Our hens do a pretty good job of clearing their ranges so, when they change flocks over and move the house onto fresh field, they plough up the old range space and grow a crop of corn or vegetables.
The hens are pretty good at ‘fertilising’ the outside space and they provide us with a lot of rich manure which is a really valuable resource to an organic farm.
After they have grown a crop they reseed the space with a mixed and diverse organic grass seed mix to provide a high quality, clean and fresh range for hens when the house returns in a couple of years time.
Orchard organic farm - Three people sowing spring onions whilst seated on the back of a tractor So they are lucky to have good quality soil and all the resources to grow good crops.
They grow organic vegetables directly for Riverford as part of their South Devon Organic Producers cooperative which means that the crops grown are part of a rolling two year plan to keep their vegetables boxes full.
This means that before they even plant a seed, they know what price they will be paid and that all of the crop will be taken, which is a very unusual and beneficial relationship.
Orchard organic farm - A close up shot of a row of courgette plants growing in a field Plus the coop allows us to share labour, specialist machinery and knowledge and support. This year they are growing:
Courgettes Runner Beans Squash Cauliflowers Leeks All grown without a trace of chemical fertilisers or sprays, so great for us and great for nature too.
They pop a few misshaped or sized vegetables into our little farm shop for others to try.
Hopefully you will agree that they taste great and are good for you.