Clouds on the horizon

Newsletter 27th November 2017

Weathering the weather
Apparently 2017 has been the wettest season for 80 years, with rainfall totalling 170% of the annual average.  We don’t keep detailed records of the rainfall totals on the farm (though it is on our list…), but we noticed that from August onwards there have been a lot of rainy days.  This has resulted in some of our brassica plants (cabbages, kales, broccoli etc.) being smaller than they might be.  While this means that they fit more easily in your fridge, we do worry that it is not a great sign.  The wet caused delays with our potato harvest, and farmers around us struggled with their cereal harvests.

The Scottish Government is sufficiently worried about the longer range weather projections that it about to set up a special advisory panel to help farmers and crofters respond to the effects of severe weather on their businesses.  We are fortunate to be located in the east of Scotland, which is generally spared the worst of the wet.  We have a friend who farms organic dairy cows in South east Scotland, and he is considering how much longer this is a viable option because the constant wet makes it difficult to grow enough quality winter feed and straw, and the cows damage the pastures if they are out in wet conditions.

Finding ways to cope with the weather is an integral part of farming.  It means doing critical outdoor jobs when the weather permits – regardless of what else might be on your calendar or on your wish list.  For us smaller scale farmers, who can harvest much of what we grow without machinery, the wet weather is less of a barrier to getting crops in – we just have to be very hardy and invest in good waterproofs – but we do need enough good weather in the growing season to produce a crop that is worth harvesting... Here’s hoping for a good balance of sunshine and showers in 2018.

Christmas and New Year delivery dates
We take a two-week break to re-charge our batteries over the festive season.  Last deliveries for 2017 (eek!, already?!) will be Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st December.  First deliveries of 2018 will start week beginning 8th January. 

If you are a fortnightly customer please take a look at a calendar and let us know if you want to change weeks to receive an earlier delivery after the break, as those of you with deliveries the week before Christmas will not be due another delivery until week beginning 15th January.

If you are away over Christmas be sure to let us know using the order suspension function on your Vital Veg web page.
If you would like extra veg for Christmas to feed family and friends then the last date for orders is 17th December.  If you want anything that we buy in (fruits, mushrooms, eggs), the earlier you can let us know the safer – otherwise we need to rely on our slightly hazy crystal ball to place our order with our suppliers at noon on 13th December.