An abundance of strawberries this week and, perhaps, a huge affirmation of our new approach to farming.
For years, we farmed strawberries in the glasshouse aiming for the earliest crop we could achieve – this often worked and we had a modest crop of small, sweet and, above all early, berries. This year we decided to revert to older ways of growing the fruits – as row crops outside in untilled ground and growing on a bed of straw. The idea is that untilled ground with heavy straw mulch re-animates the soil food web and, importantly, encourages more mycorrhizal fungi to grow. The fungi deliver a wider range of nutrients, minerals etc to the plant roots and the resulting plants are stronger and bear sweeter fruit with more “complex” flavours.
We planted out last autumn, allowed the runner ducks to manage any slug issues with the straw and then left the fruits to mature in the Spring sunshine. The results are exceptional: a crop perhaps 3 or 4 times the volume of earlier years; the individual fruits larger, more succulent, even sweeter and far more fully flavoured.
So good is the crop that we have fresh strawberries for sale in the shop and as a Pavolva in the restaurant together with Strawberry Ice Cream and Strawberry Jam ready for your weekend’s croissants!
Those of you who read the last email will recall that we have fresh Saddleback pork available at the moment. Delicious both as Slow Roast Pork in the restaurant and, in anticipation, as bacon and ham, we will also have fresh Country and Fennel Sausages available in the shop or online from tomorrow.
Following a successful first Friday evening opening last week, we have decided to stay open on Friday evenings for the rest of the summer. We look forward to welcoming you to the farm again this week, whether you come to shop, to breakfast, to lunch or, on Friday or Saturday, for dinner.