Licking our wounds
Richard Plowright - 28 January 2011
I see someone has updated my profile which now proclaims that I came second in the organic box scheme of the year competition in 2004. Impressed? Let’s be honest coming second is unremarkable. Nobody remembers you. The only saving grace is that you can reduce the printed size of the little organic food award symbol thingy on your business literature so that nobody can read it. Come to think of it a 2004 award is of no interest now. Is it? We might as well advertise my ‘O’ level results. “Richard achieved 9 ‘O’ levels in 1976”.
Anyway I have not written my blog for some time but have sworn an oath to the Soil Association that I will regularly update my blog from now on.
If you are a vegetable grower, you will understand why I have had precious little time for blogging since June. When it hasn’t rained for 8 weeks in spring it is that which occupies your mind night and day. 2010 was the driest growing year we have experienced. On our light soil, early June sowings of carrots just did not germinate and Parsnips sown in late May never appeared. Luckily our earlier carrot crops have seen us through the winter but parsnips resown and irrigated in mid June have not come to much. The drought of course gave way to the coldest December on record and now all us growers are licking our wounds. Literally with regard to the cracks on the ends of my fingers but also metaphorically in relation to crops damaged or destroyed. It is a sign, I think, of my graduation as a grower that in spite of loosing all our leeks to Leek moth I can count my blessings and be happy with only loosing half my cauliflowers in the frost. It’s one of the good things of growing the diversity of crops you need for a vegbox that you will always win some and lose some.
A woman came up to me in the field yesterday as I was stooped picking sprouts with my back to the biting north easterly and asked did we have any white cabbage. I said we had but they were a bit past their best and we were no longer selling them. Making conversation, I asked whether she had been to our farm shop. She had but had yet to compare our prices with Morrisons, she told me. An unrepeatable suggestion came to mind, along the lines that she might want to go to Morrisons and find somewhere to put her cabbage. Instead however I found myself diverting from my harvest to find her a couple of half decent white cabbage. “You can have them,” I said. “They are free”. “Oh no, I must pay, they are 80p in the supermarket” she said. “Ok give me 50p for each, that’s a pound” I said. “Oh” she exclaimed, shocked by my suggestion. Delving into her pocket she produced a £2 coin and 3, 10p coins. A dilemma. Does she pay £2 or give me 30p for two cabbages. A stand off. I wait to see what she will do and then say “OK give me the 30p”. I returned to my sprouts thinking this surely is the cutting edge of the local food revolution!
03 February 2011 15:18
I think they were all A's. In fact I genuinely can't remember. The certificates are in an old A4 envelope somewhere in the attic. Funny that, now I come to think about it, nobody has ever asked to see them. I think I have moved on now.
31 January 2011 10:55
“Richard achieved 9 ‘O’ levels in 1976”.Yes, but what grades did you get?. . Nice blog Richard, if you'd like to send over some updated information for the profile, I'm sure we could make it a little more up-to-date!
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