Icy wind and rain did not stop us planting the first of our new apple trees at our Gosling Sike orchard in Houghton yesterday. On a layout more like a traditional orchard than the modern post and wire system we have there already, we planted more Discovery, Rajka, Topaz and Keswick Codling all on M106 rootstocks. This is our latest investment in home grown organic produce which we hope will begin to bear fruit in two or three years time. The following paragraph also displays our planet-saving credentials and we feel it's so important we're not deleting it for a little while yet.
Big New Project: As we enter our fifteenth year of organic growing at Low Luckens we thought we would give you a preview of our exciting plans for the future. After years of renting one field, our move to Low Luckens in 2015 has greatly increased the land we can now use to grow organic fruit and vegetables. Having extended the polytunnel area, our new challenge is to convert a big field into an organic orchard with a difference. Our aim is not just to grow apples for juicing but to do so in a highly diverse ecosystem of useful trees, shrubs, perennials and annual crops using techniques that set out to care for wildlife (while deterring the pests!). The system we have developed over the years is not just organic, it's not just carbon neutral, it is carbon negative. It sets out to tackle climate change by careful crop management and use of composts, mulches and green manures which help to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and lock carbon into the soil.
The first task is to get to grips with the field's dense infestation of rushes - in itself an indication of how our climate is changing - it's a lot wetter around here than it used to be. We hope to have the field (or a part of it at least) in a fit state for first planting by the spring of 2019.
We're giving our greens a rest!: We have a new supply of winter vegetables direct from an organic farm in Scotland as well as all our usual supplies from down south. However, our own produce needs to rest for a month or two. So you might find your favourites are off the menu for now. Our polytunnels help a lot with difficult Cumbrian growing conditions but light levels all last autumn were unusually low and so a lot of our crops were smaller than normal going into the winter.
Also: we have organic Seville oranges from Ave Maria farm at £3.10 per kg. Apple juice production is in full swing and we now have lots available every week. Why not place a regular order: 750 ml bottle for £3.30. Red Topaz, Rajka and Herefordshire Russet apples are still available. Bonus Apples to add to your regular box (fruit or veg) are £2 per kg. English and Scottish winter vegetables available now are: leeks, swedes, parsnips, celeriac, beetroot, red onions, white onions, various squashes, red cabbages, white cabbages and green cabbages.
Bonus offers to add to your regular order
BONUS APPLES: £2 per kg
GENERAL BONUS BAG: Choose any item we supply (fruit or veg) and as long as supplies allow, we’ll bring you a bag of it weighing more than you would normally get for the price. £2 a bag. As long as we have the produce, you can have as many General Bonus Bags as you like.