2014 has been a record breaking year. Our asparagus was ready earlier than ever before, as were our first crop of strawberries. We're not complaining: after last year's washout spring, watching our veg and fruit ripen and be ready to harvest so early has been wonderful, allowing our customers to enjoy the 'fruits of our labour' for a longer period than ever.
However, like an athlete that's peaked too early, this fabulous spring has meant that at a time when strawberries should be at their picking peak, a time when the main crop and later summer crop usually segue seamlessly into each other, there's now a breathing gap as we can only wait for our summer crop to ripen in the mid-summer sun. We admit, having a slight hiatus between our main crop of strawberries and the summer crop has never really happened before; late June is usually the time when you can't move for the juicy, plump berries, usually at their very best around the Strawberry Fayre. Believe us when we say that it's as frustrating for us as for our customers, but as farmers we are always at the whim of the weather; if it's not too wet, then it's too dry, too cold or this year, too sunny. So, it's not really a case of strawberries behaving badly, rather weather behaving oddly.
We're consoling ourselves with the fact that unlike the England team's early departure in this year's World Cup, this isn't total knockout, more like waiting on the bench to re-group. And, when the strawberries ARE ready in mid July, they'll last throughout the summer holidays, good news for all those parents who've told us their kids love wandering through the aisles of fruit with their punnets.
With every cloud, though, there's silver lining. Our tayberries are ready now, again, earlier than ever before and there are loads of them. If you've never tried them, they're a cross between blackberries and raspberries, deliciously plump and named after the river Tay, in Scotland (Scotland being the place where they were first developed in 1979). They make wonderful jam, are a unusual and eye-catching topping when popped on a pavlova and our fave, tayberry fool!
The warm weather also means that our raspberry crop is starting now.
We'd like to thank ALL of you who have been so patient and given us your support. We couldn't do this without you!