07 Aug 2018

The last horse-powered farm

Chris Hussey

Having a week’s holiday in Northumbria recently, it turned out that a farm very near to where we were staying is reported as being the last farm in the UK to be worked by horses. This is Sillywrea farm near Langley-on-Tyne. Walking a footpath through the farm I could feel there was something different about the field of barley we were walking alongside; it dawned on me that the difference was the absence of tractor ‘tramlines’ running across the field. Walking on we passed by the farmyard, seeing horse drawn equipment –  a roller and trailer, and later saw two horses with hay rakes at work in the fields. The farm has featured in various articles, including:

“The land where heavy horses reign supreme” (2009)

And a book: “The Last  Horsemen” (Charles Bowden, 2011 [Andre Deutsch Ltd.])

15 Dec 2015

Eggs from rare breed hens

Chris Hussey

A wonderful assortment of eggs from rare breed hens – thanks to Fox Farm Growers (near Hayle), via Constantine Farmers’ Market.

Rare breed hens' eggs
Rare breed hens’ eggs
23 Apr 2015

The lost posts – Apple Tree Planting

Chris Hussey

As an enhancement to the recently re-equipped play area in Constantine, members of the group planted one sunny Saturday sixteen good-sized apple trees in clumps around the area. Hearts initially sank on being told the size of the hole that would be needed for each tree, but fortunately the soil proved to be quite easily dug (!). Some remarkable spade-work saw all the trees planted in a morning.

23 Apr 2015

The lost posts – Farmers’ Market

Chris Hussey

The Transition group runs a farmers’ market in the Church Hall on the second Saturday of every month – and it’s been going long enough now to be almost an institution in its own right. A good range of local produce is always available, with some slight variability in stalls from month to month. Once a year, in August, we migrate to the Tolmen Centre, to make way for the summer exhibition in the Church Hall of the Constantine Art Society. The photo here shows Andrea, from Fox Farm in Gluval, with a tremendous display of vegetables outside the Tolmen Centre.

Andrea's vegetables at Constantine Farmers' Market
Andrea’s vegetables at Constantine Farmers’ Market
15 Sep 2012

The Rebel Brewing Company in Penryn

Chris Hussey

Coincidentally, with the most recent post being about micro-breweries, I found myself yesterday at the Rebel Brewing Company in Penryn.  I had been trying to track down a local source of malt, since stocks of homebrew were starting to reach seriously low levels.  I first tried Kernow Grow & Brew, also in Penryn, who don’t currently supply malt, but they put me on to the Rebel Brewing Company, saying that they would be happy to supply malt, yeast and hops to home brewers.  And so it turned out.

Rob Lowe at The Rebel Brewing Company

I met Rob Lowe, manager and brewer, and was interested to hear about the business and their plans for a move to a much larger unit in the Kernick Business Park in Penryn, sometime in the next couple of months. Particularly interesting (from the Transition perspective) are the plans to make the new unit as resource-conserving as possible.  Rob says they are aiming to install LED low energy lighting, make use of harvested rainwater, and use anaerobic digestion to process what might normally be viewed as ‘waste’ products from brewing, i.e. the spent grain and hops.  I’ll hope to follow up with more information on this in due course.  Before I left I grabbed the photo-opportunity with Rob, and made use of their off licence to acquire some bottles of Barrowboys Bitter and 80/- Scotch Ale.

12 Sep 2012

Micro-breweries in Cornwall

Chris Hussey

I was asked the other day if I could think of any local micro breweries.  I ran through a few that came to mind straight away, but was left with the feeling that there are quite a few more that I had forgotten or didn’t know about.  Fortunately, there is a (nearly) comprehensive list of micro-breweries in Cornwall on the Cornwall in focus website.  Lots of detail there: locations, contact details, brewers, beers made, and even recommendations.  It does, though cover the whole of Cornwall.  Relatively local ones on the list are:

  • Atlantic Brewery (Newquay)
  • Blue Anchor Brewery (Helston)
  • Cornish Chough Brewery (Trethvas Farm, The Lizard)
  • Coastal Brewery (Redruth)
  • Driftwood (Spars) Brewery (St. Agnes)
  • Hogswood Brewery (St. Agnes)
  • Lizard Ales (St. Keverne)
  • The Rebel Brewing Co. (Penryn)
  • St. Ives Brewery (St. Ives)

One not on the list linked to above is the Wooden Hand Brewery, heading up towards east Cornwall at Grampound Road.

01 Sep 2012

Adelaide heading for sustainability

Chris Hussey

After the sober content of the last post, some good news from the latest issue of Resurgence (now Resurgence & Ecologist).  In one article, Herbert Girardet describes the steps the Australian city of Adelaide has taken towards becoming a sustainable city.  In 2003 he was invited by the city to be a ‘thinker in residence’ focusing on the ‘greening’ of Adelaide. He and colleagues produced a report detailing a number of recommendations.  In November 2011 he returned to see what had happened as a result of the proposals made.  He says that Adelaide City Council “had taken many truly remarkable initiatives in the previous nine years”.  Picking a few plums from the list of achievements:

  • Over 26% of electricity is produced by wind turbines and solar PV panels
  • Of 600,000 houses, 120,000 have been fitted with PV panels
  • Solar hot water systems are manadatory for all new buildings
  • 15% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2000
  • 3 million trees planted
  • 20,000 hectares of land near Adelaide used for vegetable and fruit crops

The full report on his Adelaide visit can be downloaded from here.

 

12 Aug 2012

Micro dairies

Chris Hussey

At the last TC meeting there was some discussion about the possibility of a ‘micro dairy’  (along the lines of a micro brewery) given the current issues with dairy farming and milk prices.  There are some examples out there – but I didn’t find that many.  A little investigation turned up the North Aston Dairy featured in this grassrootsfood web article.  The same Oxfordshire dairy was featured in a BBC Radio 4 Food Programme episode back in 2010. This is well worth a listen as it gives a good insight into the difficult economics of dairy farming.  Another example is the Maple Field Milk dairy set up as a Community Interest Company with a grant from the Prince’s Countryside Fund.  A case study about it was published by ‘Making Local Food Work’.  The Maple Field Milk example is also of interest because it seems to be associated with the Campaign for Real Farming, promoted by Colin Tudge.  Finally, I came across an article in Spectator Scoff (also from 2010) on the possibilities of micro dairies.  This article begins as follows:

“Why is it that we are prepared to pay over £3 for a pint of lager, £2 for a cappuccino and £1.50 for a litre of bottled water, but balk if a litre of milk costs more than 75p?”

 

12 Mar 2012

Cider making for fun and profit

Chris Hussey

I stumbled recently across a quirk of the regulations on payment of excise duty arising from the production of cider.  Apparently any individual can brew and sell up to 7000 litres of cider a year without being liable to pay excise duty.  Surprising, but it seems to be confirmed by the Customs & Excise website under the ‘Can I claim exemption from registration’ section.  It seems to have set that way to allow small producers to get a foothold in the market, while not allowing them to become rich at the government’s expense.  Any person wishing to take advantage of this would still need to apply for a personal license  to sell any cider produced ( with more information here ).  Any cider orchards remaining in the parish?

01 Feb 2012

Flour mills in Cornwall

Chris Hussey

Now that we have baking on a commercial basis (Crumbs Bakery) in the village again, I found myself wondering where the nearest flour mill is.  My initial suspicion was that there might not be a single flour mill in Cornwall, but some brief investigation turned up a handful:

The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse (near Newquay)

Cotehele Mill (far end of the county, near Calstock)

Zennor Mill (part of the Wayside Museum at Zennor)

Two of these are operated as part of a ‘heritage’ activity rather than on a purely commercial basis. Does anyone know of any others?