Are you ready? There has been ample warning. There’s no excuse. I’m talking about the impending heatwave. It’s going to be scorchio. Upwards of 30 degrees by Wednesday, and on Tuesday night the Met Office is saying that the minimum overnight temperature….the minimum…..will be 20 degrees! That is going to make for very uncomfortable sleeping, or lack of. I’m going to have to be a brave soldier and open my bedroom window, in the sure and certain knowledge that soon after 5am Beryl the vocal cockerel will be shouting his ruddy head off! He’s guaranteed to wake me, and even if he doesn’t I will wake listening out for him, anticipating him disturbing my precious beauty sleep. During the heatwave I will practice what I preach, by drinking lots of water, and I will apply handfuls of sun cream when I venture out in the extreme heat, but it’s best to avoid the worst of it, so maybe I should get up with Beryl, take the middle of the day off, and then work again in the evening….we’ll see.

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk last Monday, along with Megan from The Ultimate Joint (farmers from Rickinghall), to talk about the farmers’ market at Wyken. I had prepared some bullet points to best promote the market, but found that by the end of my 5 minutes of fame I hadn’t really said half of what I wanted to. We had been told that the producer of the show would call us 10 minutes before going live to tell us what Lesley Dolphin, the presenter, would be asking. She called me at 1.20, and when I asked when I would be on she said now! It wasn’t a disaster, and if anyone actually listens to Suffolk Radio it wouldn’t have hurt the market too much, but afterwards I was left feeling frustrated for not putting on a better show. Megan was good though.

Tomorrow I have got my annual audit/inspection by the Soil Association, and I’ve still got a lot of documentation to get in order. I have to have sales records, invoices, crop yield records, copies of suppliers organic certificates, pest and disease management data, crop plans, and all sorts of other stuff that I have probably forgotten about. I even have to know what the suppliers of my manure feeds their animals!The man that is conducting the audit is very nice, so I’m not expecting too much of a battering, but I will be glad when it is out of the way.

Choice in the ‘shop’ is a bit limited this week, because I’m not buying much in. However, there is a little treat for those that would like to take advantage. My ‘Royal George’ peaches have ripened all of a sudden in the greenhouse. They are only mini in size, because I refuse to thin them out, but they are lovely; they will be in punnets of 5. The European Kiwi fruit season has finished, so I will not be offering them until early next year. French/Runner beans are tantalisingly close, with small pods forming – I have already had a few for personal consumption. But for this week broad beans continue to be the only available legume. The ‘Maris Bard’ early potatoes have all been sold now, so at present there are only ‘Charlotte’ on offer; it is a waxy spud that is lovely boiled. I will be pulling some ‘green’ onions this week, which will be bunched. There is red and green loose-leaf lettuce, together with bags of mixed lettuce. Cucumbers are cropping well now, so there shouldn’t be a shortage this week, and I am hoping that the fine weather will mean the same for tomatoes too. Courgettes are now all from the garden, and are the stripy Italian variety ‘Cocozelle’. I grow them for their flavour; I happen to think that they are particularly tasty, but they are not grown commercially because they don’t grow uniformly, and therefore do not comply with the ridiculous requirements of the supermarkets. There are mushrooms, chard, red cabbage and new season leeks.

I will be at Wyken as usual on Saturday, and Jennifer will be at Steeple Bumpstead.

I had better get on with ploughing through this paperwork for tomorrow; wish me luck.

Phil

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