We have big plans for this season, but we cannot achieve it by ourselves, we need regular help from local volunteers and travelling visitors, if you think you could put a few hours in to help provide wonderful food for the local community, please get in touch, we can return the favour with a box of vegetables and eggs.
Have a look at our Wwoof profile , and our Workaway profile
Today we have been inspected by the Soil Association. Every year we go through this rigorous inspection where they check our growing practices, our seed and feed sources, animal welfare, documentation, etc etc etc.
So why do we do it?
So that you can be sure that our produce is the best that it can possibly be for your health and for the health of the environment. We are also proud to be suporting the soil association who are a charity campaining on our behalf, putting pressure on governments and spreading awareness. https://www.soilassociation.org/beeorganic/
We started off in May four years ago with a few south facing grassy fields, on which we planted nearly 600 Apple trees over the winter months. We now have four flocks of organic hens and a rich biodiverse environment, where beans, clover and wild flowers are growing under blossoming fruit trees.
The understory planting is designed to suppress the grass while attracting the bees and feeding the soil and then becoming food and cover for the hens.
We don't want grass, as it hinders the growth of the trees. We want the bees to help pollinate the Apple trees and we want our hens to be happy and healthy. We also want to encourage a biodiverse environment so that nature can find a balance that is sustainable and productive.
The Hens are regularly moved around the Orchard, Their houses are dragged on skis with the tractor and a moveable electric fence marks out their fresh plot, leaving the previous plot scratched up and fertilised thanks to the hens, ready to cultivate and plant a new understory cover crop. Chickens originate from the jungles of Asia, and are happiest among trees and plants. while the trees protect them from an arial hawk attack they also provide the accessional windfall apple. They have a varied diet including insects, grubs, fresh greenery, organic chicken food, peas, beans and seeds from the understory crops helping the hens to produce wonderful eggs.
The apple trees benefit from both the presence of the hens and the understory crops. The hens will eat pests that could attack the trees, they knock back any plants competing for nutrients around the tree roots and they fertilise the soil with their poo. Plants such as broad beens, peas and vetches grown under the trees have nitrogen fixing nodules in their roots improving the soil that the apple trees grow in, also helping to produce wonderful apples.
For those that live near Carmarthen....
There will be a new food market starting up in Johnstown, open for business online from on 31st March. Register now, log in, choose your produce, pay and then collect on Thursday 6th April. We'll be there!
This article by the soil association is about our hens at Cwmcou Organics. Setting an example of the highest animal welfare standards.
ORGANIC, ORGANIG, ORGANIC! We can say the word ORGANIC! We have gone through the conversion period, and are now converted... from now on the soil is considered safe to grow food and anything that grows in it can be called ORGANIC! Our eggs are officially ORGANIC EGGS, but we still have to update the packaging. However, the apple trees take another year. We always have and always will grow organically, but now we have a special badge to show off.
You will be please to know OUR SALAD IS UNWASHED. To sell salad as 'washed' we would be obliged to use a disinfectant chlorinated solution. All big retail salad is washed in this stuff, to comply with food safety standards chlorine must be used. We will not be washing our salad. We take great care when picking and packing our salad. We are inspected and approved of by The soil association, food hygiene, health and safety, and trading standard inspectors. Our aim is to create a balance where we provide habitats to naturally encourage predators to eat the pests when the plants are in the ground, and in the packing room we sort through every leaf, but if the odd slug gets through, you can be pleased to know, our salad is unwashed so YOU WILL NOT BE EATING CHEMICALS!
They call this time of year 'the hungary gap', when winter crops are coming to an end and summer crops are not ready to harvest. However, we do have some delicious vegetables available. This week we have been harvesting Spring onions, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, chard, lettuces, parsley, spring cabbages, radishes and mixed salad leaves. With many seedlings planted out recently, we are sure to have an abundance of produce coming up too. i think there'll be enough broad beans to feed all of Newcastle Emlyn . We now have three flocks of hens, who are laying eggs with great enthusiasm. No need to go hungry!
As well as the salad and eggs, we now have courgettes, spring onions, fresh garlic, radishes, broad beans and kale, and a selection of herbs including basil, dill, and chervil.
Find our produce at the Carrot cruncher, Riverside health, Riverside cafe, Pachamama bistro and Cartws cafe
We now have free range hens that are organically fed producing class A eggs for sale.