All in a Day's Walk

A month-long slow food walking performance

Archive for Farm

Solar and salad

Caplor turbine

Solar panels

Today I’ve arranged to talk to Chris from Caplor Energy – the renewables ‘wing’ of the farm business here where I live. They specialise in solar photovoltaics and solar hot water systems. As a renewables geek, I’m inordinately proud of living here, where pretty much every large south-facing roof is covered in panels and the water in our shower block and livery yard is solar-heated (even Merlin is a fan). And we have a 15kW Proven wind turbine. In terms of energy for this project, all my space-heating, water-heating, and cooking is being supplied by my wood burner, fuelled with local wood. But I’ve also ‘allowed’ myself electricity – for light and computer only – on the basis of all this local renewable generation, the largest array on the barn just above my head as I type. It’s not a closed-loop off-grid system at Caplor, but I’m curious to ask, if it were, how much energy of the farm business and community’s energy needs would be met by the renewable installations. Chris gives me a tour and answers my questions and I’m particularly interested to learn that it’s winter food storage (potatoes) that takes a considerable amount of the farm’s winter energy use. The edited highlights of our conversation are here (with the interesting noises-off of two of the farm blacksmiths working in their nearby forge!)…

Audio Track: Caplor Energy

Home sweet home

Solar hot water 2

Solar hot water 1

Later I walk to the village to catch the last post and stock up on local apple juice, the sun already setting. As I cut across the rec ground, they’re cutting the grass and I’m trying to work out why it’s making me hungry. Then I realise the smell of the grass is making me craving the juicy greenness of summer salad…

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Freshly mown rec ground

‘So that we don’t carbon ourselves into oblivion’

Yare Farm

Walking to Yare Farm

This morning, I walk over to Yare Farm again to pick up some more flour. It’s a beautiful day to be out but I need to rush back because I’m interviewing Gareth Williams – farmer at Caplor and my landlord – just after lunch. There’s a rainbow out as I walk over to the farm office.

Rainbow over Caplor

And I’m particularly interested in what Gareth has to say about local food, because we’ve had many informal, brief conversations about this in the past and the posters on his office wall might suggest this is something he has an interest in.

Eat local food

Buying local

But he shares some unexpected perspectives with me in these edited highlights of our conversation which ranged from food, farming, floods, economies of scale and globalisation… COMING SOON!

Pedigree Phocle Herefords at Caplor Farm…

Caplor Herefords 3

Caplor Herefords 2

Caplor Herefords 1

Old cider press in the barn…

Caplor cider press 3

Caplor cider press 2

Caplor cider press 1

Fownhope Farm Shop

Fownhope Farm Shop

The Fownhope Farm Shop has been my mainstay and local food hub since the start of this project. Conveniently located almost literally on my doorstep, there has been a farm shop selling local produce at Caplor for the past 6 years or so. Originally this was the farm’s own initiative with all the produce grown on the farm itself, supplying not only the shop but also local schools and restaurants. It then went through various iterations – including a local food and crafts shop staffed by farm residents – before being taken over this year by Dave and Elise Shuker. They now manage the polytunnel on the farm and also keep pigs and hens here, but they stock a range of produce from surrounding local food suppliers. Sourcing all the food locally is at the centre of their ethos, knowing exactly where and who it’s come from: their own eggs, honey from Brockhampton, apple juice from Carey Organics, their own veg (in season) supplemented by a range of vegetables from Aconbury, Allensmore, Bartestree, Holme Lacy and Stoke Edith. Before going for a walk with my friend Sue who is staying,  I visit the shop today. I ask Dave to draw on my map the exact locations of the places where all the vegetables I’ve purchased so far have come from, so I can plan my walks there accordingly and maybe contact the producers. Below is an edited recording of one of our many conversations as I shop…

Audio Track: Fownhope Farm Shop

Shop Open   Fownhope Farm Shop Christmas Tree   Seasonal produce calendar 1   Seasonal produce calendar 3