As a passionate supporter of sustainable farming I was delighted to read Michael Grove’s recent statements in support of sustainable farming, starting with a ban on neonicotinoids to protect our valuable soils.
As autumn reaches its peak, Daylesford’s Environmental Scientist Tim Field gives us an insight into various sightings from around the farm and tips on the wildlife we need to look out for as the season for hibernation closes in. “Now is an excellent time to see wildlife on the farm.”
I have always loved keeping hens – for the sheer enjoyment as much as for the promise of fresh eggs each morning. Hens are engaging and inquisitive creatures that really are low maintenance and rewarding to keep.
The Game season is almost upon us, bringing with it warming stews, delicious game terrines and tender loins of venison. To celebrate the season our Cookery School is holding three special classes, which make the most of the bountiful wild larder that is available right on our doorsteps.
As we gathered the honey from our hives in the summer, we were mindful of the remarkable effort that goes into every precious golden drop. The hard work of the bees begins long before harvest and at Daylesford we are committed to supporting our favourite pollinators throughout the year.
For me, there is no comparison to the classic English rose, picked straight from the garden and brought in to the home as part of a simple posey. Our cutting garden at the farm is filled with organic seasonal blooms and is now open for pick-your-own afternoons every Wednesday throughout September and October.
Our busy bees have had a great spring and summer this year, with plentiful hedgerows, orchards and good flying weather in the early season all contributing to a bountiful harvest. The fields of wildflower and lavender that we have at Daylesford, together with the second flowering of clover and Sainfoin have also bolstered their reserves, making this one of our best years yet for our estate honey.
In November 2015 we launched Agricology – an online and in-field platform offering practical information and advice for farmers about sustainable British agriculture. It is a fantastic, much needed initiative and I am very proud to be a founding trustee. Over the past two years the website has grown into an interactive, online resource centre, brought to life by a regular stream of industry news, educational resources and blog posts and a monthly video diary of agriculture at Daylesford provided by Richard Smith, our farm manager.
This summer we are holding a special series of children’s floristry classes, which are a wonderful way to encourage budding floristry skills in children aged 5-12. On Thursday 20th July our floristry team are holding Children’s Jam Jars: a fun morning exploring the market garden to learn about how plants grow and to gather flowers, before making pretty jam jar arrangements to take home.
The Market Garden is somewhere that I love to escape to whatever the time of year, but it is during the summer months that the garden really comes to life, overflowing with vibrant fresh, organic produce. Spread over 25 acres, the garden is tended to by our Head Gardener, Jez, and his team and between them they grow and produce over 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables and salads using entirely organic, sustainable farming methods.
Flower pressing is a traditional pastime that has been enjoyed for generations and is something that I love to do with my grandchildren. Join us at the farm this Saturday 8th July to explore the Daylesford estate and gather beautiful blooms for pressing, to create pressed flower designs that can be used to make cards, window art and keepsakes to take home.
As we enter high summer the bees are at their prime. Despite many negative stories surrounding the plight of the bees, many farmers and beekeepers are adopting a suite of measures to give our essential pollinators an opportunity to thrive.