meat we eat or not. But one thing that we all know for sure is that eating more fruit and vegetables can only do us good. With that in mind I look forward to next week to our own freshly harvested mixed salad and some gently stir fried purple sprouting broccoli with a dash of sesame oil.

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