Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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Five-a-Day Keeps the Doctor at Bay

Fruit veg collageCurrent advice from the health gurus is summarised in this simple idea which seems to have grown from the single apple-a-day of my youth.

However with an orchard of 700 trees and nine different fruits we should be able to come up with both quantity and quality.

Vicars Orchard at Church Farm is now a veritable Garden of Eden with tempting fruit hanging from the branches waiting for the harvesting in the coming weeks and months.

We are already sending Discovery apples out to customers on the box scheme along with the all the other produce now growing in horticulture or the soft fruit field.

DSC05708Tempting tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers, beetroot and potatoes as well as peppers and red hot radishes.

A serious amount of hard work goes into the preparation with weeding and feeding all done by hand, harvesting and packing done as late as possible to keep the produce as fresh as possible.

A seasonal plan for what grows when and trying to anticipate the demands for the café and pub as well as the store and box scheme takes some calculation and guestimation but  any glut can be turned into something cooked rather than raw.  If all else fails the animals get a special treat or the compost pile starts the whole process over.

This is recycling as nature intended without the packagingDSC05720

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Following Freddy on the Farm

Freddy loves carrots, of this there can be no doubt. Freddy is one of our newest co-farmers in Rural Care and he has immediately taken to the allotment and vegetables as part of his day.

On this particular day, he was following on from his adventures with carrot cake to actually cooking carrot and potato soup.  His misfortune was to get Dave as his assistant.  Dave’s good fortune was to get to work with Freddy and to take part in a collaboration of cooks and chefs to produce the best Carrot and Potato Soup in the Country.

Freddy raided the Farm Store for his ingredients: carrots, potatoes, garlic and onions.  Then we needed a knife for chopping up the vegetables or a peeler and it was off to the kitchen to add a chopping board to our collection of tools of the trade.

How do you chop garlic?  Phil, another of our co-farmers who volunteers in the pub kitchen every Monday, helped out with this one and then it was off to the kitchen.  Dave was a Can’t-Cook-Won’t-Cook Champion so this was a somewhat daunting experience, but Freddy kept him up to speed by communicating through his remarkable communication aid.

Darren and Aaron, the new chefs at the Jolly Waggoner and Antonio all helped out and it was off to the Café in search of vegetable stock!!!

Su, the wonderful café cook, came to the rescue and we were later to return to her to do some soup blending, an exercise Freddy repeated in the afternoon on his own – something he quite clearly enjoyed.

Carrot and Potato soup all made, it was off to reward our collaborating team of cooks and chefs from around the farm as well as a co-farmer and others, not to mention the ladies who grew the carrots.

Suitably pleased with his efforts Freddy then announced via communication devise that a LifeTime Achievement Award had been presented to Church Farm!

This is Freddy with Anne, our Director of Horticulture, and The Best Carrot and Potato Soup in the Country.

Rural Care, where care for land and people meet. Rural Care enables people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues to work on a farm, learn skills and make friends. Working on a farm is great way to keep healthy, and build confidence and self-esteem.