Well, every year we say there’s a new challenge, it usually involves the weather but this year it was the virus!
All the tunnels were sown ready for the new Season before Coronavirus struck. The salad was all ready to be harvested just as all the restaurants were shut down overnight!
As a consequence of this awful pandemic our local, independent shops have been incredibly busy as people have shopped much closer to home than usual. This has meant loads of new customers for our Wonderfully Tasty Salad Leaves. All these people have for the first time discovered a fantastic, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to the usual supermarket offering. We would love to retain these customers – as would all the shops – when things return to normal.
Restaurants are starting, cautiously to open but without many of them our trade is not what it would normally be- so in order to survive we have been doing everything ourselves and roping the kids in to deliver, weed, strim, rotavate, build tunnels, plant out, you name it!
Over the Winter I finally got round to making large batches of the salad dressing we’ve been enjoying at home for many years. Using the Honey from our own Bees and local Risbury Rapeseed Oil we’re really pleased with all the wonderful feedback.
We have also gone back to growing a wider range of crops. When we first started out, 10 years ago, we grew pretty much everything and just had one polytunnel for salad leaves. Gradually the land has been filled with tunnels for more salad leaf production but as have always sold the excess from our own Veg patch and couldn’t keep up with demand we decided, this year to plough up any spare bits of field that we couldn’t fit a tunnel on!
So we are currently growing four types of Kale, Rainbow Chard and Tenderstem Brocolli. I had dreamed of employing someone to pick all the veg but – thanks to that virus again – that’s how I’m spending my Weekends!
And finally…. We have..at last..launched our online shop! It’s really for people who have had our salad leaves whilst they’ve been in the area on Holiday and then want to be able to have them when they get home. It also seems that, as a result of Lockdown, people are using online shops more and more. We don’t envisage it will ever take the place of our fantastic local shops and loyal customers , it’s just a vehicle to spread Lane Cottage Salad Leaves a bit further afield.
Despite a rather odd 2020 we still have the usual problems; not enough water, too many weeds, voracious flea Beetles and other Critters but we keep going….
Mandy, Richard and the Lane Cottage Team