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  • Time to flex those muscles

    Posted on May 8th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Feeling energetic in the spring weather?  The growing team has lots of jobs on the veg plot this Sunday.

    We need to spread barrowloads of compost on some newly-formed beds and dig out a base for our new shed. We’ve also more sowing, weeding and planting out to get done.  

    We’ll be on the site between 10am and 1pm on Sunday. If you’re able to come, please bring an assortment of spades, rakes, hoes, hand tools and, if possible, a wheelbarrow for the compost shifting. And don’t forget to include gloves and a snack!

    Last weekend expert grower Jeremy got the tractor out and formed several new growing beds for us to spread with the compost.  We have carrot, parsnip and spinach seed to sow.

    Kitty, Mark M, Penny, Rebecca, Robert and Charlotte performed some painstaking tasks. We dug out thistles from the garlic and onion beds, weeded beetroot and pricked out celery seedlings.

    See: –
    What we’re growing for the veg boxes this year

  • What we’re growing for the veg boxes this year

    Posted on March 16th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Now the moment everyone’s been waiting for.  We can finally reveal what’s going to be in Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s vegetable boxes from June onwards. 

    There’s a fantastic selection to look forward to.  Our own volunteer growing team will be cultivating a variety of root crops, salad leaves and herbs on our plot behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.  

    Our own share of the harvest will include early carrots, broad beans, parsnips, beetroot, radish, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, self-blanching celery, bulb fennel, sweetcorn, salad leaves, Swiss chard, perpetual spinach, parsley and coriander. 

    Our team of three expert growers will be providing the bulk of the other vegetables, apart from winter brassicas and main crop potatoes.  Between them, they’re growing a tremendous variety.


    Jane Mellowship, who gave birth to Daisy in February, is concentrating solely on growing in her polytunnel on the coast at New Polzeath.  She’s supplying early spring onions, French beans and chilli peppers.

    Mark Norman has a permanent bed system and a polytunnel on his sloping, south-facing plot on the eastern outskirts of Bodmin.  He’s planning to supply quantities of runner beans, main crop carrots, courgettes, garlic, kohl rabi, leeks, onions, spring onions, early potatoes, squash, pumpkin, swede, peppers and blackcurrants. 

    Jeremy Brown grows vegetables for his business at St Kew Harvest Farm Shop on land and in polytunnels adjoining the shop.  This year he’s also cultivating some autumn raspberries and strawberries.

    He’ll provide the veg boxes with main crop French beans, purple sprouting broccoli, main crop carrots, courgettes, leeks, onions, spring onions, peas, early potatoes, squash, pumpkins, turnip, cucumber, tomatoes and basil. 

    All the crops listed above will be grown to organic principles.

    CSA members will also be harvesting dessert and culinary apples from the orchard we’ve adopted at West End, St Mabyn.  These will be used for juicing as well as eating.


    Once again, we hope to buy in autumn and winter brassicas from Richard Hore, who cultivates a range of all-season crops for his own veg stall at Restharrow Farm, Trebetherick.

    He’ll be supplying us with Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese, summer and winter cabbage, cauliflower and kale from his fields close to the Camel estuary.

    Next winter we aim to get main crop potatoes from Johnny Brown (Jeremy’s Dad) at Benbole Farm, St Kew Highway and from Colin and James Mutton at Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn.

    If we fall short of filling the boxes with a good variety or if the box numbers rise significantly, it’s possible we might need to buy in extra quantities from other small-scale local suppliers.

  • It’s time to get growing again

    Posted on March 9th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    You’re all invited to join our first vegetable growing session of the year this Sunday 14 March.  It’s exactly a year to the day since our volunteer team started preparing the ground and planting the first seeds.

    We’ll be out in force from 10am onwards on Camel CSA’s site behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop, just outside St Kew Highway.  There’s plenty of parking.

    Please turn up any time between 10am and 12 noon.  We’re a friendly and energetic bunch and you’ll be made to feel very welcome.  We represent all ages, shapes and sizes. 

    Be prepared to get your hands dirty.  Wear old clothes, boots and a hat and bring gardening gloves. 

    If it’s threatening rain you’ll need a waterproof jacket and some waterproof trousers, as there’s limited shelter from the elements.  If you can, please bring tools – forks for tackling the dockleaves, plus hoes and hand tools for weeding the broad beans and garlic.  We’ll be planting some celeriac and parsley seeds into modules as well.

    We always stop for a refreshment break – tea, coffee and water are provided.  You may want to bring a snack to boost your energy levels as it can be hard work!  If you’d like to know more about these Sunday growing sessions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Other jobs

    If you’d rather help with preparing vegetables and packing veg boxes, you can join our volunteer picking and packing team on a Friday morning between 10am and 12 noon.  

    This enthusiastic and sociable group has been turning out every week since our first harvest last July.

    A few of the regulars normally have a cup of coffee or tea (cakes optional!) in the shop afterwards.  Please contact us if you’d like to join the Friday picking and packing rota.

    Lastly, if admin’s more your thing we can always use your skills.  Please get in touch with a member of the core group to find out what needs doing.  There’s always something on the to-do list.

  • Welcome Daisy, our youngest veg grower

    Posted on February 23rd, 2010 charlotte 1 comment

    Congratulations to Jane and Gav Mellowship who are the proud parents of Daisy, their new baby daughter.

    Jane is one of Camel Camel Supported Agriculture’s three expert growers. Both she and Gav work in farming and horticulture.
    Jane says:

    “We’re loving having Daisy with us and getting used to being three instead of two.

    “It took long enough to get her out and now we’re just enjoying her finally being here!

     “She’s brilliant and we’ve already forgotten what life was like without her.”

    Daisy is the second baby born to members since Camel CSA was set up.  Hollie Goodwin, Dan and Kate’s daughter, is now six months old.  And starting to eat lots of vegetables, we hope!

  • Win a veg box in our raffle

    Posted on December 4th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel Community Supported Agriculture is holding a raffle at the St Mabyn Mistletoe Fair on Saturday.  And – no surprises – the prize is one of our medium-sized vegetable boxes!

    seasonal-veg-boxes-camel-csa 27-11-09We’re putting the £8 veg box on display to encourage new people to join our community food growing project.   As usual, the box is packed with fresh, seasonal produce

    Some of this week’s box contents – the onions, shallots, cabbage, carrots and parsnips – are organically produced on our own plot at St Kew Highway. The salad bag, also grown to organic principles, comes from Jane Mellowship in New Polzeath, who is one of our expert growers.

    The rest of the veg in the boxes were grown by two of Camel CSA’s local suppliers in north Cornwall.  Richard Hore at Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick, grew the broccoli, leeks, swede and romanesco cauliflower.  James Mutton at Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn supplied the potatoes.


    The Mistletoe Fair is being held from 12 noon till 4 p.m. in St Mabyn Village Hall, St Mabyn, near Wadebridge.  Entry is free and all proceeds are going to village hall funds.

    You’ll be able to pick up lots of ideas and buy Christmas presents and stocking fillers at the event, which is being opened by St Mabyn village crier Tony Dickinson. Apart from mistletoe and holly for sale there will be books, crafts, games, prizes, cards, jewellery, food, preserves, cakes and plants on display.

    There will also be a tombola, children’s workshop and bran tub, and seasonal refreshments.

    See you there!

  • Camel CSA hosts Soil Association mentoring event

    Posted on September 11th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel Community Supported Agriculture has been chosen to host a new type of training event being organised by the Soil Association. 

    Volunteers  - cropped 12-07-09A total of 23 grow-your-own-food enthusiasts in the south-west, from Land’s End to Totnes, are taking part.  It’s proved so popular that more than 10 would-be participants have had to be turned away.

    The horticultural mentoring event for existing and prospective CSA groups and growers in the south west is on Monday 14 September at our site at St Kew Highway behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

    It will give us an opportunity to consider soil fertility, crop planning and other important aspects of community supported agriculture.  It’ll also help us build all-important networks with other growing groups.


    onion harvest-Camel-CSA 09-08-09The event’s being organised by Ben Raskin, the Soil Association’s learning manager and horticultural advisor, with the financial backing of the Making Local Food Work project.  Ben says:

    “The idea is to put growing groups with similar aims into mentoring groups where they can get help and advice.


    “There’s been a massive response to these mentoring events from Cornwall and Gloucestershire in particular, which is fantastic. We’ve had to turn people away from next week’s session at St Kew Highway and there is a waiting list of 10.

    Cornwall is already playing a leading role in the Making Local Food Work programme led by the Plunkett Foundation.  As Jan Trefusis of the foundation says in a recent magazine article:

    “Cornwall really is the star of this programme, with a high proportion of our uptake for the project coming from across the region.”

    Tim Deane from Northwood Farm near Exeter in Devon, who founded the UK’s first organised vegetable box scheme, will share 30 years’ experience of crop planning, labour and machinery needs at the event.  


    Weeding-brassicas-camel csa 08-09-09Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s own team of expert growers – Jeremy Brown, Jane Mellowship and Mark Norman – will describe the ups and down of the initial six months of our own local food project.

    The initiative to grow our own food and to share the risks and rewards would never have got off the ground without their combined skills and dedication.  They’ve willingly devoted many hours of unpaid work to what’s often been an uphill task.

    Jeremy, Jane and Mark have been brilliant; there’s no other way of putting it.  Camel CSA members owe them a big debt.  We cannot thank them enough.

    • See and hear what our expert growers have to say on Camel CSA’s latest video – Our first harvest
  • Children join the beanfeast

    Posted on August 29th, 2009 charlotte 2 comments

    Three of Camel CSA’s youngest members contributed their own homegrown veg to this week’s boxes.

    beanfeast-camel csa 28-08-09Lilac (8), Willow (7) and four-year-old August grew all the runner beans and some of the courgettes.

    Core group member Antonina, co-owner of St Kew Harvest Farm Shop, explains:

    “Lilac, Willow and August wanted to share their harvest grown at their home at St Kew. 


    So I paid them £8.60 for lots of runner beans and courgettes and three large marrows which they have grown from seed all by themselves. 


    They’ve been following our blog, and got concerned about the beans being eaten!”

  • What we’re getting in our vegetable boxes

    Posted on August 21st, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We can expect to find some tomatoes and a cauliflower among the contents of this week’s veg boxes.

    tomatoesThese vegetables come from Richard Hore, our new supplier at Rest Harrow, Trebetherick (between Daymer Bay and Rock).  They’re not grown to organic principles, but are freshly picked and have clocked up few food miles – barely five in fact.

    The potatoes and onions are our own contribution to the harvest.  They’ve been grown by our volunteers on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s two-acre plot at St Kew Highway. 

    Our expert growers are providing the rest of the box contents.  Salad bags – Jane Mellowship, cucumber and curly parsley – Jeremy Brown, celery – Mark Norman. 

    See this week’s Recipe No 8 – Braised celery

  • 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

  • This week’s share of the harvest

    Posted on July 30th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Members of Camel Community Supported Agriculture can expect to find up to a dozen freshly-harvested vegetables in their boxes this week.

    Camel CSA 30-07-09The beetroot, onions, radishes, turnips and Swiss chard have been cultivated on our own site at St Kew Highway.

    Camel CSA’s expert growing team are providing the remainder of the box contents from their own plots.

    Mark Norman has grown the courgettes, which feature in Camel CSA’s Recipe No 5 – Courgette frittata, at his site on the outskirts of Bodmin.   He has also supplied the new potatoes, which are Marfona variety.  The British Potato Council says these have an almost “buttery” flavour and a smooth waxy texture.

    Jane and Gav Mellowship are supplying large and small mixed salad bags from their plot on the coast at New Polzeath.

    Jeremy Brown has produced the parsley, spinach and cucumbers on his land behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

    Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest