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

Swarm!




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.