Aiming for Self Sufficiency

So what is our aim here at Friesland Farm? Well to grow our own delicious  veg and fruit without the aid of anything artificial, any surplus we sell at the farm gate and to friends and family. We also have a range of poultry and again sell eggs to a growing number of people. Our original aim was to be self-sufficient, it became obvious that total self-sufficiency is very difficult to achieve from scratch without a good deal of investment! So our plans are to work towards doing it as best we can with the resources we have. When we came here there were no veg beds just very overgrown paddocks and rough areas, after three years we now have a very large vegetable area, 3 greenhouses, and a large fruit cage, this year we are hoping for a good crop of fruit. We were lucky enough to have a small orchard of 3 plums trees and a walnut, we also have an avenue of hazelnuts which produce an amazing amount of nuts! We have added a pear tree and a sweet chestnut tree although I don’t expect to get a return from that for a few years yet. We are a family of meat eaters and so we also raise sheep, pigs and chickens for our own consumption, this was something very important to us after years of being ‘food aware’ and knowing the conditions that animals have to live in for commercial production.

To get added value from our crops I have been making jams, chutney’s and herb oils, at the moment they have been for our use and for family presents but I hope to be able to sell these as well this year. I also invested in an apple press, last year our enormous tree had so many cider apples that I had to give them away on Freecycle, this year I intend to make full use of them myself!

The ‘good life’ yes but a hard one! It requires strength of character to keep going at it, we are very in touch with nature here and now know how long winter really is, nobody can prepare you for the amount of mud after a hard rainfall and the bone chilling cold of continuous days of below zero temperatures. There is no chance of looking out of the window and thinking ‘ I’ll stay in today’ the animals still need feeding, watering and cleaning out. That said it is a delightful way of life when the sun is shinning and all is well on the Farm.

If you want the good life, go for it if you can, it is extremely rewarding, but no one can prepare you for what lies ahead, I made a living from gardening before this and so was used to the outdoor life and the great British weather, even that was not preparation enough!

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