August news: Mid-Season Stocktake

Now we’ve harvested a decent proportion of our maincrop potatoes, the growers are able to calculate the expected total yield with reasonable accuracy, and we are pleased to report an excellent crop (probably) with approximately 8 tonnes left in the grounds and a year-total of 10 tonnes. Assuming nothing disastrous happens (a dangerous thing to assume!) this should give you a sizeable potato share every week until mid-spring 2020. So we’ll certainly be busy on Potato Day, 14th September, and as always will welcome all comers to lend a hand.

The onions also look good with a crop of around 1500kg.

Whopper onions in this year’s harvest

July news: Friends at Five Acre

Canalside featured in the podcast ‘Tales from Five Acre Community Farm’, when Becca and Esther from our sister farm came to Canalside to chat to staff and members. You can listen to it here.

A tour with Becca at Five Acre Farm

Then later in the same week, a small group of Canalside members paid a visit to Five Acre for a tour with Becca, the grower there.

June news: Old King Kohl(rabi)

It’s that time of the year when the words “I’m just not sure what to do with it” reverberate around the collection space: the first kohlrabi share of the year. The first piece of advice is to ask a German, as our central European friends adore this bizarre vegetable; otherwise enjoy it raw, grated in a ‘slaw or cut as batons like carrot sticks, perhaps with a dip. Alternatively you can thinly slice it for a stir fry or steam together with perhaps squash or carrot. It also works well in a stew. Lexicographically, the name means ‘cabbage turnip’, and botanically, it is the swollen stem of the plant, analagous to the stem part of a head of broccoli.

May news: Three firsts in one day

On Tuesday of this week we were delighted to pick 3 new crops on the same day: the first courgette, sugar snap pea and cucumber all made their appearance. As production increases it may be a short while until you see all of these crops in your share but they are certainly on their way!

April news: A Time To Freeze

We are deep in the spring glut, that abundant period when leafy greens in particular grow faster that we can cut them. Leaves are most prolific in spring and autumn, with demand outstripping supply at other times of year! It’s an ideal time for blanching and freezing some ready for use later in the year – we’re heading towards the leaner spell in May and June when some veg in hand will be a bonus. Spinach, chard, spring greens, kale and purple sprouting broccoli are all good contenders for this.

March news: Potatoes Planted

On Thursday the growers took advantage of the sublime spring sunshine and got our 3/4 acre of potatoes planted! This is nearly a month earlier than last year, which highlights the contrast between super-sodden March 2018 and the super-sunny one this time around. We have a large surplus of a red variety called Robinta which will be available for members to take for free, though the tubers are on the small side.

Potato planting underway
Potatoes planted

In other news our onion sets have beaten Brexit: they arrived from Holland despite warnings from the suppliers of Brexit-related delays! So we are all ready for the Onion Planting Day/Members’ Social on April 6th. It’s a great activity to kick-start the growing season for kids and adults alike, with a bring and share lunch to boot!

February’s news: We Own Our Land!

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Canalside Community Food Limited now owns our land!

After a lengthy period of dotting i’s and crossing t’s, the solicitors have finally exchanged contracts, bringing an end to the process that began with our share offer launch and successful fundraising drive last year. This is really a beginning rather that an end, as the purchase safeguards our land in perpetuity and means it will be owned and stewarded by this community from hereon!

January news from the field

Take a walk around Canalside fields and you will notice something unusual for the time of year: freshly ploughed earth. Normally we plough in early spring, but this can be tricky where there is a lot of rainfall – in fact 2 out of the last 3 years we have had to postpone onion planting as it has been too wet to prepare the ground. So the exceptionally dry start to 2019 provided the perfect opportunity to try doing things a little differently, and thus the area earmarked for the earliest plantings – potatoes, onions and early brassicas – were ploughed on Wednesday morning just in time before the rain came.

Early ploughing in Millfield ready for 2019’s early brassicas

Early ploughing in Big Gorse ready for 2019’s maincrop onions

Share collections going ahead despite snow

The current snowy weather and freezing temperatures have caused significant interruption to normal activities this week, but here at Canalside the field team have worked extremely hard to maintain business as usual.

If you are a share member expecting to collect today or  tomorrow (12th & 13th December) please read on.

Collecting shares

Tuesday 12th: Collection will go ahead at the farm between 3 and 6.30pm as usual. However, there will be no access down the drive to the car park or pole barn. Your share will be bagged for you (and labelled S, M or L) and will be on the trailer at the top of the drive. There is turning space there, but please turn with care and to ensure space for others to turn in safely, please do not linger. As space is so limited at the top of the drive, please do not park there and walk down to the social area.

If you do get stuck, or feel some assistance is needed to help people turn, get out of the drive etc, please call the site phone (07758340491).

Sadly we may not be able to put any leaves in today’s share as everything is frozen solid, but we will try. If not, you will get extra squash and root veg to see you through until next week.

If you are unable to collect your Tuesday share as planned, please come any time up until 2pm Wednesday if you can. After that the normal arrangements will apply and you will be welcome to try to make up a share from the ‘extras’ during the Saturday collection (10am-1pm) or from the leftover produce between 1 and 2pm after Saturday’s collection has finished.

Wednesday 13th: If it is safe to do so, we will reopen the drive for the collection. If this isn’t possible, your share will be bagged for collection at the top of the drive. Information above will then apply!

Workshares and the work morning

The Wednesday work morning will go ahead as usual, but if you’re driving here, workshares and volunteers are advised to call the site phone on 07758340491 before setting off.

We hope collections will be back to normal for Saturday 16th.

We hope you’re keeping warm. Go well, Ali

Diverse benefits from farms like Canalside!

(We knew that but now here’s academic proof!)

See the recently published report, ‘A Matter of Scale’, on research into the benefits of small-scale, agroecological* farms here: 
https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/…/small-scale-agroecol…/…

The research was conducted by the Land Workers’ Alliance (LWA) in conjunction with the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, and Canalside was one of the 69 farms that participated.

* agroecological = an ecological approach to agriculture that views agricultural areas as ecosystems and is concerned with the ecological impact of agricultural practices

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