From One Extreme to The Other

06 June 2020

May was officially the sunniest since records began. With a total of 185mm of rain in the year to date, we have gone from one extreme to the other. The unbroken sunshine is a welcome distraction from the ongoing lockdown, but signs of recovery are beginning to show with more people visiting the East Neuk and enjoying the stunning scenery.

Helped by the weather and long days, we have made great progress on some of the routine jobs at this time of year. With more land entering organic conversion again this year, the team have been busy fencing and making sure fields are stock proof ahead of the ewes and lambs moving onto new grass leys.

Our 2019 sown herbal leys have severely limited in growth as they had wet feet for the first six months of life and now dry. However those sown several years ago are now beginning to overtake the standard ryegrass and clover mixes – particularly in the dry period. With deeper roots able to access moisture. With 19 species of grass and herbs in their diet – the lambs and beef will taste fantastic – If you are not sure – contact Sophie at the Butchery at Bowhouse where you can learn 1st hand.

All of the cattle sheds have been cleaned out, with the pressure washer following close behind, so that we can bring sheep in to be clipped over the next week. The heat has meant that shearing can be done earlier this year which the ewes will appreciate. Lambs are growing rapidly and we will begin to sell the first new season lamb in the weeks ahead.

Silage making is imminent, with limited grass growth, but high quality due to the sunshine increasing natural sugars, we hope for a winter larder full of conserved grass. Grass is cut in the afternoon and left to wilt, this increases the concentration of sugars and decreases the moisture ready for raking into rows and chopping with the forager. Once in the silage clamp, the grass is rolled to consolidate and remove air, before being covered in a plastic sheet to begin the fermentation process. After 6 – 8 weeks, it could be fed to livestock, but we hope to leave ours until the middle of winter, as cattle will be outside on grass until as late as possible.

Bowhouse Link continues with weekly collections and deliveries and we are delighted to have managed to raise over £500 for the East Neuk Foodbank during lockdown. In addition, we have been able to help small producers generate over £23,000 of sales direct to customers and maintain production. With the growing season now in full swing, we are seeing more produce available every week look forward to seeing more customers able to join the weekly collection as restrictions are lifted.

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