Springtime at Kilduff Farm
Spring is in the air…for now! New life is unravelling and, as I type, we have glorious blue skies here on the farm. Admittedly, this could change at any moment but, for now, I am holding on to the little things, and enjoying every snowdrop, crocus and daffodil that is slowly emerging from its slumber.
Spring is Springing
So what do we have in store as a new season begins? On a working farm things never really stop, but the farm is definitely starting to get busier again after a slower spell. We have begun sowing our spring crops and are pushing to get our beans, oats and Canadian red wheat into the ground before the end of March. Keep your fingers crossed for us that the weather plays ball.
All of our pumpkin seeds for The Patch have arrived, as has the compost from Smeaton Garden Centre. We are becoming more confident in our knowledge of what varieties suit the farm best but, as always, we are trialling a few new varieties again this year. We are always keen to learn. Pumpkin seed sowing will begin in earnest at the end of April.
The Orchard, which we established this time last year, is bursting into life with lots of buds appearing on the trees. I can’t wait to see how it looks when the blossom appears.
Our bees will be back on the farm soon too, so fingers crossed for lots of fruit on our trees this year.
Cooking Up New Ideas
Last month, I stepped out of my comfort zone, took myself away from the farm and headed to the bright lights of Edinburgh to do a week long cookery course at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School. I have always loved cooking and have taught myself largely by pouring over stacks of recipe books. A cookery course has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember though and the week long course at ENTCS surpassed all my expectations.
I spent the week with lovely people, learning from wonderful teachers and I came away with sharpened culinary skills, a whole load of confidence and a belly fit to burst! I had a really wonderful week, and if you’re keen to learn, whatever level you are at, I can’t recommend ENTCS enough. In fact, I’m trying to work out what course I can do next. Take a look at their website for information and inspiration Edinburgh New Town Cookery School.
Grow Your Own Pumpkin At Home
Following the success of last year’s Grow At Home Pumpkin boxes, we have launched a new box for 2022. Jam-packed with everything you need to create your very own pumpkin patch in your garden, or perhaps even a garden at school. We think they would make a really lovely Easter or unique spring birthday gift too. Head over to our website to have a look. Grow at Home Pumpkin Kit
Pumpkins and Dahlias
As many of you know, we’re always planning new projects here at Kilduff and we do love a challenge. Sometimes I think we’re a little nuts but at least we never get bored! So, it will come as no surprise that we have exciting plans for The Patch this year. Dahlias seem to be the new ‘in thing’, which is lucky for me as they’re one of my favourite flowers. I’m delighted that, with a little help from a friend, we have managed to persuade Russ to try to create our very own Dahlia patch. Alongside sunflowers, cosmos, white clover and phacelia, our dahlias will add a fantastic colourful dimension to our pumpkin festival. A feast for our precious pollinators and beautiful locally grown blooms for your vases at home. Watch this space as we get to grips with planting and caring for a whole new type of crop!
Kilduff Farm Produce
Over the last couple of years we have been exploring what the farm can offer in addition to our traditional arable crops and, of course, our pumpkins. We now have a few products in our Kilduff Kitchen larder and we are excited to continue to expand our offering. If you have visited The Patch you will have seen our Kilduff Honey for sale. Our blossom honey, both runny and set, comes from hives on the farm and the bees foraging on nectar from the farm’s unique biodiversity.
In 2020, with a view to reduce food waste, we decided to take the apples collected from an existing orchard on the farm and have them pressed in the Scottish Borders. We have worked hard to develop our apple juice and now have two types, one sweet and one dry, produced using only apples from the farm. Having planted a new orchard with over 1500 apple and pear trees last year, 2022 will see us establishing a new pressing facility on the farm. Our aim is to harvest the fruit from the orchards and press all the fruit from the orchards ourselves this autumn.
Last year we also grew a small test crop of Canadian Red Wheat for our neighbours, Mungoswells Malt & Milling, just two miles along the road. As part of this relationship, we had a special small batch of both white and wholemeal strong bread flour milled, using the wheat grown in the fields here at Kilduff. The epitome of ‘field to flour’. Of course I love using it in the bread I make at home, but we were delighted to receive the thumbs up from Great British Bake Off finalist, cookbook author, guru on all things bread and doctor, James Morton too. Thanks James!
We are very much in the early stages of developing our farm produce and working out how best to get it to customers. We will have our produce available to buy on our website for collection over the next few weeks, but if you would like to find out more about our produce in the meantime, please do get in touch. The Kilduff Kitchen door is always open.
Take care, Lucy x