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  • We’re a real growing community

    Posted on July 13th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    An amazing amount of volunteer effort has gone into producing Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s bountiful harvest over the past fortnight.  Some fresh faces have joined the teams which have been busy tackling the weeds, cultivating the vegetables and packing the weekly boxes.

    Camel CSA 12-07-09

    Our volunteer task force sowed more lettuces and spring onions at the weekend.  We weeded the brassicas, potatoes and celeriac and planted out courgettes.  More dock leaves were cut down to prevent the seed spreading.

    Many thanks to expert growers Jane and Jeremy and to members Carolyn, Charlotte, Danny, six-year-old Haydn, John, Kayleigh, Kitty, Mark, Mike H, Mike S and guest Pat.

    We’ve decided to move the weekday volunteer growers’ slot to Friday mornings to coincide with the picking and packing team, who arrive at 10 a.m.   Just turn up between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m if you’d like to help out preparing vegetable beds, sowing, planting and weeding.  

    The Sunday growers’ slot will continue as usual, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

    The picking and packing team last Friday comprised expert grower Mark plus Cath, Mike H, Penny, Robert, Yvonne and her visiting parents.   As there seem to be so many willing volunteers to help share out the harvest we have decided to organise a rota in future weeks.  As Mark explains:

    “We had a great turnout of volunteers for picking and making up the boxes which meant we were able to be finished in little over an hour and a half !”

    What’s in the boxes?

    The standard boxes (£8) contained: –

    • 1 kg potatoes (Arran Pilot)
    • 1 kg broad beans (Super Aquadulce or Bunyard’s Exhibition)
    • peas (Rondo)
    • beetroot
    • 3 onions
    • courgettes
    • salad bag
    • cucumber
    • parsley (flat-leaved)
    • turnip or extra courgette

    The small boxes (£5) contained: –

    • 600g potatoes (Arran Pilot)
    • 750g broad beans (Super Aquadulce or Bunyard’s Exhibition)
    • peas (Progress)
    • beetroot
    • 1 medium onion
    • parsley (flat-leaved)
    • lettuce (red oakleaf)

    Some items were provided by our team of expert growers from their own plots.  The salad bags and cucumber came from Jane and Gav Mellowship at New Polzeath; the courgettes from Mark Norman at Bodmin; the lettuces from Jeremy and Antonina Brown at St Kew Highway.

    If you’d like to give some feedback on box content, click on the comments link at the top of this post.

  • Beautiful plump peas

    Posted on July 9th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA 28-06-09The harvest from Camel Community Supported Agriculture includes some beautiful plump peas in this week’s share.  Otherwise we are providing a similar selection of vegetables to last week. 

    The broad bean glut continues so please think of different ways to use these versatile vegetables. Please pick up your box from St Kew Harvest, as detailed in the e-mail to members. 

    Subscribers can expect all or some of of the following: –

    • potatoes (Arran Pilot)
    • onions
    • broad beans
    • beetroot
    • peas
    • salad pack / lettuce
    • cucumber
    • courgettes
    • turnips

     A definitive list and recipe ideas for beetroot will be posted once the boxes have been packed on Friday.

  • Our veg boxes are tops!

    Posted on July 5th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We’ve had an enthusiastic response from our members to Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s first vegetable boxes.  This is despite some teething problems with distribution.

    Tony says:

    Our first standard veg box

    Our first standard veg box

    “The box looks fantastic! We’re looking forward to next week’s already.”

    John and Cathy are delighted with the quality:

    “The cucumber which was sweet and fresh and the lettuce and onion we used in a salad.”

    They like the wide and interesting variety of vegetables and have found new ways of using them:

     “The beet greens we cooked almost like a spinach or spring greens and had with fish – better than spinach – along with broad beans and potatoes.

     

    The beets will be roasted and eaten with a lamb casserole with the rest of the onion, turnips and courgettes and we will try your broad bean soup.  Nothing wasted.”

    In the end, both small and standard boxes contained potatoes, broad beans, beetroot, turnip, cucumber and onions.  Standard boxes had a salad pack and small boxes a lollo rosso lettuce.  In addition, standard boxes contained Swiss chard and courgettes.  There wasn’t enough time to pick parsley.

    We have a glut of broad beans, so each box was given an extra £4-worth at shop prices!  We don’t yet have our own poly tunnel, so our three expert growers – Jane, Jeremy and Mark – supplied the salad bags, lettuce, courgettes and cucumber.

    New team

    Camel CSA 03-07-09Grateful thanks to our volunteer picking and packing team of expert grower Mark Norman, Mike H, Penny, Robert and Trish.  Mark says:

    ” It’s great to see some new faces.  I hope the boxes going out means that we’ll see even more volunteers next week.

     

    As first boxes they are excellent.  I hope we can keep the variety going.”

    If you would like to volunteer, either picking and packing or planting and cultivating, just turn up on a Friday or Sunday between 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

    Compost bin

    This Sunday we constructed a compost bin from wooden pallets lashed together with binder twine.  At long last we have somewhere to dump the annual weeds, unwanted plant tops and thinnings.

    Camel CSA 05-07-09A great deal of effort was devoted to the backbreaking job of cutting down the remaining dock leaves to stop them going to seed and spreading all over the site.  We were grateful there were so many of us to share this potentially soul-destroying task!

    We weeded the Swiss chard, carrots and brussels sprouts.  We planted more radishes to replace the ones which had gone to seed in the hot weather.

    A big thank you to expert growers Jane and Mark N and Charlotte, Danny, Ian, Mark M, Mike H, Mike S.

  • Jobs for Sunday 14 June

    Posted on June 13th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Runner bean planting 02-07-09There’s a great deal to do at Camel Community Supported Agriculture this Sunday as the growing season continues apace.

    As expert grower Jeremy Brown explains: –

    There are runner beans to plant out and French beans to sow.  We also need to sow some more rows of carrots.

    Everything needs weeding – the carrots (yet again!), the parsley and celeriac…  But the onions are okay. 

    The early potatoes also need weeding and ridging up.  The peas need supporting and tying up.

    Just turn up to join the team on our site at St Kew Highway between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

    If you can’t manage Sunday, why not come to our new mid-week volunteer session every Thursday morning at the same time?  Or ring Jeremy Brown on 07971762227 if you’d like to help out another day.

    Mid-summer celebration for members

    barbeque-cartoonDon’t forget it’s our mid-summer barbeque next Saturday 20 June in St Mabyn from 6 p.m. onwards.  Please contact Charlotte Barry if you can come at charlotte.barry@btinternet.com so we have an idea of how many people to expect. 

    Everyone is asked to bring some food for the barbeque, a drink and a seasonal side dish or pudding.  Don’t forget to bring your own plate and cutlery as well!

  • A warm and open welcome

    Posted on June 10th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Around 60 adults and 20 children joined in the fun at Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s first Open Day and were rewarded with glorious sunshine and not a hint of rain . 

    Visitors ignored the threatening storm clouds and came out in their droves on Open Farm Sunday to see our vegetable growing project in north Cornwall.

    They built bee nests, joined guided tours, planted lettuces and nasturtiums, made scarecrows,  watched a sheep shearing demonstration, sat chatting in the sun and played on hay and straw bales.

    open-day-2009-1Assorted individuals, couples and families travelled from a 30-mile radius to give us some constructive feedback on our efforts to make local food work: –

    Fantastic project.  Amazing!  Brilliant!

    An excellent idea – keep it going

    Great for the whole family.  Liked the things for children to do

    Lovely, interesting day – will come again

    Loved the tour – very inspiring

    Learned a lot about not needing to dig.  Hurrah – compost!

    Need to encourage more people to learn where food comes from and to eat seasonally

    Excellent initiative – more farm events would be great

    We provided a barbeque, home-made-cakes and cold drinks.  Hot drinks and cream teas were available at the farm shop.

     very-hungry-caterpillarIn scenes reminiscent of Eric Carle’s children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, our guests and helpers munched their way through a  shoulder of organic moorland mutton, a mound of sausages, beefburgers, veggie burgers and vegetable kebabs, several bowls of homegrown salad leaves, radishes and spring onions, 8 slices of rhubarb loaf,  10 rhubarb muffins,  12 slices of coconut sponge, 16 chocolate buns, 24 pieces of lemon drizzle cake, 30 iced cupcakes, 40 flapjacks…

    And the verdict among Camel CSA members? 

    A job very well done! We are so lucky to have a group of such enthusiastic, committed, capable, lovely people

    I think we have all pulled together really well

    We have managed to spread the word to so many people and explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it

    It was so lovely to see it all coming together and the atmosphere it created

    Most of all we have been able to show that we are a “community” working together

    We can’t wait to be part of this again!

  • We’re in the news – again

    Posted on June 9th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    rcs-5Camel Community Supported Agriculture members succeeded in spreading the word far and wide at the Royal Cornwall Show and the open day on Open Farm Sunday

    Hundreds more people in the south west now know what Camel CSA is doing to help make local food work and how we’re going about it.

    Our efforts also resulted in plenty of media coverage in the past week or so  – on BBC Radio Cornwall, in the Cornish Guardian and in the Western Morning News (three times!)

    Discover food glorious food at the Royal Cornwall – Western Morning News May 26 09

    Open day to feature county’s first community food growing group – Cornish Guardian June 2 09

    Cornish food at its best – South West Farmer June 1 09

    Food from Cornwall News – June 6 09

    Other groups keen to set up their own community agriculture project should contact the Soil Association’s south west CSA co-ordinator Traci Lewis at tlewis@soilassociation.org or on 0787 0268654.

  • A great display of showmanship

    Posted on June 5th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    rcs-3Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s stand in the Food and Farming Pavilion at the Royal Cornwall Show has attracted a great deal of interest. 

    Countless visitors have stopped to chat and to find out more about our community food growing project, which is the first of its kind  in Cornwall.

    They have admired Antonina’s fresh and original design and Jane’s bountiful display of plants in boxes.  Everyone has been really impressed with the beautiful peas, the vast courgette plant, the kohl rabi, broad beans, mint and parsley as well as the marigolds, nasturtiums and cornflowers. 

    Lots of people have wanted to touch the peapods.  Small children were tempted to pick and eat them! 

    We have fielded all kinds of questions and dealt with a variety of comments, as Antonina explains: –  

    rcs-2Courgette plant – are the spots dangerous?
    Are the peas a certain kind?
    How do you deal with black fly on broad beans?  Is it best to plant broad beans in autumn or spring?
    How do you cook kohl rabi?
    Why are the beetroot sooo big?
    Why is the cauliflower pink?
    Can I pick some of the mint to go in my salad?
    Why not grow this and that?
    I grow mine like this and that….!!! 

    We have sold a large number of freshly-picked mixed salad bags.  The National Trust chef incorporated several of our salad packs in a cookery demonstration and has ordered several more to use on the third and final day.

    Camel CSA has been making its presence felt at the show courtesy of the Plunkett Foundation and the Soil Association, who are prime movers in the Making Local Food Work initiative. 

    We have been sharing the stand with the newly-formed West Penwith Community Supported Agriculture project and we wish them the very best in their new venture.

    We have one more day at the show before our first Open Day on Sunday – Open Farm Sunday.  Watch this space.

  • We’re open for business

    Posted on May 31st, 2009 charlotte No comments

    camel-csa-ofs-2009-1We have a hectic week ahead of us as Camel Community Supported Agriculture members prepare for the Royal Cornwall Show and our first Open Day.

    Visitors to the show and the Open Day will be able to talk to our enthusiastic volunteers, find out what we’re growing, and discover the benefits of getting involved in our community food growing venture. 

     

    You will find our stand in the show’s popular Cornwall Food and Farming Pavilion from Thursday 4 June to Saturday 6 June.  Make sure you come and visit us there.

     

    We will be selling freshly-picked salad packs and signing up new members to our local food project – the first of its kind in Cornwall. 

     

    We are sharing the stand with the  Soil Association, which has just helped to set up the new West Penwith Community Supported Agriculture project.  We are also there thanks to the Plunkett Foundation, which manages the  Making Local Food Work campaign.

     

    The next day, on Sunday 7  June, we are holding a series of Open Farm Sunday events between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. including guided tours of the site at St Kew Highway near Wadebridge.

     

    There will be family activities and all-day refreshments including homemade cakes and cold drinks, with a barbeque from 12 noon – 2 p.m.  You are welcome to bring your own picnic.

     

    ofs-two-boys-1Schedule of events: –
    11:30    Guided tour
    12:00    Making bee nests, planting lettuces
    12:30    Sheep shearing demonstration
    13:00    Scarecrow making
    13:30    Guided tour
    14:00    Making bee nests, planting lettuces
    14:30    Sheep shearing demonstration
    15:00    Scarecrow making
    15:30    Guided tour

     If you are a member and are able to help out, please get in touch.

     

    Click here for directions to Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s site at St Kew Highway.

     

    Click here to view our entry on the Open Farm Sunday website and details of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), the national charity that helps bring farmers and consumers together.

  • They deserve a medal!

    Posted on May 26th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We’re having an extra mid-week volunteer session on Thursday as there’s so much work to do at Camel Community Supported Agriculture.  Charlotte, Kitty and Mike S have already put their names forward.

    carrotsWe need to plant out brassicas, celeriac, parsley and spring onion plants and, if we have time, sow sweetcorn and squash seeds.

    If you’re able to give a hand, we’ll be on the site this Thursday 28 May between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Click here for directions. 

    If you can’t make it on Thursday morning, why not give expert grower Jeremy Brown a ring on 07971762227 to find out when else it might be convenient to help out.

    Medals all round

    Last Sunday’s team deserves special praise.  Everyone got down on their knees and hand weeded. 

    weeding-carrotsThe onion, shallot and Swiss chard beds were comparatively easy to tackle, but weeding the carrots by hand was an exacting and extremely fiddly job. The air was blue at times.  We’ll savour every single one of those carrots when they appear in our weekly vegetable boxes!

    Grateful thanks to volunteer expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark and to their willing helpers – Beverley, Cath, Carolyn, Charlotte, John, Kitty, Mike H and Mike S.

    There’s so much effort going into preparing the first vegetable shares, which should start to be available in mid-June.  A lot of thought is being given to when and how they will be picked, packed and distributed.  

    We’ll be working on the site as usual next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Do come along and enjoy the fresh air and exercise.  It’s not all hard work.  It’s good company – and fun too.

  • Sunday jobs – Whitsun weekend

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We need all the help we can get on Sunday.camel-csa  The growing season has hit us with a vengeance at Camel Community Supported Agriculture .  Weeds are shooting up – they love this showery weather! 

    Expert grower Jane Mellowship says: –

    “On Sunday we have lots to get done. Brassica, celeriac, parsley and spring onion plugs need to be planted out, there’s sweetcorn and squash to sow and plenty of weeding too.

    Hope to see you all then!”