Summer heat

On the farm, July and August is a strange time. It’s quite challenging in that there’s a lot of visitors and therefore a lot of picking to do. Hot sunny afternoons make work almost impossible, which then means coming back later in the day and eating in to evenings. But it also means lots of people around to buy produce (particularly welcome this year after a complete lack of people before July 4th), and a real abundance of crops.

As spring gives way to summer the leafy crops come in to their own – salad, kale, chard and other greens. These are followed by early potatoes and carrots. The carrots this year have been exceptional!

Then there were the courgettes…and more…and even more. Great crop but simply not enough mouths to eat them all! Some have ended up going to be made in to courgette wine over at our friends at St Martin’s Vineyard We’ll see how that turns out later! Anyway now we are selling nearly all the courgettes – thank you hungry campers.

Then as we start getting the heat come the fruiting crops. The strawberries this year were really good, and hot on their heals have been a really good crop of tomatoes – which will continue until October at least. alongside this there have been good crops of basil from the tunnel and some reasonable (though not record breaking) cucumbers.

As we move in to the real warmth of the summer come two of the most satisfying (and very low maintenance) crops from the polytunnels – grapes and peaches.

We’ve got two varieties of grapes, one red seeded – which is always earlier, and a white seedless (my personal favourite). This year the yields are heavy, and with the nets in place to prevent hungry blackbirds and thrushes gorging themselves on succulent grapes, we’re looking forward to selling lots of grapes.

Red grapes
White grapes

I’ll give an update soon as we move on perhaps the best season of all, late summer/early autumn, where you get the sweet spot of all sorts of vegetables and fruits at the same time.

Jonathan Smith

I started Scilly Organics in 2003, and it was the first certified organic farm on the Islands. We continue to supply the highest quality fruit and vegetables, available fresh on our stall and at certain eateries on Scilly.