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  • Will we get the support to help us expand?

    Posted on March 22nd, 2010 charlotte No comments

    It’s all a bit nerve-racking.  We’ll hear soon whether we’re going to get funding to help widen our activities.

    A Lottery Food Fund assessor came for a site visit on Sunday.  Kate Harris needed to see for herself exactly who we are and what we get up to.  She asked our core group members lots of leading questions and met the volunteer growing team. 

    Kate watched the volunteers prepare vegetable beds, spread compost, plant Jerusalem artichokes, sow parsley seed for germination in the polytunnel and renew their attack on the dockleaves which are sprouting everywhere in the mild weather.

    It’s her job to report back and make a recommendation on our funding bid.  The all-important decision will be made in April.  It’s a highly competitive scheme, so we reckon we’ve got about a 50% chance – at best.

    In May we’ll hear whether we’ve been successful in our application for funding from the East Cornwall Local Action Group.

    Whatever the result, we’ll keep going as a CSA – growing vegetables, working with the seasons and providing our members with a share of the harvest.  It’s just that if our bids are unsuccessful, we’ll have to wait before we can invest in much-needed equipment, set up an education and training programme and provide secure employment. 

    For the first time on Sunday everyone had the chance to meet Daisy, expert grower Jane Mellowship’s five-week-old daughter.  She arrived in a waterproof  “baby trug” – ideal in the circumstances!

    Many thanks to expert grower Mark Norman and volunteers Cath, Charlotte, Danny, Frank, Kitty, Mark M, Mike H, Mike S and Robert.

  • We’re getting to know our onions

    Posted on August 11th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA - 09-08-09One vegetable that Camel Community Supported Agriculture members can rely on this season is the humble onion.  There should be enough to fill the veg boxes until the New Year.

    The growing team got on their hands and knees on Sunday and pulled up hundreds of red and white onions and a row of shallots before the heavens opened and the rain poured down (yet again).

    Our onion harvest is now in dry storage in shed space kindly provided by Camel CSA volunteer Mark Malcolmson.

    The expert growers have been taking an audit of what’s going to be available from our site at St Kew Highway over the next few weeks, apart from onions.  We can expect more chard, beetroot, carrots, potatoes and parsley in the short term.

    In November we can look forward to cauliflower and two varieties of cabbage, followed by parsnips and kale.  In December we should get some purple sprouting broccoli, with Jerusalem artichokes in January.

    Pesky predators

    Unfortunately the runner beans, the French beans, the courgettes and our third crop of peas are all looking very sorry for themselves.

    Camel CSA 09-08-09We’ve been overrun by voracious rabbits.  It’s been a bad year for them.  They’ve even been taking chunks out of the onions!  The newest predators on the block are a family of partridges, which seem to love the peas.

    Our financial wish-list includes predator-proof fencing and additional protective fleece, but we don’t have enough money at the moment to do anything more about this.  Hence our bid for external funding.

    Continuity of supply

    In the meantime, we will continue to fill the gaps by buying in vegetables from our three expert growers.  Mark Norman has plenty of courgettes, with leeks and swedes to come.  He will also have celery and celeriac plus parsnips, potatoes and onions, if need be.

    Jane Mellowship will continue to provide salad bags throughout the autumn and winter months.  Jeremy Brown can supply salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers as well as peppers, chillies and pumpkins. 

    We are also busy looking locally for new partners who can supply us with potatoes, carrots and other mainstay items to help fill up our veg boxes during the autumn and winter.

    Big effort

    Camel CSA 09-08-09Volunteer growers, pickers and packers are making a fantastic effort at the moment on Friday and Sunday mornings. 

    Apart from harvesting the onions, the growers have made a concerted attack on the weeds, as well as pruning and tying up the boysenberries.  All under the guidance of expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark N, helped variously over the two days by Charlotte, Danny, Fiona, Kitty, Mark M, Mike H, Mike S, Penny and Trish. 

    Friday’s picking and packing team comprised Callum (10), Leonie, Mark M, Mike H, Robert,  Tom (11) and Trish, who packed the boxes.  They harvested, sorted, counted out and bunched up enough vegetables to fill 23 boxes for grateful members.  But they still need more rubber bands!

    Many thanks to Jeremy G, who took the pictures.

    Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest