Mixed leaf salad is top of the crops again

Here at Eves Hill Veg Co we have come to the end of our second growing season at Eves Hill Farm. We’re still harvesting away (just) in rain, sleet and snow, but really feeling that we have harvested the fruits of all our labours and are ready for a Christmas break.

We’ve just completed our annual Top of the Crops report, with our mixed leaf salad coming up tops again – this year we sold more than £4,000 of it.

Mixed salad also topped our income per area of beds with £17.47 made for every square metre of salad we grew. This was closely followed by our amazing cucumber harvest, which came in at £17.33 per square metre. The total weight of our harvests was more than 2.6 tonnes.

These results were due in no small part to the larger polytunnel our volunteers helped put up in January and the ongoing support of our wonderful volunteer team.

Our target this year was to grow and sell £11,000 of produce and this week we passed the mark. We haven’t quite finished our volunteer log, but we do know that we received more than 2,000 volunteer hours in the first nine months of this year – a lot of flapjacks!

Our winter project is to review, evaluate, plan and strategise. We now have two advisors on board as part of the Bright Ideas programme and we’re hoping their support and ideas will help us develop our social enterprise model in 2018.

Meanwhile, Tom has joined the team part time for six months to help us develop our volunteer programme and opportunities for developing participation programmes at the site and beyond.

We are also launching a 100 Club to fund our Future Farmer Apprenticeship for 2018 (or the Growing a Grower Apprenticeship). Details will be forthcoming (we’re waiting for new bank account details), but with the help of Andrew Hadley we are hoping to raise funds in what we’re calling “old school crowdfunding”, which means everyone pops a little bit in the pot, but there will be cash prizes to be won.

This will enable us to create a first job in agriculture for a young person, grow a grower of the future and enable us to achieve even more at the garden.

If you think you can support us to spread the word please let Andrew, Tom or I know. And if you are looking for a Christmas present for someone, we’ll happily share the details now.

Our next open day will be the last weekend of January (more details in the New Year. We are also hoping to redesign our open days with workshops next year.

Our last veg bag this year is Thursday 14 December. Veg will resume in an ad hoc way in the spring and then back to veg bags in June/July.

Our last volunteer day this year is Wednesday 13 December, restarting Tuesday 9 January. Volunteer days will be on Tuesdays in January and February, then back to Wednesdays from March.

We will again be running our trainee programme in 2018. This is a 1½-days-a-week voluntary programmes that runs from April–October, covering all aspects of market gardening and community growing. Details to follow in January. This year we took on three trainees and we’d like to do that again.

Thanks again to all of you who have supported our project this year: given up your time, bought our produce, watered our plants, shut our polytunnel doors, leant your advice, made cake, enthused and rallied us on. If it takes a family to bring up a child, it certainly takes a community to support a farm.

Hannah Claxton 07876 354363 or email hannahclaxton@googlemail.com