Author Archives: Richard Pitt

Christmas Trees 2021

We are very excited to announce that this year we are stocking top quality Nordmann Firs grown by Woodman Trees, just north of Winchester.

You can get a quality tree from us at a reasonable price:
4ft – £20
5ft – £25
6ft – £35
7ft – £45

And how about this – when you’ve finished with your tree you can bring it back to us and we will shred it and use it as mulch for our paths!!

These are Nordmann Firs – they draw in water and retain their needles for a longer period compared to the traditional Norway Spruce and other types of Fir.

We had a very interesting time learning about how they are grown when we went to meet the team at Woodmancott. It is a stunning location on the downs north of Winchester.

There are half a million trees there.

The trees are planted out when they are 3 years old and grow on for another 6 years before being harvested.

There is so much care each year to ensure they form a traditional shape.

Taking in the trees!

Care of your Tree

Cut trees are no different to cut flowers and they will dry out if they cannot draw up moisture. For best results, cut half an inch off the stem and use a water-filled Christmas tree stand.

Wreath-Making 2021

Come and join us for a 2 hour workshop with local artist Hannah Brown to create your own beautiful festive wreath to take home.

We are really excited to be running this workshop with Hannah. It’s been a while since the last one and we are very much looking forward to getting creative again.

We will be using our new all-weather space – the outdoor kitchen. There is a 2 hour workshop in the morning and another in the afternoon. In between sessions we will serve a tasty lunch devised and prepared by Louiza Hamidi and friends.

Get your tickets here on eventbrite!

AMAZING response – THANK YOU

Dear Friends,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you everyone for the overwhelming generosity expressed to the farm in our appeal for funds towards our salaries budget.

My wife is approaching early retirement as a nurse, and wants to spend more time with grandchildren and also to help on the farm. So I can no longer afford to volunteer as much as I have been and the trustees plan to increase my paid time to 4 days per week. 

We needed to raise £3858 to cover the first six months of this increase. The details are in this video:

The salary appeal was launched because were offered £1,000 of matched funding. 

I was blown away by the way it took less than 24 hours to reach the £1,000 target. I was so uplifted and encouraged by this.

This is where things currently stand:

  • We have £2,120 of pledges through the Give As You Live page
  • There will be £412.50 of Gift Aid added to this. 
  • The matched funding is £1,000.
  • There will be £250 of Gift Aid added to the matched funding
  • In addition there are new monthly donations totalling £115 per month. 

We’ve done it! 

We have reached our target for the first 6 months AND can begin saving towards the following months!!!

I am so encouraged by this generosity, and by the wide circle of family and friends who have supported me. It is also amazing to think of the numbers of people I don’t know personally who have a connection with the farm and have supported us. 

To everyone who has helped – THANK YOU. Let’s celebrate what we can do together. If you haven’t given yet but want to, we are not quite at the end of September and there is still time to make a donation.

Thank you all.

I hope to see you at the farm some time soon. We are in the midst of the best harvest season we have ever known on the farm. 

Yours

Richard

(Richard Pitt, Farm Manager)

This is me on our Outdoor Kitchen build.

Harvest Festival 2021

Save the date – Saturday 9th October – Harvest Festival.

The farm and the shop are open as normal from 9am, and the food starts at 1pm.

We will be pressing apples from 10am – bring your own to press and make some apple juice. If you can donate apples for us to press that would be great too. Thanks.

This year we will have soup at £2 and sides at £3, all made from our own ingredients.

We will be using our outdoor kitchen – it’s not finished yet, but we are progressing well.

Saturday Shop Assistant

22 August 2020

We are delighted to announce that we have employed a new Saturday shop Assistant. Visitors on Saturdays will now be served by the newest member of our team, Megan Pardey.

Congratulations Megan, we are sure you will have fun and be a great asset to our community.

Refill Detergents

We do a great range of refill detergents, supplied by Miniml and SESI.

They are wonderfully ethical – not tested on animals, vegan, biodegradable, fair wages for everyone in the supply chain, no single-use plastic – all the containers are washed and re-used.

Here is our stock list:

Product £ per litre (or kg)
Washing up liquid (apple orchard)  £ 2.20
Non-bio laundry liquid (fresh linen)  £ 3.00
Fabric Conditioner (tropical coconut)  £ 2.10
Dishwasher powder (£ per kg)  £ 4.00
Dishwasher rinse aid  £ 3.50
All purpose surface cleaner (lavender & rosemary)  £ 2.80
Toilet cleaner (spearmint & peppermint)  £ 2.50
White vinegar for cleaning  £ 1.20
Sodium bicarbonate (£ per kg) £ 1.80
Hand sanitiser £16.00
Hand soap (clementine)  £ 4.50
Hand soap (English rose) £ 6.00
Hair Shampoo (lavender, rosemary & spearmint)  £ 6.00
Hair Conditioner (lavender, rosemary & spearmint)  £ 6.00
Bubble bath / Body wash (pink grapefruit & aloe vera)  £ 4.00

Weed – Pick – Wash

We have a garden volunteering opportunity on Tuesdays.

Tuesday is our day for picking and washing veg for the shop, ready for Wednesday. We weed/prune/pick and then wash the veg. It’s how we stay on top of the weeding, doing it at the same time as picking for the shop.

Our leafy greens get a bit muddy when it rains so we always wash them and do a second check on the quality of what we are putting in the shop.

We do this from 0900 to 1300 on Tuesdays. If you would like to help, you need to book in advance.

Please call and leave a message on 023 8218 2716 to book a space.

Christmas Singing 2019

We had a great time singing festive songs round the bonfire on Friday 20 December 2019 with our friends from Living Lordswood Community Choir.

This event has become our annual tradition with Living Lordswood Community Choir. We had been very nervous about all the rain that had been going on during the week, but we had a great evening for it – you could even look up and see some stars!!

After starting with hot drinks and cakes (that people had brought with them), we gathered round the fire and Living Lordswood lead the singing.

At 7.45pm the choir went off to do more singing around the local houses. Some of us stayed by the fire for a bit. A lovely way to celebrate the end of the year and all we have done on the farm together.

Same again next year???

Tomatoes

This is the low down on the tomato varieties we are growing this year. And we have a limited number available for ‘grow your own’.

[red] Stupice: This fantastic 1954 variety from Eastern Europe is an early vine tomatoes. Has been known to give a great crop simply in large pots on the patio. The plants are vigorous and produce red fruit with an excellent flavour. Ideal for outdoors, but also good in a greenhouse for early crops. Larger than a cherry tomato, but not as big as a beefsteak type, the fruit are about two inches across and ideal for salad use.

[red] Ruby : Beautiful red tomato from Bulgaria, early, very productive and tasty. The vines don’t grow very tall (so good at the shorter edge of a greenhouse) but make a good crop of really nice rounded red tomatoes for a long season.

[red] Gardener’s Delight: – possibly the most widely grown tomato variety as far as the amateur gardener is concerned. It is easy to grow. Not only does it tolerate a wide variety of soil and weather conditions but it regularly produces a heavy crop. It also has great taste and texture.

[red] Chadwick Cherry: Mid-sized, sweet, firm, bright red cherry with great flavour and high yield. The plants make long trusses with large numbers of really attractive, bright red tomatoes that are right at the top end of the size range for a cherry type. Bred by eccentric and visionary horticultural genius Alan Chadwick, who in 1967, and at the age of 58, gave up being a Shakespearian actor in South Africa and instead joined the University of Santa Cruz in California – to create and run their new on-site Farm & Garden project, run on egalitarian biodynamic principles. And as well as in inspiring a whole generation of market gardeners, he created this wonderful cherry tomato. .

[brown] Chocolate Cherry: A very sweet cherry tomato, with lots of purple-brown fruit about 1 inch across. You should get about 6 to 8 fruit per truss, and they keep well after picking. As well as the unusual colour, we think that this is an especially tasty variety, nicely sweet and fruity with a good balance of acid.

[yellow] Galina: A hugely productive cherry from Siberia – very sweet flavour balanced by good acidity. The bright yellow cherry fruit are in neat bunches, and don’t fall off when ripe, which makes picking easier. It is early to get going (not surprising given where it comes from!), but just as importantly, it fruits over a long period. Grow as a vine but let a couple of shoots develop for highest production.

[white] White Cherry: The best tasting and best performing ‘white’ strain of tomato that is available – sweet & fruity, with a real tomato flavour. The fruits ripen to a very pale yellow, almost pure white. The amount of exposure to the sun effects the amount of yellow. If there is good leaf cover, then you can get almost snow white fruits. Good for taste, productivity and looks.

[orange] Tangerine: A brilliant orange, with a great balance of sweet and acid, and is quite large for a cherry tomato – about one and a half inches across. The vines grow to a decent height and produce lots of fruit over a really long season.

Cucumbers

The cucumbers we are growing this year are all easy to grow heritage varieties and they are much easier and less fussy than the hybrids. You don’t need to pick the male flowers off, and they don’t go bitter if you grow several types. All you do is plant them and look after them. And then you can save seeds from them to grow next year.

They can grow indoor or out, along the ground, or trained up netting to save space.

 

Wautoma: a cucumber developed by the University of Wisconsin in the 1980’s. It can either be used small for pickles or left to grow for use as a slicing cucumber. The plants set many lightly striped dark green fruit , with tiny white spines that come off easily. Quick to set fruit, bitter-free, high-yielding and has a reputation for resisting cucumber diseases.

Chengelkoy: A delicious traditional salad cucumber originating in Turkey that grows well in the UK. It has a smooth, tender, thin green skin with no bitterness and is very prolific.

Boothby’s Blond: It makes sweet crisp fruit, best taken when about 4 inches long, and comes from a region in Maine, US, with cold springs and a short growing season, so it is well adapted to setting fruit pretty quickly. The fruit ripen to an amazing bright yellow colour while still being good to eat. Really good flavour eat them for snacks like a piece of fruit – they are the perfect size to slip into a lunchbox for a refreshing snack.

Poona Kheera: An unusual cucumber from India. It starts out a very bright lime green, but as it gets bigger, it turns an amazing orange colour. It is very, very crisp and crunchy – even for a cucumber. It is good eating at all stages.