We are already a month into the new year. Moving into February and a changing climate, both environmentally and politically, only time will tell what it brings. The unknown future of Britain as we leave the familiarity and security of being part of Europe, leaves us all apprehensive of what is to come. But the biggest issue of our time is not Brexit, but protecting the planet for the future of the whole living world. All we can do is our little bit to make the world a better place.
At Ash & Elm market garden we continue another year of farming agro-ecologically; regenerative growing that nurtures nature and promotes diverse systems to increase wildlife, feeds the soil to produce nutrient rich food and grow plenty of flowers to feed insects and your heart.
New for this year we are pushing our direct sales with more veg bags. Producing bags for Llani folk as always, but now expanding to be part of the Veg2Table vegbag scheme in Newtown (part of Cultivate co-op). Along with sales in Machynlleth @ Fresh & Local market stall on Wednesdays and hoping to join the Green Isle Growers veg bag co-op. During last year all the florists in Llanidloes finished trading, leaving me with lots of flowers and no local outlets. However during 2019 Grace of Tymhorau has been buying lots of flowers from me for her local flower business in Machynlleth. This year i will continue to supply flowers to Mach, whilst expanding my direct sales to LLani folk. I have launched our cut flower subscription, offering locals a regular bouquet, made especially for them.
In Autumn we had a fabulous nut harvest. Dave collected bags & bags of hazel nuts from our cob nut hedge and native hedge rows. We have found that there is only a market for nuts on the month running up to Christmas. Which leaves us with the unsold nuts for our own protein supplies for the year.
Dave has been busy shelling the nuts every evening for weeks now (a very slow job) and we have been experimenting with different Nutella recipes. After all the shelling, we then soaked the nuts to re-hydrate them, and watch them double in size. Then blanch them and remove the brown skins, that can taste a bit bitter on mass.
Finally after hours of nut preparation we got 6 small jars of Chocolate spread. Don’t think it will be a new product for our sales range, working out at £12 a 200g jar, when we cost in the time . But it sure tastes good.
So the new year has begun and so has this years crop planning and planting. We have a new polytunnel going up, just waiting for sunny weather to put the skin on. Another new glasshouse for propagating seedlings. Along with the ongoing repairs and upkeep of all our old machinery and buildings.
Our son Joe the baker, has been expanding his knowledge on a peasant bakers course, at Torth y Tir, St Davids with Nicolas Supiot from Britany. Following the whole process from grain, milling and finally sour dough baking. Bringing back to us a large sack of heritage wheat to grow. So watch this space to see how that progresses.
Our aim this year is to have less short term wwoofers, favouring longer term. Encouraging local volunteers and trainees to get involved in out CSA veg growing. We have regular volunteer days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when all are welcome to come and learn new skills and be part of a growing community of like minded people.
This year our field open day is on Sunday 17th May. Bring a picnic and spend sometime enjoying the countryside.
We are at the field every Tuesdays and Thursday.