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  • We’ve passed another milestone

    Posted on February 13th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Our picking and packing team prepared a total of 30 seasonal veg boxes for our members this week – an all-time record.  Plus the box we’re offering in a prize draw at the St Mabyn Pre-School Valentine Brunch.

    A further milestone was reached.  For the first time, all the contents of the boxes were bought in from other growers.

    The fact that we’re buying in such a high proportion of the weekly vegetable box contents at this time of year may seem like an admission of defeat.  But this is far from the case.

    In the UK, community supported agriculture comes in many different shapes and sizes.  There’s no “right” or “wrong” way of doing it.

    As a not-for-profit organisation we rely totally at present on the goodwill of our members, who make up our volunteer workforce.  This will change as we expand and if we are successful in our funding bids to the Lottery and the Local Action Group.

    As we’re working on less than two acres, we’re not in a position to grow large-scale main crops which need constant rotation like potatoes and winter brassicas.  Instead we are concentrating on “high-value” seasonal crops which would be either too expensive to buy in or do not travel well.

    Benefits

    As a CSA, we’re committed to building up partnerships between farmers and the local community, enabling farmers to sell direct to the public, and providing other mutual benefits.  So that’s why we’re happy to include varying proportions of vegetables in our boxes from small-scale, local growers.

    The Camel CSA approach is very much community-led.  It’s organised democratically. Every member has a say in how our project is run.

    The core management group is responsible for all the main decisions.  Under the guidance of our three volunteer expert growers, it works out what to grow, how we grow it, what goes in the boxes, what we charge our members and who should supply us. 

    All our own onions and shallots – in store since last summer – have been used up at long last.  The remaining parsnips, artichokes and carrots are again well and truly frozen into the ground.

    So the carrots, curly kale, onions, purple sprouting broccoli, swede and Brussels sprouts (complete with sprout top!) in this week’s boxes come from Richard Hore at Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick.  

    Richard and his family, who cultivate 30 acres close to the relatively mild climes of the Camel estuary, have done us proud this winter.

    The winter salad bag was supplied by Jeremy Brown, one of Camel CSA’s expert growers.  It contains a selection of baby leaves such as pak choi, watercress, mustard, rocket and spinach from his polytunnels behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.

    The potatoes were grown by Colin and James Mutton of Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn.

  • Mud, mud… glorious Cornish mud

    Posted on January 29th, 2010 charlotte 1 comment

    So much for the first signs of springP&P 29-01-10 002When the north wind blows in North Cornwall it strikes with a vengeance.

    Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s picking and packing team discovered this today as they battled against the elements to get this week’s veg boxes ready for our members.

    First the root vegetables – the parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and carrots – had to be dug up in the teeth of the gale. 

    Then they had to be washed clean of the mud that enveloped them.  By hand. Outdoors. At the edge of the field. 

    Try that in freezing conditions!

    The adverse weather meant yet again the eagerly-anticipated purple sprouting broccoli wasn’t available from our suppliers. 

    P&P 29-01-10 washing carrotsMushrooms were also a little short, so we had to raid our own patch for cabbages. Jeremy Brown provided mustard greens.

    In spite of these setbacks, the volunteer team remained very upbeat.  Special thanks to picking and packing supremo Trish and to Robert, Penny, Jennifer, Henrietta, Mike S, Gillian and Charlotte.

    P & P carrots 15-01-10P&P 29-01-10 washed root veg

  • It’s (s)no(w) problem!

    Posted on January 8th, 2010 charlotte 2 comments

    Congratulations to our intrepid picking and packing team who braved the wintry conditions to prepare Camel CSA’s first vegetable boxes of 2010.Picking-packing-team-camel-csa 08-01-10

    Only the onions in the boxes came from Camel CSA’s own share of the harvest.  Our dwindling crops of parsnips, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and last of the beetroot are well and truly frozen into the ground.

    We’re grateful to local supplier Richard Hore of Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick for providing such a variety of green vegetables – leeks, curly kale and savoy cabbage as well as carrots.  And to our expert grower Jeremy Brown who collected the potatoes from Burlerrow Farm in icebound St Mabyn.

    We put together a total of 23 boxes for our members to pick up. Fortunately our site is next to the A39 “Atlantic Highway” which has been kept relatively clear from ice and snow.

    Picking-packing-camel-csa 08-01-10Local food

    The fact that we could provide fresh vegetables this week goes to show how important it is to be able to source food locally. 

    Supply chains across the country may be interrupted by the big freeze, but we’ve been able to keep our veg box scheme going – with just a little help from our friends in north Cornwall.

    As Making Local Food Work said this week in its response to the Government’s widely-reported new national food strategy: “Communities must be engaged in the future of food.”

    Many thanks to picking & packing supremo Trish, who fetched the veg from Trebetherick, and to the team – Cathy, Charlotte, Mike H, Mike S, Penny and Robert.

    And enjoy our heartwarming seasonal soup! Recipe No 26 – Leek soup with parmesan