As we have completed our final deliveries of the year, rather than look back on an unprecedented 12 months and some extreme weather, I thought I would look forward to the new year in my final newsletter of 2020.
In January, Dad, Stuart and I will sit down to plan our forthcoming growing season. In recent years this programme of planting dates, varieties and quantities of plants and seeds has only needed refining. For 2021 it will need some greater tweaking. Our online orders and weekly vegetable box scheme customers have nearly doubled since February. It is wonderful to be able to supply more people with local organic vegetables and new customers are enjoying the seasonal vegetable journey.
The immediate effects of this increased popularity of our vegetable boxes is that we have created two jobs for local people, as well as continuing to secure the environmental benefits of organic farming on our farm. The downside of this situation is that at present we are no longer attending farmers’ markets. It has been, and continues to be, a turbulent journey with the restaurants, pubs and community food buying groups that we supply, both in Essex and London. Consequently, we need to make changes to our planting programme so that we can offer better continuity of supplies in our vegetable boxes.
Winter Solstice has now passed and gradually the days will draw out. Our final winter jobs on the farm will be to plant a new native hedgerow and Stuart will build a machinery shed so we can keep our field implements out of the rain. We will be planting more broad beans in February and by then the first spring bulbs will be nudging through the ground.