Trevaskis Farm
Trevaskis Farm
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David Cameron drops in for a visit...
Edition 13 - 27-06-08

Firstly, apologies for my promised mail 'next week' in our last newsletter. The truth is it feels like we have been hit by a steam roller since the opening of our new Farm Market. We thought the build project was hard but it has proved a walk in the park against trying to keep up with the demand for our new offer. However, that is surely good news, as we aim to keep this a competitive alternative to the supermarket shop whilst supporting all things local, more on this later.

And then with word of a rather special visitor dropping in, to endorse The Market and our extensive education programme, saw us cleaning and preening like never before. Also, as promised, here is a more detailed update of where we are in the season, what's new and tasty and what's coming soon...

 
Real politics this far west...?
So we thought it time to achieve a little more recognition for the masses of work that Hannah and the farm puts into our local education system. And who could be better to see the results of what one small programme can achieve in the understanding of healthy eating and food source than, I think what many will agree, is the most likely person to have influence and control over these issues in the not too distant future; The Rt Hon David Cameron MP  

In our usual style, this was not all plain sailing! We had 2 school tours that day and an expected arrival of our guest at 2.15pm, that was until unexpected events caused some delay, leaving us faced with a situation where a party of Year 6 children from St Johns school had to swiftly arrange a late return home or the alternative of not meeting with this 'important man off the telly!'. This was thankfully over come with ease thanks to the great work of their teacher and some understanding parents, and after a short wait, Mr Cameron arrived. A brief meet and a short anecdote from David about his delay not assisted by George Bush's pre plane taking over the runway, to deliver his limo and associated paraphernalia prior to his visit to the U.K. Then we were off down to our Organic Kitchen Garden demonstration area, to catch up with Hannah who was mid school tour with St Johns. As we walked it became all too obvious that David was a keen gardener as he and my father traded advice and compared the stages of their crops. Then into the kitchen garden where I admired his approach with the children. After a little bit of quizzing by David on the fruits that were around them, our Year 6's got over their initial stunned silence and were soon thrusting hands into the air, bidding for his attention. After a while longer in the kitchen garden with some media interviews and further discussions with David on the ethos, aims and achievements of our farm we headed back to the new market, in which he met with many staff and customers alike and took great interest in their comments. Finally, his visit concluded with a worthy meeting arranged by John Woodward, the local conservative candidate, to discuss the plans for a new community and sports centre for Hayle town, which I understand met with great support from Mr Cameron and a bit of bemusement that a town with such a population has no such facilities already, which I think shows in itself how important a visit this far west can be, in gaining an insight and understanding, no matter how brief.

It was a great privilege for someone of this stature to visit the farm and upon departing with the customary basket of strawberries our staff were in high spirits, as you can see, from the rare chance of this meeting.

 

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The summer crops come rolling in...
Here we are again at this lovely time of year, when all of our hard work starts to come to fruition. The weather has been good for the crops and as usual the weeds. We have a bigger team than ever before trying to battle with this but also trying to keep up with the new found demand from the launch of the market, which has created employment for a further 12 staff topping the employment number of the farm to over 60 people. 

So what's fresh and new ? Well, we have just started our tomato crop, real soil grown tomatoes, the way they used to be, with a range from 'sungold' cherries, plum and traditional loose salad tomato with our 'brandy wine' beef tomatoes coming soon. We have also started our own cucumbers, lovely irregular shaped soil grown cues, great for practicing cutting around corners! Broad beans are ready to pick, along with our shelling peas, mange tout and sugar snaps and with all of these there are more crops staged to follow giving us weeks of picking to come. Our courgette, including the yellow courgette has started, and our very first early runner beans, although only available picked in the market and in short supply you may be the lucky ones to get them if early. Our great potato crop is in full flow with a range of varieties including the old fashioned Sharps Express and the popular Charlotte. Bunched carrots are flying out along with our baby bunched beetroot, bunched spinach (the old fashioned way) and bunched french breakfast radish are also great at the moment. This year sees the first harvest of our globe artichokes, so if you are up for the effort of preparation, these are a must from our organic kitchen garden. To keep the list rolling we have our new season swedes, primo cabbage, sweetheart cabbage, bunched golden ball turnips, a range of lettuce, kohl rabi from the kitchen garden, fennel, sorrel leaf and although local calabrese for now, our own is just a week away.

When it comes to fruit we are getting well under way, we have seen a bumper crop of strawberries and have also been picking quite a lot of early raspberry however both of these fruits are going to be in a little short supply for the next 2-3 weeks with more strawberry crops staged to start picking in 4 weeks and our outdoor raspberries starting next week. Gooseberries however are plentiful and should be available to pick for a few weeks to come. Blackcurrants are just getting started, with the redcurrants a few weeks away. Our loganberries, tayberries and tummelberries are also just starting.Our new planting of cherries and plums are looking good too, but no fruit this year I am afraid. We have been busy this last week planting our late summer crops which include celery, celeriac, kohl rabi,along with all the usual offerings and then over the coming few weeks all the winter varieties will be going in the ground, including the sprouts for Christmas!

It is always hard to plan everything correctly when it comes to new projects and I have to tell you that we have been struggling to keep up with demand for our crops in the new market. We have adjusted immediately to try and rectify this by planting much higher volumes but, as I am sure you will appreciate, with growing, this naturally has a delayed result. For now we are utilising, and talking with, many local growers and discussing ways in which they may be able to become a part of the project as partners in growing. We already have some good projects of this nature running, where we are managing to pay the grower a true premium for growing crops or rearing animals in the way we like, whilst still making this affordable to our customers. However, for now, finding good English produce on the market seems to be my daily battle as so much is always the tasteless Dutch substitute, yet I am pleased to say it is a battle that I am winning,well most of the time!

 
 
Food and farming with Treloweth school...
Last week Trevaskis enjoyed a week of work with Treloweth school. Each day, two classes visited the farm for a tour and treasure hunt, while Jeremy, our education chef, went into Treloweth school and worked with up to four different groups of children each day.

The visit formed part of an excellent 'Food and Farming' week, organised by Sarah Uren, one of Treloweth's Year 2 teachers; the week also included visits to local pack houses, dance classes and healthy eating work shops with Richard Lander school.

The week was a great success, with excellent feedback from Jeremy's cookery groups, who made pasties, biscuits, pavlovas and enjoyed using the freshest Trevaskis-grown ingredients that they had seen growing in the field just days earlier.

The great thing about an extended project such as this is that the children get to totally immerse themselves in one subject- to understand it's many aspects and achieve a much fuller knowledge, rather than just dipping into a subject without experiencing its wider context.

The students working with Trevaskis were able to see an entire process - from seed to being planted and germinated, the pollination of plants to the harvesting of fruit and vegetables and to compare how crops grow both outdoors and in the polytunnels, and finally to see how these could be used in traditional Cornish dishes.

The children were a pleasure to work with, and we thank Treloweth school for their warm welcome and for involving us in this project.

Also a massive thanks to Jeremy, Emma, Jenna and the team at Trevaskis who coped brilliantly with a challenging but very rewarding week.

 

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We look forward to seeing you all soon - Thank you!
Giles & the Trevaskis team