I work for a wonderful independent organic retailer in Bristol. The Better Food Company’s mission is to build a better, fairer food community for everybody involved along the way. That’s why we’re so proud to support the Community Farm in the Chew Valley. We get most of our beautiful organic produce from the farm. The Community Farm is a community owned social enterprise. More than 500 local people helped to make the Community Farm what it is today. You can read the whole story of how the Community Farm came to fruition here; our story.
Our aim is to help people develop a better understanding of where their food comes from, reconnect with the land on which their food is grown, and learn more about sustainable farming.
The Community Farm
One thing that really grinds our gears at Better Food is food waste! We hate food waste and we do our best to keep ours to a minimum. We love to eat wonky veggies and ‘veg on the edge.’ The community farm has had record breaking yields for many of their crops this year, well done guys! The farm invited the staff at better food over to pick their excess crops that they simply don’t have the manpower to pick. I jumped at the chance to spend another day at this haven or organic veggies as did many of my lovely colleagues. The aim of our mission was to bring home as many of the excess crops as we could squeeze into the van! Today this bounty of beautiful vegetables will be turned into a veritable feast in aid of St Mungo’s whose mission is to end homelessness in Bristol.
We began our day by meeting Ped, the managing director and Ian, the head grower. They gave us a quick health and safety talk then headed straight into the fields to help out. Our first task of the day was to hoe between the rows of spinach, ruby chard and fennel. There were a few early casualties as we were a little overenthusiastic with our hoeing but we got the hang of it very quickly.
Our next task was to plant the mixed salad seedlings which included green lettuce, spinach, mizzuna, red lettuce and a few other kinds of peppery leaves. To ensure we planted them in straight lines, Ian got some volunteers to sit on a contraption on the back of the tractor which would create perfectly straight furrows in the soil for us to plant in.
We were given hundreds of seedlings to plant. Many hands certainly did make light work as we got into the rhythm of plopping the plants down, dibbing holes and packing the earth around the plants. Before we knew it we had three long rows of mixed salad.
We couldn’t quite believe the speedy progress we had made when working as a team. With happy hearts and hungry bellies, Ped provided us a lunch of homemade pea and mint soup, fresh rolls and a mountain of fruit. We all adored the soup – many thanks to the chef Jill!
Our afternoon included a tour of the farm. Ped showed us round some raised beds that volunteers made over the summer and he let us walk through the poly tunnels. The heat was intense to say the least but we all enjoyed the tomato tunnel as we were allowed to taste the sweet warm tomatoes straight from the vine. The chilli tunnel literally made our eyes water.
Our final task for the day was to pick the excess crops of marrows, tomatoes and leeks. The farm also kindly donated three huge sacks of kale to the dinner. I helped to pick the kale which was a rather lovely job.
We returned to the van with our bounty of kale to find the others had gotten rather excited about the gigantic marrows that they had been picking!
We all had a really wonderful time, I am sure we will all be returning again. We managed to pick some overgrown leeks, a bootload of marrows, three huge bags of kale, and so many split tomatoes. We also rescued some veggies from the farm’s ‘veg on the edge’ pallet which is produce that is not good enough to sell. I’m sure our talented team of chefs will make some truly incredible food for the dinner this evening.
Thank you so much to the Community Farm for our wonderful day out. If you’re interested in volunteering at the community farm please get in touch with them here. I promise you will have a beautifully enriching day.
Questions for you…
- How do you reduce food waste?
- What are the most inventive ways in which you use old veggies?
- Have you got any lovely stories to share from the Community Farm?
Peace out beansprouts!