Toady, found in the nature reserve
What a fantastic year it has been for apples, every apple tree I have seen this autumn has been positively groaning under the weight of the crop!
A few weeks ago driving through any village in Dorset you would be met with brimming road side baskets with hand drawn signs saying Windfall Bramleys, help yourself!’. At Naish Farm we currently have 3 apple trees in what was the old Orchard, and we have enjoyed a plentiful crop. The team have devoured apple crumbles and pies for lunch, with lashing of Dorsetshire cream of course!
In October we had a group of lovely visitors join us for a Foodie Safari, we took them on a Somerset tour the highlight of the day was a tour of Somerset Cider Brandy http://www.ciderbrandy.co.uk/ We enjoyed a beautiful walk around some of their 150 acres of orchard, a tour of the distillery and plenty of tastings, we all came away slightly giggly and rose cheeked! I’d highly recommend paying them a visit, there are lots of footpaths in the area, nestled deep in the Levels it is a truly magical place.
We are very excited to have received delivery this week of the first fruit trees for our Orchard. One of the fields here at Honeybuns used to be an apple orchard, it was grubbed out in the 1950?s as many of the trees had become too old and damaged. We are now planning to reinstate a section of orchard of mixed fruit and nut trees, we’ll plant around 50 trees, choosing rarer English varieties such as russet, medlar, damson, quince, walnut as well as some old re discovered Dorset cider apple varieties such as Buttery Door, Cadbury and Golden Ball. Our aim is to have a crop through out the season and share it with the local community, like a crop share. For a small donation to our Bee Green fund or some help gathering the crops we’ll invite locals in to help themselves. We’d also like to team up with local schools, again sharing our crop and teaching them the importance of eating with the seasons, celebrating all of the wonderful English produce our special county has to offer.
There are lots of like minded individuals across the country starting similar community projects see http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ to find out more.
Also you are interested in old tree varieties and the history of cider making and how you can get involved this website has lots of info; http://www.dorsetcider.com/
Our apple trees on a frosty morn
Yet again the wildlife here in the nature reserve has benefited from the setaside areas, our vole population seems to have boomed. We were also very pleased to discover a hornets nest in the roof of the bakery, Hornets have become quite rare and dispute their reputation are docile and very beautiful creatures, we are glad to offer them a home.
Bird life on the farm is also doing well, we have a patrolling sparrow hawk that is seen most days, a small flock of goldcrest in the pine trees and the first flocks of redwing and field fare have started to arrive for the winter.
The nut feeders and bird tables are of course being visited by the usual suspects blue, great, coal and marsh tits, robins, wrens, sparrow, black caps, greenfinch & dunnock.
See RSPB website to see how you can encourage birds to your garden http://www.rspb.org.uk/
The team veg & fruit patch and poly tunnel have again given us a plentiful supply of home grown goods, we’ve enjoyed carrots, beans, courgettes, leeks, beetroot, tomatoes, chilli’s, strawberries and rhubarb.
We created a kitchen garden at the back of the Bee Shack in the summer with herbs and salads planted in old cake tins and biscuit barrels, tea pots and even spuds in carriers bags! – Following our make do and mend philosophy.
We’ll keep you posted with the orchard project, we should start planting next week.
Thanks for reading