Chagfood is now taking on new Members for the 2014-2015 season. Chagfood is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme which was launched in March 2010 and has since been providing 70 local households with a weekly supply of ecologically-produced, seasonal vegetables.
Chagfood is not simply a veg-box scheme, its a new approach to buying fresh food which involves consumers in the risks and rewards of farming. Members are buying a “share” of what is ready to harvest on the field each week and and take an active interest in where their food is grown and how it is produced. As a result you will quickly become aware of what is in season in each particular week, how the weather affects your crops and what it is like to taste truly local, fresh produce. Chagfood hosts open days and seasonal festivities where Members are encouraged to come along and meet each other, see how their vegetables are growing and help out with seasonal tasks, this is also an opportunity to share in the rewards of the farm.
As well as the rewards that come from being part of a local food scheme members are also sharing in the risks of the farming year. If it is a good season for a particular crop, you can enjoy a bumper harvest, if however crops are lost due to pests or we are unable to harvest due to the weather, members share this loss between them. This year we’re expanding both large and small shares available. Small shares are suitable for individuals or a household of two and cost £440 for the year, or £36.66 a month. Large shares are suitable for a family household and are priced at £600 per year, or £50 per month. All shares are based on an estimate of 40-weeks supply throughout the growing season, beginning in June and ending in February.
To find out more about how Chagfood works click here
-If you would like to subscribe, or find out more about the scheme, please drop us an email; email@example.com or give us a call on 07858 381539
As a grower it feels a little bit cheeky to have a favourite vegetable. In an ideal world all of you luscious Chagfood vegetables would be grown with indiscriminate attention to detail and careful husbandry. Regrettably this isn’t the case. Leeks have always been, are probably always will be, Eds favourite. And although all of the veg grown at Rushford this year has been cared for to the best of our ability our four leek beds – containing between them around 7,000 little beauties – have received unfair attention.
Using our newly-imported horse-drawn riding cultivator we have been able to thoroughly weed the leek beds every week throughout the main part of the summer. The result has been very clean growing conditions of which the little darlings have made the upmost.
The three varieties we have grown this year; Bandit, Tadorna and Hannibal, have been chosen to provide a broad supply throughout the autumn and winter months and, thanks to generous helpings of well-rotted organic muck combined with a fantastic growing season, we have managed to produce our most impressive leek crop to date.
Dear Chagfood Members!
It is with great pleasure that we deliver your first Chagfood box of the season. After weeks and weeks of cultivating, sowing, planting out and weeding in the baking sunshine it feels like we’ve had a fantastic start to the summer and the crops are looking very healthy as a result. The picture on the right shows our sprinklers in action at Longfield today – testament to the fact that we’ve recieved less than 3mm of rain over the past month!
Inside this week’s box you’ll find the first crops grown on our new site at Rushford Mill. The waxy new potatoes are from a variety called “Casablanca” and have been growing since mid March. They are best lightly boiled for 10-12 minutes and then eaten immediately with a sprinkle of salt & pepper and healthy serving of butter. You will also find either a spring cabbage or some kale which was sown last autumn and has grown right through the winter. The crispy fresh mixed salad was grown at Longfield along with the beetroot, chard, fresh herbs and flowers (for those of you fortunate enough to get them this week).
This is a true early season box which represents the end of the hungry-gap and the start of the fresh vegetable year. We hope you enjoy eating it as much as we’ve enjoyed growing it .
Some of you will have heard by now that we are holding our inaugural “Annual potato weeding party” tomorrow (Friday 12th July) from 9am at Rushford. You are all invited to come along to see the new field, help us find the potatoes, have some tea & cake and join us for a swim in the river. It would be fantastic to have as much help as possible – even for an hour or so. We’ll be there all day so feel free to call us for directions and pop along anytime.
Things are well and truly underway with the growing season. This week we managed to plant out around 450 squash plants at Rushford and place an old tyre delicately around each one. This is a handy tip passed on to us by another local grower and the hope is that the tyres will warm up in the sunshine and create a sort of micro-climate around each plant. As a result we would hope to get an improved squash harvest compared to last year – even if the weather remains unsettled for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile we have been attempting to do battle with a sudden wave of weeds that has swept over the potatoes. We have hand-weeded 600m of a total of 3,000 meters. It is important to keep the potato ridges clean as it makes for much easier and more efficient harvesting – and this is one of those jobs which will save a lot more time in the future if it is done right now.
Over at Longfield the majority of the salad and leaf crops are planted out, along with the fennel and herbs, it often takes us by surprise this time of year just how quickly the field changes from a patch of cultivated soil to a flourishing market garden over the space of a few long days. Jobs over the next week will include planting out several hundred sweetcorn seedlings, a few hundred cauliflowers and a renewed weeding campaign.
Thank you to all those of you who came along to our fourth annual summer open day on Saturday. The weather was fantastic and the cakes were spectacular. We are still looking to take on more members for this year so, again, please pass on the word and tell people they are welcome to pop in to Longfield anytime to have a look around.
This week’s share will be available from your usual collection points slightly earlier than usual, from Thursday 20th June. There is a bag of salad and a bag of spinach or chard for everyone. Please note LARGE shares receive a slightly larger bag of both salad and spinach/chard than SMALL shares. The two sized bags will be kept separate at your collection point and clearly labelled. Please make sure you know which size share you have and take the correct bags, otherwise we tend to spend a lot of time harvesting extra produce for those who miss out.
Until next week – enjoy the longest day – and the inevitable sunshine!
Chagfood community market garden is now taking on new members for the 2013-14 growing season. We are holding our annual summer open day on Saturday 15th June from mid-day until late. Come along to see the fields and working horse demonstrations, bring a picnic, meet the growers and find out more about the scheme, children’s activities, tea & cake.
Chagfood is a community supported market garden which supplies ecologically-produced veg-shares to Chagford and neighbouring parishes. It is a subscription farming scheme meaning that customers become members and commit to support the garden from April to April each year, in return they receive an equal share of what is harvested from the gardens each week. Chagfood members tend to feel a lot more connected to where their food is coming from, they are actively involved in the risks as well as the rewards of the farming year meaning that if there is a bumper crop everyone gets a bit more, but if there is a crop loss everyone gets a bit less.
Chagfood shares are available in two sizes, a small share costs £440 for the year or £36.66 each month, a large share costs £600 for the year or £50 each month. Everything Chagfood produces is grown within one-mile of Chagford meaning that our supply is entirely seasonal, we aim to supply a full box from July through to Christmas with smaller seasonal shares each week from January to June.
For more information click “how to subscribe” or get in touch.
On Friday we took the regrettable and last minute decision to postpone our planned spring open day. Unfortunately we had 35mm of rain over 48 hours from Wednesday evening and the forecast for Saturday was just as bad (see the photo). Although we know many of you would have braved the elements just to show your support for our wonderful community market garden – we thought it would be much better to postpone the event until we can actually enjoy some spring weather at the field.
The new date for your diaries is Saturday 13th April from noon until late – when there will be tea, cake, children’s activities, working horse demonstration & bountiful sunshine! Not to mention our free prize draw giving you a chance to win a “Tea for Two” at Gidleigh Park Hotel – just by turning up! We’ll be publicising the event nearer the time but in the meantime please pass on the word and help us to make it a real springtime celebration to be remembered!
Chagfood’s annual Harvest Festival took place on Saturday 20th October in a blaze of autumnal sunshine. The event was particularly well timed to coincide with one of the only clear days in the past month giving us an opportunity to harvest our plot of heritage wheat. The spring-sown wheat seed was donated to Chagfood from the Oxford Bread Group and is a variety specific to mid Devon which has been bred from seed found under a medieval thatched roof – it has the wonderfully charasmatic name of “Devon Orange-Blue Rough Chaff”. The harvest was helepd along by several willing helpers who brought along their own sickles and helped to bind the stooks before they were loaded onto the Landy to be take to a dry barn ready for threshing. We hope to complete the process of threshing and milling over the coming weeks so please get in touch if you would like to get involved.
The day also included an apple-pressing session using a mobile press provided by Grow Chagford. In total around a tonne of apples were pressed with the majority of juice being taken away by members and visitors – we did however keep a bit of juice back for ourselves for a little’bit’o'Cider. In the evening a bring & share buffet was enjoyed by all before a marathon storytelling session around the fire provided by Tom Hirons & Rima Staines. Judging by the scores of faces in the firelight the adults were just as enthralled as the children. The evening was rounded off by some music around the fire under a clear sky and a cresent Harvest Moon. Proper.
Chagfood is pleased to announce we will be holding our first composting workshop with the Reverend Nicky Scott on Saturday 14th July from 11am-2pm. Nicky, arguably the country’s leading compost guru, will be demonstrating how to achieve the perfect mix of “greens” and “browns” to give you the ideal compost material. As well as a practical demonstration you will be able to take part in building your very own compost mound picking up tips every step of the way. The event is free to Chagfood Members, non-Members are asked to make a donation. Please bring food to share for lunch and share transport if you can. Also please call Yssy on 07852 280469 if you would like to attend so we can get an idea of numbers.
Things are starting to take off down at Longfield and Meadow field. This week we managed to plant out nearly 800 courgettes, squashes and pumpkins along with a few hundred sweetcorn seedlings in between the deluges. As you can see from the picture, along with the broad beans, peas and salads which are well away, Longfield has once more started to resemble a splendid market garden. Next door in Meadow field we have our full 2-acres well and truly under cultivation with the leaf beets, spinach and chard growing merrily in the humid weather, the onions looking particularly healthy after a good weeding and 1.5 kilometers of spuds bursting through their ridges. We’ve even found time to plant up a small patch of heritage wheat which we are hoping to mill later in the season for a combination of bread and beer! Chagfood Members are already enjoying the first outdoor salads of the season with a few exotically named varieties making an appearance for the first time including “Flashy Butter Oak” and “Bridgemere”.
On Saturday 19th May Chagfood will be joinging thousands of farms, gardens, schools, cafes and restuarants up and down the country to celebrate the start of the growing season in a day of celebration of Real Food. Food Revolution Day has been organised by the Jamie Oliver Foundation to inspire change in people’s food habits and to promote the mission for better food and education for everyone.
As your local community market garden we think its our responsibility to put on a good show for the day – so that’s exactly what we’re doing. From 12.00pm we’re throwing open our beautiful gates to invite Members, local residents and visitors to see what Real Food looks like in action. We’ll also be putting on vegetable-themed activities for children, tours of the gardens, working horse demonstrations and, of course plenty of tea and cake for your refreshment.
Bring a picnic to enjoy in the sunshine, bring friends and family and a shared interest in what Real Food is about. We look forward to seeing you all there!