By pauljonathan, Dec 16 2014 04:13PM
2014 has been an amazing but true , this year we have not used the field irrigator once . The money and time this has saved is significant . That said we still have to pay for the licence . We have had other set backs though ; most notably Doreen breaking her arm in two places while playing with her horse, being a significant one . Luckily , our superb friends from Cambridge Cropshare and box scheme customers rallied round and stopped a set back becoming a disaster . Some discovered sublime tractor driving skills whilst others gave us amazing support helping us pick our blackcurrant and redcurrant orders . Many others pitched in as well, old friends and new . Some pitching in at short notice to plant during short weather windows .
As for the Cropsharers , this year we have undertaken even more cropshare days , for the first time ever we had some cropshare days on weekdays . These were very helpful and seemed to be enjoyed by all . The smaller groups enabling us to undertake some of the more skilful jobs . This year , Cambridge Cropshare has taken a great leap forward ; many have really improved their skill sets and I think as a farm we have made more use of the skills we already have in the group . The prevalence of engineers has up until this year been a wasted resource . This year vast improvements were made to the polytunnels strength , this is all down to them .Other projects are in the pipeline but we need to work out which one to focus on . Three of us undertook a three day First Aid at Work course run at the Wildlife Trust in Cambourne . This rugged outdoor themed course was really useful but luckily , as yet we have not had to use our newly honed skills . The cropshare group has always had its fair share of doctors , (the number is growing all the time), but only one doctor with medical training !
Another improvement that has been made over the last couple of years is the on farm propagation . The majority of this has been led by Lynn . Under her watchful eye this has improved immeasurably . When we started Cropshare , trays would be sown twice or not at all , trays would be unlabelled , no record would be kept of what had been sown , seed would be wasted , trays would go unwatered . Now , mainly thanks to Lynn , these issues have become a thing of the past .
Also , thanks to Bev and Rob we have planted many trees , something we have wanted to do for a long time . The long term benefits will be huge . Also thanks to Dave for getting us some bees . They generally arrive on the back of his bike trailer . Dave having brought them from Trumpington . The Cropshare marquee has been another significant improvement and Helens work on this was outstanding . No more crowded kitchen on wet days .
It always lifts my heart to see the range of ages of people we get on the farm . We have newly borns up to those whose ages I dare not ask . People come from many nationalities and backgrounds including French , Germans , Spanish , Portuguese , Chinese , Romanian , English, Italian , Scottish , Irish , Welsh ,and Australian to name but a few .
Everyone's help has meant that more food than ever could be donated to Foodcycle .
Our produce is finding an enthusiastic and growing market with plenty of veg find its way into Arjuna Wholefoods.So hopefully even more vegetables will be grown next year and with luck we will be able to take on a part time member of staff to help us with all the harvesting .
See you on the farm soon .
Paul and Doreen .