Notes from the Farm - May 2024

Notes from the Farm - May 2024


Farm Managing Director


Pop by our Pimlico farmshop to see our stunning display for this year’s Belgravia in Bloom, a celebration of native British wildflowers including phacelia, red clover and long grasses from our organic Market Garden at Daylesford and the surrounding farm, headland and estate. We grow these special plants as strips of “green manure” because they nurture the soil naturally and provide food and shelter for vital pollinating species, from bees and butterflies to insects of all shapes and sizes. We let them bloom and go to seed to support the pollinators – and let us collect seeds to grow more year on year. 


We celebrated World Bee Day on 20th May, always a good reminder of how important pollinators are to life as we know it. Scientists estimate that pollinators are responsible for every third bite of food we consume. Without them, our food supply would be gravely threatened, and we simply would not survive. Since the 1930s, the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows, which is why supporting these vital creatures by highlighting the challenges they face, preserving their habitats and choosing local, responsibly sourced honey is so important.


Three cheers for our Bakery team on their success at the recent Britain’s Best Loaf competition, winning accolades for the classic Seven Seed Sourdough and recently launched Wild Garlic & Double Gloucester Ciabatta loaves. 
Our bakers have also have some delicious new creations for summer, including an Olive and Chilli Fougasse with a light, crisp ciabatta-style dough studded with kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh red chillies and capers, and a Heritage Tomato Focaccia which combines one of the hero crops from our Market Garden with extra virgin olive oil, fragrant oregano, lemon zest and a twist of black pepper.


After a wet winter and spring, the sunshine has been most welcome on the farm and we are looking forward to the summer solstice next month. It’s the perfect time of year to combine the first of the new season’s crops from our Market Garden with organic, high-welfare meat from Wootton and Daylesford available from our butcher’s counters and online.
The dairy heifer calves and the beef calves from the dairy herd are also enjoying the sunshine. They stay on the grass from May until late autumn, eating nourishing clover-rich organic pasture and gaining up 800g a day. With grass being such an important source of nourishment for our animals, we must look after it as carefully as any other crop. Topping the paddock, or regularly cutting the tops off the grass, improves growth and nutritional quality, and also helps encourage the plants to draw down atmospheric nitrogen into the soil and sequester carbon – three clear reasons why it is an important practice in sustainable, regenerative farming.

As the saying goes, ‘April showers bring May flowers’, so after a particularly wet start to spring, it has been wonderful to see Daylesford come into full bloom over the last month. We've harvested hundreds of tulips from the farm’s polytunnels and the cutting garden is now carpet of colourful stocks, phacelia and red clover - all great sources of nectar for our various pollinators.  
It was a joy to celebrate the launch of Daylesford’s Wildflower collection with a special lunch in our Pimlico farmshop - happily coinciding with local flower festival, ‘Belgravia in Bloom’. Our new blue and white homeware pieces have been designed in collaboration with my brilliant friend Hugo Guinness, taking inspiration from the farm’s vibrant wildflower meadow of cornflowers, poppies, flax and blue vetch. Not only are these botanicals reflected in the collection’s designs, but I loved seeing how our chefs incorporated them into our lunch, from flax and nettle crackers to dandelion, endive and rocket salad and a fragrant honey and elderflower ice cream. Nature is always my greatest source of inspiration when planning menus and table arrangements - something I’m excited to reveal more about in my new book, Daylesford Living: Inspired By Nature, which is due to publish on 4th July 2024. I will share more details next month, but for now, you can register your interest to pre-order one of the first copies here