Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day, Cold Spring, Soil Association Inspection, Organic Food Sales

May Day and we are blustering into the month with tempest, wind & rain. It is proving to be a very slow cold spring though the birds are singing cheerfully & certain plants are flowering though the hedges are not fully green yet & trees are still skeletal in outline. The oak trees are beginning to show glimmers of greeny-gold leaves but the black ash buds are still tightly closed...'Oak before ash in for a splash...' are we going to have a dry summer?
 Our fruit trees are coming into blossom and so far the blossom has managed to stay on the boughs despite the battering winds that have been howling around us.

It is such a cold spring and for the first time for many years the dairy cows are still coming in at night at this time of year and we are struggling to make the silage last. Once the weather warms up after the rain of recent days the grass will romp away, though the forecast is not very optimistic about an improvement in the weather very soon.

In spite of the unseasonal weather our guests in the cottage &  the gypsy wagon continue to arrive and spend happy times discovering the area. To come back to a roaring log fire after bracing walks on the beaches is always good.

Tomorrow we have our annual Soil Association inspection so the Farmer is spending time sorting out the paperwork and getting everything ready. The paperchase as usual is hideous involving purchase receipts, lists of ingredients in any bought-in animal feeds, as well numbers of livestock of all kinds, how much farmyard manure is applied, how much muck our pit holds, how much silage we make or buy in & proof of its organic origin...the traceability of everything is paramount & rightly so
We attended a meeting last week with representatives from OMScO (http://www.omcso.co.uk/) for our bi-annual update on the state of the organic market. It was very shocking to learn that the UK is the only country world-wide where the sales of organic food are dropping. In Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand & elsewhere production is struggling to keep up with demand. Much of our milk is still being exported. Why do Britons not want organic food? The excuse given is price, but in actual fact organic food is no more expenbnsive than conventional & sometimes cheaper. The market is controlled by the four main supermarkets & unless they are prepared to be interested in organic food, which they are not, the consumer will not even think about buying organic.

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