Castle Farm Organics, Midford, Bath

by Silvana de Soissons3rd October 2014

For our new Bath shop {soon to open, we promise} we are always on the lookout for great, local food producers and today was a very special day out for us. We wish we could have taken all our loyal readers, followers and customers to see this paradise. 

 

We drove all the way to Midford, south of Bath, to Castle Farm Organics, to meet Jo Edwards, who, along with her husband Mark Edwards, runs the beautiful 50 acre plantation known as Castle Farm Organics.

 

Certified by the Soil Association, you know upon entering that this private, idyllic spot is a haven for wildlife and biodiversity. As far as the eye can stretch, Mother Nature has staked her claim on this fertile market garden terrain.

 

There are beds of borage, nasturtiums, cabbages, lettuces, beetroots, carrots, potatoes, rosemary, lovage, parsley and coriander, as well as orchards, polytunnels and fields of pumpkins, onions and leeks. Jo and Mark also rear cattle for beef. They work round the clock to maintain and manage this extensive plot. 

 

An hour with Jo will leave you enthused, informed and inspired by organic agriculture – she believes in feeding and nurturing the soil with huge quantities of rotted manure first and foremost.

 

Then comes a careful selection of seeds – she favours biodynamic seeds from Stormy Hall and also Edwin Tucker Seeds.

 

As bees, butterflies, dragonflies, ladybirds and moths fly and flutter around you, she picks tiny little micro-salads, fresh herbs and flowers for you to taste and try, excited about varieties, colours, tastes and uses.

 

Her enthusiasm is contagious - you will find your eyes darting from left to right, trying to absorb all the colour and detail of this magical horticultural world. 

 

Inside a working barn-workshop Jo and her team work to create interesting veg boxes for delivery to nearby customers, as well as wholesale orders for top chefs, restaurants, hotels, cookery schools and delicatessens in and around the Bath area.

 

The total time span from plot to plate is a few hours at most - some of the salads and herbs are bagged and labelled, but most of the fruit and vegetables are left loose in a wooden box, and still smell of soil and warmth, fresh, fragrant and firm from picking.

 

Cut-and-come again plants grow out in neat beds as well as under cover, slowly, organically, much of the plantation at the mercy of the vagaries of the unpredictable British climate – this is not a job for the faint-hearted.

 

Untimely October heat and sunshine has brought on an invasion of aphids – one of the many issues the organic farmer cannot resolve with chemicals or pesticides.

 

At lunchtime the team sits in the sun, eating the fruits of their labours: delicious vegetable soup and tuna salad with nasturtiums and crisp, green delicious leaves. A more peaceful spot you could not find. 

 

We look forward to stocking this beautiful produce – creating a fruit-vegetable-herb rack that is a seasonal surprise. We cannot compete with supermarkets on price, range or quantities – but there is a growing number of consumers that prefers to eat within the bounty and glut of the season.

 

It's better for taste and also for the wallet. 

About the Author

Silvana de Soissons is the founder of The Foodie Bugle Shop and its journal. You can follow her on Twitter @SilvanadeS and @TheFoodieBugle.

 
 
Castle Farm Organics, Midford, Bath, BA2 7BU

Castle Farm Organics, Midford, Bath, BA2 7BU