Tuesday, 15 December 2015

It's Christmas, Sprouts and Silly Hats down on the Farm


Sometimes we wonder how time passes so quickly down on the farm as we are once again in the midst of Christmas Tree Season and another year has zoomed by!

The weather has not been kind this December but we keep reminding ourselves that it is not as bad as the people of Cumbria are having it. The field is wet and boggy but it does not stop the families from coming down to choose a tree. It is lovely to see all the excitement on the children's faces and asking them what they would like Santa to bring sometimes throws up an unexpected response. My personal favorite this year being Strawberry Ice Cream! This is going to be a difficult one I think as that is all this particular little boy wanted, not in a tub mind you, it has to be in a cone! How Santa is going to manage to wrap that and keep it from melting heaven knows although I am sure he will find a way.

We have our usual Christmas veggies and some more unusual ones such as flowersprouts which are a cross between kale and sprouts. Why not try these for your sprout haters? They may be converted. Order forms are still in the shop although we do need them in by Friday 18 December 2015 so that we know how much we have to pick.

From 16 December we are open right though til Christmas Eve our opening times are:

Wednesday 16 December to Tuesday 22 December                10 am to 4pm daily.
Wednesday 23 December                                                          8.30am to 4pm
Christmas Eve                                                                            8.30am to 11.30am

We will then be closed until Wednesday 13 January 2016 so make sure you stock up with logs before then!

And Finally.... We would like to wish all our customers A Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Autumn on the farm

With all the murky weather that we have had lately, its hard to remember that at this time of year there is a riot of colour going on in and around the farm.

The plants are beginning to shed their leaves but many are going out in a blaze of glory. The vivid purples of this Cercidiphyllum Japonicum (also known as the Katsura Tree) is a beautiful plant and an absolute must if you have a large garden. But it's equally happy if kept it in a pot on the patio.

The Bellis are a close relative of the common daisy but always make me feel happy when I see their full heads nodding in the autumn sun.

Autumn fruits are in abundance on both these crab apples.  The yellow one is an upright tree and the red is a fantastic weeping variety. A low growing shrub finishes off the this little collection in the form of a variegated Skimmia, this one is called Magic Merlot and it is truly a bit of magic for the garden in the dark winter months that lie ahead.

Winter might be just around the corner but that doesn't mean that you have to forgo these little gardening pleasures!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye......

We've reached the end of an era down on the farm this week. After almost seven years with us (she must have had an itch!), Jeni has moved on to pastures new. We have moulded and shaped her and turned her into something new - or maybe not, it's impossible to do that with a Glaswegian! But we have had a very good working relationship with her and we are sorry to see her leave. We know our customers will miss her and Jeni would like to send her thanks for all her good wishes, cards and gifts that she has received over the last few days. It makes us all realise how special all our regular customers are and we are so grateful for their continued support. Jeni is leaving the farm to pursue her career of writing and photography and we wish her well.

With Jeni leaving, we have recruited a new member of staff - our Girl Friday (and Wednesday) is Lindsy. She is just learning the ropes, so please be kind, especially when we drop her in at the deep end! Her plant knowledge is not as extensive yet as Jeni's, but she is a quick learner and we are sure she will develop into a great asset for the farm and nursery.

Along with Lindsy will be a new member of the pack (if he behaves!) in the form of Fat Jack. He is Lindsy's dog, one of Meg's pups (so brother to Orion, Domino and Fitz!), and hopefully he will settle into life at work on the farm.

We look forward to seeing you down on the farm soon.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Autumn Days


As always we have been super busy down on the farm. Two of our poly tunnels have been having an Autumn refresh, so it's been all hands on deck getting the polythene back on!

The weather forecast is looking very good for this coming weekend so you may want to get in the garden and give it a little Autumnal colour. We now have a lovely range of violas, pansies and cyclamen in stock. Perfect for window boxes and patios too!

It may be warm and sunny during the day, but nights are definitely getting colder. We have bags of well seasoned, dry logs in the farm shop. £3.75 a bag, or 10 bags for £35.00.

We also have lots of lovely varieties of homegrown squash for sale, perfect for those warming bowls of soup, curries or stews. And the first of the parsnips have been lifted too. You can see a current list of what we are harvesting on the right hand side of this page.

We look forward to welcoming you down on the farm soon!

Friday, 21 August 2015

August on the farm

Hello! Apologies for the lack of updates, but Summer is a busy time for us with planting and harvesting. (And the never ending watering - even when it's been raining!). Hopefully we'll have a little more time to show you what we've been up to around the farm and in the nursery in the coming weeks and months!

Our farm is bursting with lots of lovely produce - cucumbers are growing happily in the poly tunnel and we have four different varieties for you to try in our farm shop. Our aubergines and chillies are coming along nicely too and this year we're also harvesting our own Okra (image 5). Not sure what to do with it? Well, it's perfect in curries, like this one or try it in some of these suggestions from the BBC food site.

We've also started picking these beautiful purple beans (image 2).  You won't find these in any supermarket, but we're selling them in the farm shop in small punnets. Perfect to add a little colour and flavour to your evening meal. Boil or steam them alongside some of our glorious new potatoes.

We are open Wednesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm (Saturdays open at 9.30am). You can see a full list of what we are currently harvesting on the right hand side of this page. We look forward to seeing you in the farm shop soon.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The story of the No Nos

Warm sunny days picking strawberries always transports me back to my childhood days. I was a kid in the seventies and grew up through some of the longest, hottest summers.

We were often out playing on the street with nothing more than a white fairy liquid bottle full of water to keep us occupied for hours (no super soakers for us!). However, we did often utter the words "I’m bored!" and in June that meant we would head on mass to the local strawberry fields.  I think Mum and Dad thought that it was a free lunch or in our case breakfast, lunch and dinner as we often went every other weekend through the season.

No matter how many signs the farmer placed around his field that the strawberries had been sprayed and needed washing before eating it did not deter us from devouring as many as possible. He could have said he had just spread manure and we would probably have just given them a wipe before popping them into our mouth! 

Most of the time we would get a few punnets unless it was a picking for ‘Jamming’ towards the end of the season. One such time was when we went along with our cousins and aunt and uncle. We had been there for a few hours and finally had our fill and had  picked enough for two families worth of strawberry jam for the year. We took the berries back to our aunt's house where all the strawberries were washed (had to be washed before jamming as we didn’t want chemicals in the jam!) and laid out all over the kitchen.  The adults then went to the club leaving all six kids to occupy ourselves. Well we played a while but eventually enough time had passed that the strawberries began calling from the kitchen. Our David and Michael, Maureen and my sisters Cheryl and Michelle and I went into the kitchen to inspect the strawberries. Michael said that we had better check them for quality and take out all the 'no nos' (these were the strawberries that would not be good enough to Jam). We spent the next hour or so performing vital quality control and removing all the no nos to our stomachs. Our parents returned to find about a 1lb of strawberries left. They were not very happy with us but being slightly tipsy found it quite amusing and from that day to this all of us refer to Strawberries as 'No Nos'!  

We are currently in the midst of 'No No' season and I have to say that this year they are pretty good.

We are also picking raspberries, goosegogs (Gooseberries) and redcurrants so do call in because there is nothing better than freshly picked sun ripened 'No Nos'.  

Words by Vicky Whiteley. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Summer on the farm

Wow! Hasn't it been a scorcher of a week? We're not complaining about it though! Lots of our own lovely homegrown produce has been picked in the sunshine for you to buy in our farm shop or from one of our forthcoming Farmers Markets.

This week we've been harvesting strawberries, cucumbers, spring cabbage, kale, radishes, new potatoes, chard, lettuce, redcurrants, basil, coriander and from today, one of the best fruits of summertime - raspberries!

We now have some new members on our team - the lovely Molly has joined us and always has a brilliant happy smile on her face, even after picking the strawberries for hours! Molly will be working throughout the summer holidays in the shop and on the farm. We've also taken on a new apprentice, Daniel. He'll be learning the tricks of the farming trade from Bryn. A big welcome to both of our new staff members and we hope they enjoy working with us.

Tomorrow Vicky and Heather will be at Horsforth Farmers Market and the farm shop will be open all weekend - Saturday 930am - 4pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Friday, 29 May 2015


As many of you know, Vicky is a keen beekeeper and produces some beautiful honey. You can read more of her adventures here. Usually at this time of year, her skills are called into action to go retrieve swarms that have invaded gardens and buildings - generally giving people a bit of a fright! Not to worry though, bees that are swarming are generally not interested in you and are stuffed full of food (like after you've had your Christmas dinner, you don't want to get involved in a fight!).

This week in the nursery we were hit by a swarm too, although not from our bees. Many thanks to all the customers in the nursery and the shop for remaining calm when we were engulfed by an enormous cloud of buzzing bees which appeared out of nowhere! Jeni captured some video of Vicky collecting them all after they had taken refuge in an Acer plant. You can check it out below:

Don't try this at home folks!

IMG 4031 from Jen Chillingsworth on Vimeo.

Friday, 8 May 2015

British Asparagus Season

Hello there! Did you know that it is currently British Asparagus Season? Running from the end of April till mid June (weather dependent obviously!), it's a chance to enjoy this crop at it's absolute peak. Picked fresh and grown locally, the flavour of asparagus doesn't get any better. We have been growing it now on the farm for several years and it's always makes us blissfully happy when we get to harvest those first spears of the season!

So what do you know about asparagus? How about a few facts:

* It takes three years before it yields any spears, and it all has to be cut by hand. (You can see Bryn cutting ours in the second top image).

* It is known to be an aphrodisiac!

* It's super healthy - packed full of vitamins A, B, C and folic acid. It's also full of fibre and virtually fat-free (unless of course, like us, you slather it in lots of butter!).

* It's also considered to be a natural remedy to relieve indigestion.

* It can make your wee smell funny! But not everyone suffers with this. This is because sulphur-containing amino acids in the asparagus break down during digestion. Different people form different amounts of these compounds after eating asparagus. So some smell it, others don't. 

Cooking wise, Vicky likes it for breakfast served with a freshly laid duck egg (also available from the farm shop). Jeni enjoys it for tea especially in a risotto with lemon, peas and parmesan. For some more recipe ideas take a look at some of the links at the bottom of this post.

We are currently harvesting our asparagus every morning and it's only for sale in the farm shop. It's a short season, so come visit us soon if you want to try some of Yorkshire's finest!

Asparagus and sorrel soup
Asparagus cream pasta
Asparagus and lemon risotto
New potato, asparagus and feta frittata
Roasted asparagus with hazlenut dressing
Asparagus and bacon linguine
Chicken breast with cherry tomatoes and asparagus

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Blue skies and blossom

Hello! Sorry we haven't been able to update the blog recently. At this time of year we are so busy planting, sowing seeds and working on the nursery that the days are just whizzing by! But we have some beautiful shrubs, fruit trees, climbers, alpines and perennials in the nursery all bursting into flower and they were just screaming out to have their picture taken!

We now have a large selection of bedding plants available, in packs and individual pots. Perfect for summer baskets. And don't forget we have vegetable plug plants, tomato plants, fruit bushes, strawberry plants and seeds for all the grow your own fans. Plenty of well rotted manure, compost and topsoil available too.

We are now open Mondays and Tuesdays for the Spring season, 10am - 4pm, so do pop down and find the perfect plant for your garden.

Hope to see you in the farm shop and nursery soon.