When it comes to the north-south divide farmer Andy Blair, a Yorkshireman, knows where his heart belongs.
However, when it comes to his feet that’s a totally different matter.
Farm manager Andy is enjoying a surge in popularity – in the south in particular – for a crop he is growing on 850 acres of land at Redhouse Farm at Gedney Dyke.
It’s kale, a crop considered good for cattle feed in his homeland, but which has joined the ranks of the superfoods and is consumed for its health benefits by many people in the south.
Andy said: “We have been growing kale for quite a long time, but its real success has come over the last three years when the celebrity chefs have got behind it. It’s a fashion, but people are enjoying it and repeat buying.”
The vegetable is a significant crop on the farm, as are the nearly 500 acres of leeks and the 250 acres laid down to spinach.
Andy says: “We double crop the land, so we get two crops of spinach in a season. It grows very quickly in the summer. At this time of year the growth cycle is 25 days from drilling to harvest, in contrast to the other two crops that are long season crops.”
The kale harvest began in mid-June and continues through the winter and into April, when the vegetable is then imported from Spain until the new UK crop is available.
Andy, whose family keep a small traditional farm in Yorkshire, has worked for Emmett, the company that owns Redhouse Farm, for ten years. He’s been at Gedney Dyke just over five years.
Redhouse Farm opened to the public for the recent Open Farm Sunday and Andy said it was a really good day. Farm staff showed visitors the work done to produce the kale and the measures taken to protect farm wildlife.