What's in Season?
Autumn could quite possibly be our favourite time of the year. Yes, summer is lovely and the fruit options are endless but as the weather turns, what we crave, very much changes...
Winter Cabbage - Savoy, January King and Tundra are all available at the moment. A perfect accompaniment to a comforting winter dish
Chestnuts - A true sign of autumn with the being of chestnut season.
Romanesco - Our homegrown crop is well under way. This attractive looking product hopefully will continue through to Christmas (weather depending!)
Leeks - such as versatile vegetable and our homegrown crop should take us right through to spring
Fresh Figs - whether using in a savoury or sweet dish, these are bang in season.
Kale - such a popular option now. We have the traditional curly kale along with, Cavolo Nero, red kale and this iced kale too!
Local Apples - some great options on local apples at the moment, including these staples - the Bramley
Sprouts -We have a bumper crop again this year, whether you are in the market for loose, prepared, stalks or the tops, we have it all covered
What's happening in the world of homegrown?
This season we will farm around 60 acres based at Bintree in North Norfolk. We have a traditional set up where we produce multiple crops throughout the year. Many farms now just specialise in maybe one or two crops but we enjoy a challenge and like to be able to offer our customers a brilliant selection of homegrown produce 12 months of the year.
The Brett family behind Fresh Approach are now in their 20th year of growing and so much has changed in that time. Starting out with just 12 acres, limited machinery but with a real drive to become bigger and better each year has seen us to where we are now. We love the fact we get feedback from our customers and we see the meals and the extravagant displays they create using our produce which is just great. Ultimately it's our customers that drive what we grow each year.
Our Plan for 2021
There are big plans afoot for 2021 here on the farm. We are excited to receive delivery of our brand new lettuce planter, which this year is going to allow us to produce 6 times the volume of little gem we grow to just over 410,000, in addition to all our other beautiful varieties. We also plan to increase the acreage of cauliflower we produce this year to enable us to supply our own product through the summer months on top of our usual autumn and winter crops.
The farm plans include all of the usual customer favourites including our rhubarb starting in March and spring cabbages kicking off in April, where the full range of cabbages will follow. In the summer months we have all our lettuces, broad beans, beetroot, bunch carrots. As the year progresses with have a mammoth crop of leeks planned along with curly kale, cavolo nero, pumpkins and squashes. We finish off the season with the British favourite of sprouts, sprouting broccoli and our relatively new crop of kalettes.
Winter crops are a go go
Just as we start to enjoy autumn and all the lovely things that come with the changing colours of the countryside (although we have to say we don't want to see another pumpkin for a while!), we are head first into our winter crops. There is such an abundance of produce coming off the land at the moment and it's great to see the final products after months of care each of our crops receive.
Currently we are harvesting some super cauliflower, cabbages including, Savoy, January King, Tundra and the red and white cabbage. We have a healthy crop of Kale and this year we have added a little Red Kale and Iced Kale to are usual Curly and Cavolo Nero varieties. With both of these new additions, they don't crop quite so heavy as the other varieties but it is nice to be able to offer an alternative for a while.
One of our major crops that we would have planted out back in June are our sprouts. This year we have increased our crop to 46,000 plants. We make full use of the crop and very little (hopefully) goes to waste. We harvest the tops as a lovely budget friendly green and we then pin point these stalks to be put through our harvester for loose sprouts. The sprout stalks are as popular as ever and they are looking super handsome this year (if we do say so ourselves!). We are also able to offer prepared homegrown sprouts too, upon a little notice. The majority of prepared sprouts offered out onto the market are from Holland so it is lovely to be able to offer our Homegrown sprouts pre-prepared to local restaurants. I'm sure like pumpkin season, when we get to sit down with our families at Christmas we will be sick of the site of sprouts, but for now they are a nice new addition to our offering.
With all harvesting going on a the moment it's hard to think too far ahead, but unfortunately in farming decisions have to be made many months in advance. Currently it looks like we will be farming slightly more land next year, giving us the opportunity to grow a little more than this year, which will hopefully enable us to keep up with increasing demand. Like many businesses it's a very uncertain time for farming, with record high fertilizer costs and the real shortage in labour, it's harder then every to predict what the world will look like in 6 months to a years time. Many larger scale farms appear not to be taking the risk and are scaling back the amount they grow next year, as this year has been tough and it doesn't look like its going to get easier. It would be such a shame that as a country we would have to rely on importing crops that we are so experienced in growing. With the great support for our produce locally and now further afield too, we hope to continue producing some of Norfolk's finest produce.