Farming is a 24/7/365 business and Cresswell Barn Farm 2018 was no different.
The rain and cold weather at the beginning of 2018 delayed the planting of a wide range of potato varieties. From early to salad to main crop, each variety is grown to suit the customers across the UK.
The ground was sticky and wet, so we had to wait until the fields were dry enough to make sure the seed potatoes did not rot in the soil. As the spring approached, we were able to plant all the fields and hit our targets even though the team was working until late in the night to get them all in.
Once in there seems to be a little lull in work as we wait for the first green shoots of the new crop to push through the surface and reach out for the life-giving sunshine. By May, the earlies were looking as if they would catch up. The sun was shining and a regular check on the progress of each variety was done weekly.
On the 17th of May we were delighted to see a new set of gangly legs taking their first ungainly steps in the paddock. Orange had given birth to a foal – Cresswell Bluebell. A thrill for all the family. You can follow the development of Bluebell on the campsite Facebook page. By the end of 2018, Bluebell has grown into a confident little horse.
After the cold and wet of the early part of the year we were now faced with a new challenge… too much sun and not enough rain. We started to prepare our irrigation systems – known on the farm as the irritator because it kept going wrong – to make sure the growing plants would get all they needed.
By mid-summer we started to lift the salad potatoes, a little small but delicious for the table. By August the hot weather had cooled, the rain started to fall. Away went the irritator system and nature was doing its bit to water the crops. Yields were looking good considering, with a lot of the potatoes misshapen the overall yield was down – The supermarkets don’t like misshapen vegetables, so they are rejected. This is lucky for passing trade as you can pick up a big bag of spuds from the Farm Shop at bargain prices.
After topping the maincrop we started the long job of lifting all the main crop.
Each variety has to be lifted separately to make sure the distributor gets the right potatoes in the right boxes. These are then washed and packed and you can find them in all the supermarkets around the country. Look at the labels for Ian Elliot as farmer on the origin label.
Lifting the potatoes went on into October with a good yield after all the weather we had in 2018. So when you are in the supermarket look out for Producer on the labels. the one with Ian Elliott is ours and can be found in all the major supermarkets. Take a photograph and send it to us with the location of the store. We will post them on our Facebook Page.
The winter is a time to sort out the machines choose seeds and plan the potato harvest for 2019. And perhaps fit in a short holiday, Bangor here we come!!
Come February and we will be ploughing and preparing the fields to start growing a new crop of potatoes that will feed the nation in 2019.