Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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From the Farmer

  • Medlar harvesting will be the last of the orchard fruit to pick. Always after the first good frost.
  • Winter beans went in after potatoes, to hopefully give us an earlier crop than the spring grown varieties.
  • New raspberry canes on order – 500 of 3 different varieties to plant over the winter.
  • All the deer for miles around have found our sweetcorn – Fallow and Muntjac feeding away every night.
  • Turkeys happily listening to radio 4 – tripwires and night security out to make sure we don’t get “poached”.
  • Beetroot is being harvested but a lot will stay in the field. Round bales are ready to roll over them to protect from frost. Carrots / Parsnips / Swedes and Turnips are ok as long as we can still get forks in the ground.
  • The last few winters have been mild, maybe this year will be different. Water bowsers and petrol pumps need preparing as pipes in the fields freezing is the only main issue.2017 - Oct cow - Emma P
  • Cattle went into winter quarters on the 3rd of November. This has saved 13 days of straw and hay compared to last year. We are looking forward to being able to turn the cattle out earlier in the spring next year. Several fields have a good 8-10inch of grass still on them, and the “Timothy” grass in the ley’s grows first in the spring.

Tim

 

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Fin meets the pigs!

More Pain and More Pleasure

Fin meets the Pigs!

Fin’s Second Adventure.

May 2nd 2017

National Walking Month

Dr Finlay and Fin both liked to get up early and were off walking well before the children got to school.

Fin had “accidentally” struck Dr Finlay on the knee as they gathered themselves to leave but Dr Finlay put it down to Fin’s asymmetrical shape rather than any ill intent.

They were looking for an adventure and had in mind the nasty nettles that sting and to try and discover if the nettles would sting Fin as they did Dr Finlay.  Fin would have to be brave for this of course but in fact they got distracted.

Some funny, pink, four legged creatures caught their attention and chased after them as they walked by.

“What strange and needy creatures these seem to be,” muttered Fin to Dr Finlay.  “Us trees or bits of trees don’t chase people, we just stand there being elegant unperturbed by the passing world.”

“Perhaps you are right,” replied Dr Finlay, “but these pigs don’t have so much time as you, their lives are short whereas yours is long.”

“A pig may only live for two or three years whereas a tree could be looking down at the world for a hundred years or more.”

Fin still wasn’t quite sure what to make of these odd creatures but he was certainly getting to see a different world from his own.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 2nd 2017

 

 


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A Farm to Produce Food for People

Church Farm Ardeley is a “community interest company” set in order to innovate and create sustainable small farm enterprises. It took us 6 years of huge losses and a steep learning curve to get to full production and to break even! It is still a work in progress and a never ending challenge.

We produce every cut of meat, every vegetable and fruit we can here. Value is added through doing our own butchery and processing, making ready meals and we are reliant on people eating our food to sustain the farm in the pub, café, and direct farm retail.

To produce such a wide range of food, without using fungicides and pesticides, and in a manner we are proud of, takes a lot of people. We have a core team of full and part time people who help across the enterprises, we provide supervised work experience for adults with difficulties and education, have volunteers, students and interns contributing to getting the huge amount of work done to grow food and bring it to market. In all there about 48 full and part time staff on the payroll to run the farm, café, shop and pub.

We grow:

Livestock includes:

· British Lop, Large White & Berkshire breeding sows, boars, weaners and finishers (120)
· Red Poll and Red Poll Cross Cattle and Followers (80 head)
· Llyen, Suffolk, Texel, Black, White and Badger Faced Welsh Mountain sheep and fat lambs (140 head)
· Light Sussex, Cuckoo Maran, Black Rock, Rhode Island and Hybrid Laying hens (750)
· Outdoor reared table poultry – we produce 50 a week
· Norfolk Black turkeys, Embden geese, Aylesbury ducks, Bee hives and Apiary Garden

In addition we coppice and produce over 1500 bags of logs, make kindling, and grow some Christmas trees.

Thank you to everyone who eats our food and enables us to farm.

—Tim Waygood