This month’s Q&A is with Vicky Whiteley from Whiteley’s Farm and Farm Shop

Pumpkins

Pumpkin gathering at Whiteleys Farm (photo thanks to Jen Chillingsworth ).

How long have you been farming?

Amazingly, this year will be our 30th anniversary.  I know – I don’t look old enough!

How many acres does your farm cover?

We have just taken on some adjoining land which will double the size of the farm and bring the total area up to 60 acres.

What types of farming do you do?

As well as growing vegetables and salad greens, we also have a nursery where we grow herbs, plants, shrubs, bushes and trees. We keep free-range chickens and ducks and an apiary for our bees to produce honey. We sell all the produce in our on-site farm shop as well as at local farmers’ markets. As if that isn’t enough, we also run a landscape gardening business.

That seems to be a lot of work. How do you manage to keep on top of everything?

Honestly?  Some days I have no idea!  There are always jobs to do – planting, tending, watering, weeding as well as harvesting, loading the truck and selling in the shop and on the markets.  In the summer we are working 12 to 16 hours a day which is a long hard six months.  Winter means only working in daylight hours but it can feel longer especially in the cold, wet and snowy days.

As a farmer you are obviously at the mercy of the British weather to produce your locally grown produce. How does that affect your business?

Well there is only so much we can do to protect against bad weather conditions.  The winter in 2011 was so hard all are vegetables just froze in the ground and then this was followed by a summer that was so wet we could not sow the seeds.   We do what we can by growing under polytunnels, and choosing varieties that cope with our British weather.

What is your all-time favourite TV programme?

Roots

Have you had any odd requests at the farm?

Some time ago we were asked to provide all our scarecrows (we have eight at the moment) for a film set on some nearby allotments as they thought this would add a bit more interest to the scene.

Do scarecrows work?

Yes, we make them out of old clothes and use them to make the wood pigeons think there is someone in the field. Old, traditional methods have their uses, especially in the garden.

What is your favourite song?

Lettuce from America by the Proclaimers

Christmas is coming but what is next on the agenda for you?

Well, Christmas is a bit away for us just yet.  Halloween means harvesting our pumpkins. There’s something fantastic about seeing a field of bright orange pumpkins and knowing they’ll be bringing joy to children.  Pumpkins are becoming more and more popular – not only decorative but a great edible vegetable too.  Don’t waste the flesh you cut out to make the lantern – make a delicious soup to serve on Bonfire night.  So, if you want one, you can get yours this week at Oakwood Farmer’s Market.

What is your favourite Film?

Pumpkin Iron starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Thank You Vicky

Voluteer 4

Oakwood Farmers’ Market relies on volunteers to organise and erect the market each month.

If you are able to offer an hour of your time once a month to help, please get in touch using the Contacts Form on our website marking the Subject “Stall Volunteer”.

 

 

Festival-web

 

The first Roundhay and Oakwood Festival is being run by OTRA from Saturday 25th October to Sunday 2nd November.

The festival which covers music, arts, literature, poetry, comedy, children’s activities and craft and taster sessions – is being held at venues throughout Oakwood and Roundhay.

Come along and find out how you can get involved by in visiting the Roundhay Live Stall this month,. You can also download the Flyer here.

Not only has Vicky Whiteley been busy making her stall look very attractive she has just started her new blog page.

Take the time to check out http://www.whiteleysfarm.blogspot.co.uk I think you will find it very interesting.

Of course you could always chat to her about it by coming down to the market this Saturday 20th. September.

Veg-1swVeg-4sw Veg-3sw Veg-2sw

 

Each month we will conduct a short interview with one of our regular or guest stall holders to give an insight into how the goods on offer at Oakwood farmers’ Market actually get to market.

This month our Q&A is with Steve Shearman of Church View Farm Eggs.

Church View Eggs

Church View Farm Eggs

Oakwood Farmers’ Market Q&A 

How long have you been keeping Chickens?
Since I was five years old. My father was a poultry farmer and I very quickly developed an interest in the chickens, ducks and geese that has never left me. In fact I feel an affinity to all animals.

What is your earliest memory?
I’m not sure which was first, a chicken or an egg

How many chickens do you have at the farm?
At the moment we have 1200 chickens. We also have approximately 50 ducks and 18 geese.

Are all your chickens free range?
Yes

If they are all free range how do your round them up at night and get them inside their poultry house?
We don’t round them up. They go back in to roost when it gets dark. That is why it is very difficult to have a social life in the summer because we do not finish work until all the chickens are safely inside. 

Where is your favourite holiday destination?
We do not have holidays because we have to look after the chickens.

Which actor do you wish could play you in a film about your life?
Gregory Peck

How many eggs do your chickens lay each day?
We get more or less 1000 eggs per day

Do you have any time for other interests?
I keep rare breed chickens which I take great pride in and at the moment I am President of the North East Region of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.

How long have you been racing pigeons? And have you been successful?
It seems like I have been racing pigeons all my life, and not wishing to brag I have probably won every local race that has been organised at some time or another. I get a lot of pleasure from the sport.

Have you ever told a bird that you love her and not meant it?
No!

Do you think that the birds have characters?
Definitely they do. We adopted a goose when a friend passed away, and as he was called John Clarke the goose became known as Clarky. He was a bit grumpy and wanted to let everyone know he was the boss, but he soon became part of the fixtures and fittings of the farm. We adopted him 35 years ago and sadly Clarky passed away only three weeks ago. He had had a good life though and he was a real character.

What is your favourite song?
Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan

Do you have a mission statement or motto that sums up your attitude to your business?
Yes we have two, “Quality not quantity”, and “We believe that we do not have customers we have friends that buy our eggs”.

What would your super power be?
Flying. In fact I have got to fly now, see you later.

Thank you Steve.

 

WI Logo

The Roundhay branch of The National Federation of  Women’s Institutes will be at the August Oakwood Farmers’ Market where they will be showcasing their future talks and activities, as well as having an “Inspiring Women” Quiz.

If you want to know more about when and where they meet and how to join why not come down to the market and I am sure they will be only too happy to inform you, or you could visit their web site.

If you’re looking for a way to use up the calories from all the delicious produce at Oakwood Farmers’ Market, we might just have the answer.

Our parent organisation, REAP, has kindly given us details of a walk in LS8 and the surrounding woods.  The route will take you through paths familiar and unfamiliar via the ginnels and paths that add to the charm of Roundhay and Oakwood.  Full details are on the map which you can access and print off by clicking here or on the picture below.  Hope to bump into you on the way!

Ginnel Walk and Woods Walk Pic

Well we certainly had fun last year when the Roundhay Ukulele Group played for us.
The good news is that they will be here again on Saturday 16th August, so come down and be entertained.  Jenny will be happy to chat to you, and tell you how you can get started playing the ukulele or maybe join her classes (no strings attached).

You can always remind yourself of last year’s performance by revisiting our Oakwood Farmers’ Market Movie; they start playing 10minutes and 26 seconds from the start.

Ukulele Group 2

AMA Logo June 2013

Come and meet the About My Area team at Oakwood Farmers Market on Saturday 16th August to register for your free e-newsletter and be entered into a prize draw to win a £40 voucher for the new bar and restaurant “The Woods” in Chapel Allerton.

About My Area is the website that tells you what’s on in the Roundhay and North Leeds area.

Not-for-profit groups can put information on About My Area for free – from toddler groups to tombola, football to flower arranging. So if you’re doing it, and want other people to know, AboutMyArea can help you do it. They already work closely with Roundhay Live to support local groups.

Alternatively, if you have a business that would like to get in front of this large and loyal audience, with unlimited editorial to enable you to get your message across, come and speak to the team to find out how affordable this can be, or contact fran@aboutmyarea.co.uk.

I’m told that AboutMyArea has around 60,000 views per week so people can reach a large north Leeds audience easily.

If you would like to know more before coming to the market, go to http://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/West-Yorkshire/Leeds/LS8 and read articles about clubs, groups, events and other information about Roundhay and the surrounding district.

AroundMyArea1

 

Yorkshire Rapeseed

Just weeks after being awarded a ‘Commendation for Excellence’ in the Small Business category at the prestigious Red Ribbon Awards for family businesses, our friends at Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil have won a national farm produce award.

Their new Oak Smoked Oil, won the Cooking Oil category in the coveted GBF Farm Produce Awards 2014.

The GBF Farm Produce Awards are the Great British Food magazine’s first ever food awards and are designed to showcase the skilled, passionate, and often unsung, artisans behind Britain’s finest speciality food and drink.

Commenting on the awards, Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil’s Jennie Palmer said: “We’re clearly enjoying a lucky streak! We faced tough competition and were thrilled that our newly launched smoked oil won favour with the judges.”

The new Oak Smoked Oil is hand crafted and smoked over oak and apple wood for a fuller flavour. It’s perfect for roasting vegetables, dressing salads and pasta, or great as a dipping oil with crusty bread.

Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil is used in Michelin starred kitchens, including the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton, and all products are preservative, GM and gluten free and are suitable for vegetarians.