With the 2015 asparagus season now behind us we can all draw a sigh of relief! It didn’t quite turn out to be the bumper year that the “experts” were predicting; however yields & overall quality were still up on last year; furthermore we had a good end to the season with some lovely warm days & big picks. We think the slightly cooler growing season this year definitely helped to accentuate that delicious flavour, so distinctive of British Asparagus. Since finishing the harvest, we have irrigated the asparagus fern to help promote crown strength for next year.
Our annual “Asparagus Pickers BBQ” (a thank you to everyone involved in the asparagus harvest) was a really enjoyable evening. Held at our reservoir we had three boats, numerous golf clubs & balls & more dogs, as well as hot dogs, than we care to mention! Luckily no one got a dunking, although there were a few sore heads the next day.
It is a fairly quiet time of year for the livestock on the farm. With the cattle & sheep all out at grass it’s a case of checking on everything daily & keeping an eye out for fly strike on the sheep. Sheep shearing went well & you could almost hear the sheep sigh in relief as they lost their hot woolly jumpers! It still seems slightly wrong that it costs about £1.40 shear a ewe, yet a fleece is only worth £1.16.
Harvest is looming, & by the end of July we will have hopefully worked out how to use the new combine harvester (without incident), & started to make inroads into the Winter Barley & Oilseed Rape.
The various trenches around the shop & farmyard are in fact for the new Biomass Boiler that we are installing. This will be fed wood chip from the farm & should produce enough heat & hot water for all the properties on the farm, including the shop, which will be a big plus for all especially during the winter months.
We were blessed with fantastic weather this year for Open Farm Sunday & a record turnout. It was a real pleasure to talk to everyone about the farm’s different operations, whilst showing them around. We ran 9 tractor rides in total, all without incident, & raised £200 for Katharine House Hospice. Note to self, must arrange more rolls & a bigger BBQ for next year!
We have an abundance of home grown fruit & vegetables at the moment, especially broad beans, ridge cucumbers, courgettes, dwarf beans, currants, raspberries as well as sweet peas.
You may have read recently in the press that UK lamb exports are currently down 20%. With the strong pound at the moment the UK lamb export market has been hit badly, & the supermarkets have been tempted to fill their shelves with cheaper NZ imports. Our price comparison below shows the difference between our lamb prices & those of New Zealand lamb.
Wykham Waitrose Tesco
Leg of Lamb £11.95/kg £11.99/kg £12.00/kg
Shoulder of Lamb £9.95/kg £8.99 £10.00/kg
Loin chops of Lamb £15.95/kg £17.00/kg £17.00/kg