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Field Notes - News from the Farm

25th March - 31st March

Welcome back to Field Notes. Each week we will be bringing you news from FarmED: from what’s happening in the fields and hedgerows, to updates from the farm to fork Café and the conference barn: a space where people from all walks of life meet to find out more about regenerative agriculture. Come with us on a one-of-a-kind journey as we ride the natural highs and lows of farming life.

Field Record: What's been happening on the 107 acres of Honeydale Farm?

The sheep are back on the farm for 2024!

Last week was a special week on the farm as we celebrated Easter and welcomed in the month of April. April tends to be a busy month on the farm, marking the time spring begins to really flourish. This month will see us welcome in new life as calving season begins and hedgerows explode with vibrant flowers and edible plants. Fawns will tenderly follow their mothers in their first few weeks of life, while our pastures become a kaleidoscope of green and yellow. Cowslips are emerging in the pasture fields,  and now the days are longer, migratory birds will soon start appearing from the south.

Cafe Catch-Up: What's new in the cafe?

This week, our cafe had a special visitor: Mike Jackson, an MBE recipient for his 60 years of community service. He shared his story of transforming his Sheffield garden into a wildlife haven. With mixed borders, two ponds, a bog garden, and areas for rewilding, Mike's garden hosts 50 bird species and regular visitors like badgers and bees. His aim is to inspire everyone, no matter their garden size, to turn their little patch of green into a haven for wildlife. Hosting Mike was an honour, and we hope that his legacy will continue for many years to come.

Mike Jackson proudly posing amongst the daffodils with his MBE

Garden Treasures: What’s been happening down in the Kitchen Garden?

This week down in the garden we’ve celebrated the elements in all their glory, from driving hail to glorious bursts of spring sunshine and shimmering double rainbows. 

The drastic changes in weather has required extra care and planning from our team as we planted new seedlings, making sure we give the crops the best start to their early lives. We’ve recently planted carrots and leeks and we’re also getting a head start on spring lettuces, radishes, mangetout and potting tomatoes. In summer, the polytunnel transforms into a beautiful, lush jungle with the tomato plants towering above us. 

Volunteers spent an eventful morning at Lyneham Heath farm on Thursday, where picking up some beautiful rich compost for our soil turned into a real adventure. With rolled-up sleeves and high spirits, the team shovelled the compost in record time, transporting it into tonne bags destined for our soil. But, just as we were wrapping up, Sam’s trusty horsebox got stuck in a muddy quagmire and we found ourselves in a (quite literal) sticky situation. With teamwork, ingenious methods and a lot of lifting, digging and pushing, we eventually got it out of the mud and cheered as Sam drove the freed horsebox down the drive. It was all worth it in the end, as we celebrated with a delicious local bacon sarnie and hot coffee from Sam’s shepherd hut. This compost has now been laid in two of our polytunnels in ‘soggy’, prepping the beds for onions and kale. 

We also have an exciting date for your diaries! This Saturday (6th April), The Kitchen Garden People will be featured on Prue Leith’s new ITV series - Prue Leith’s Cotswold Kitchen. Tune in at 11.40am to see us in action as we’re celebrated as a ‘Food Hero’.

The team hard at work!

Events Recap: What’s on at FarmED?

Herbal Ley Course

The group went out to see our herbal leys in the glorious sunshine

Last week began with one of our staple courses, Herbal Ley Establishment & Management, held in collaboration with Cotswold Seeds. With tickets sold out, it was brilliant to host so many passionate people all in the same room. We started by looking at our own diverse herbal leys on the farm - a blend of grasses, legumes and herbs, before hearing from experts Sam Lane and Paul Totterdell from Cotswolds Seeds and experienced farmer, Rob Richmond. The group were taught why herbal leys are so important for soil health, biodiversity and livestock health, and left fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to start their own herbal ley journeys.

Fashion Mumblr - Away Day

We warmly welcomed the team from lifestyle blog, Fashion Mumblr, for an away day last Thursday. The team of four spent the day learning about sustainable agriculture, admiring our gorgeous views and sampling the delicious food from our farm-to-fork Cafe. Our agricultural lead, Kate Henderson, led them through an introduction to the world of farming, and, in-between rain showers the team were taken on two farm walks where they could see regenerative methods in practice. They left with a knowledge of the farming year, an insight into the history of agriculture, how to identify different grains and seeds, and a newfound passion for the work we’re doing here at FarmED. 

Looking for a place to host your own away-day with work? Find out more on our website by clicking here.


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