Summer on Kirton organic farm

Organic farmer Andrew Dennis.
Organic farmer Andrew Dennis.
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While crops drip with rain new growth glistens. Brassica plants close ranks becoming green seas; weeds peep through.

Farm manager Michael Summerland orchestrates a team of tractor-mounted weeding machines on this organic farm where herbicides, or any sort of ‘cide’ come to that, is banned under organic rules. We turn to guided steerage hoes, brush weeders, harrows, burners, the same assisted by teams of human hands; all moving towards the same impossible purpose: a spotlessly clean field. It’s working better this year and Michael’s turning the farm round step by step: beetroot grows away steadily, cauliflower and broccoli ditto, the potatoes look clean. We struggle most with the arable fields but we’re getting there.

Have you noticed the great swath of grass? How suddenly it grew? Now is the time of the first haylage cut. The grass is mown, turned, wilted to a limited extent, baled, wrapped and carted away. Like all growers and gardeners we’re thinking winter before midsummer while cattle graze like Gods beneath a silvery luminous sky. In the aftermath of the horse meat scandal Woodlands organic meat sales have rocketed.

Lambs grow away, turkey chicks peck about, curly coated pigs sleep, vegetable boxes resemble vivid impressionist paintings such are their rainbow colours.