Much as I appreciate the autumn mists and mellow fruitfulness, I doubt that Keats ever had to sell a cabbage. The autumn makes me think more of a Bristol market trader who, before quoting me a price told me, “Bean time is lean time, boy,” meaning that when runner beans are cropping heavily in late summer, the market will be flooded and he was about to take my legs off with his offer. It’s been a wonderful growing year and right now we are in a similar position; to quote the notorious 1970s drug dealer Mr Nice, “I never meant to sell the stuff; but, try as I might, I just couldn’t smoke it all myself”. I love my veg and do my best to eat whatever will not fit in your boxes, but it is proving a struggle right now and we could do with some help.
Fortunately we are more organised these days; it is a long time since we sent veg on a wing and a prayer to the wholesale markets, only to be told no-one gave a damn if it was organic, so the price barely covered the transport and boxes. Instead where crops have massively out-yielded expectations, the danger is we simply won’t get through them in time. A cold snap to slow things down would very welcome, but better still, introduce a friend to Riverford.
The only area of the farm not looking good is the spring greens. Despite our efforts, all the weeds came up with the crop after the first rains in July. Everyone is a bit depressed about it, but I think that once we have some hard frosts to take out the softer weeds we may still get a fair crop. Looking on the bright side, the field is a favourite for skylarks and there will be plenty of cover and weed seed to see them through the winter.