Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Nope, I really must do some gardening

Tempting though it is to write about last night's visit to Lifton Farm, being taken round with a group of local farmers by a shiny new futuristic tractor on a trailer with straw bale seats, I really should be out weeding in the sunshine. But then again, it's a bit too hot inside the polytunnel at the moment, so perhaps I can spare a few moments and divulge.
If ever the word entrepreneurial was fitting, this was a shining example. I've never seen such diversity on one farm, and all being produced for sale in their own shop. First came the starters - the asparagus beds - I could have hopped off my slow-moving bale and cut enough for 100 people in minutes. They were gloriously phallic and abundant, winking at us in the evening sun. Next the main course; 5000 free range chickens producing eggs and about 100 wee goslings (same size and age as my 2 young 'uns) - and 500 turkey poults easing their way towards Christmas. I can't even remember all the vegetables being grown - but my sweetcorn is doing better than theirs and it's all organic at home! Then the sheep (a new tentative venture) and the firmly ensconced bullocks - two of which are slaughtered each week to supply the shop with beef. At this point we saw their quarry - incredible multicoloured slate that provided the poshest hardcore for a drive that I've ever seen - most of us would be pleased to use it for the kitchen floor. Then we went a bit bonkers and were taken through the woods and down a steep slope before crossing the River Lyd (I wasn't expecting or dressed for white water rafting) to admire another bunch of bullocks - more feisty this time but still unwilling to come across the river when we turned back for a second go at potential "man overboard" delights. Then it was the pudding course. The strawberries, two or three varieties that last from now 'til October, are grown outside and in polytunnels, the latter in grow bags that are suspended on posts and wires at chest height to deter slugs and make picking kinder on the back. Then to the orchards for dessert - bramleys and eating apples, pears, plums and damsons, raspberries, redcurrants , blackcurrants and gooseberries. The hedges were full of hazels but they didn't mention cropping the cobnuts. I felt exhausted just looking at everything they do - it's no mean feat producing so many different things from plot to plate. Back to the restaurant (yup, they have one of those too) for hot pasties, beef sarnies, cups of tea and strawberries and cream. If Rick Stein is king of Padstow, the Mounce Family are king, queen, prince and princess of Lifton.


mutterings and meanderings said...

Ooh, sounds like heaven!

Have you been inspired?

Mopsa said...

Well, here there is a flourishing ancient orchard (and a store full of home made cider and apple juice)which have had lots of new trees added for damsons, gages, cherries, medlars and pears, grow lots of veg and have the ducks, geese, sheep and access to beef from cattle grazed on the farm. Do the odd chicken for meat, have access to a plentiful supply of free game during the season, all the eggs you could need, blackberries and sloes in the hedgerows, asparagus and soft fruit planted this year etc etc. So although very impressed, and really must get on with doing something about strawberries, wouldn't want to be doing something that required tending to hundreds of visitors per week to survive, or using any of the chemicals they apply so freely.