The Food and Farming theme supports and promotes local food production and marketing in order to reduce food miles, as well as encouraging fair trade and healthy eating.
Food and farming
The best ways to reduce dependence on oil and minimise carbon emissions are to:
- Shop locally
- Produce food in and around Blewbury – we list some local producers below
- Use locally grown products whenever possible
- Promote growing methods that aren’t dependent on oil-based chemicals and fertilizers, and that minimise the use of oil-fuelled machinery
And … whenever possible, try to shop ethically!
Many of the items on our events page have a local food theme. We welcome ideas about how Blewbury could develop along these lines and what your views are. If you have thoughts about this, would like to get involved, or just want to be kept informed by email about what's going on please contact Angela Hoy:
What we are doing
In 2010 we started a weekly produce stall, on the forecourt of Blewbury Garage/Shop every Saturday (photos below). It is for people wishing to sell surplus garden and home produce, including plants and seedlings, fresh fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, preserves, free-range eggs, and cakes. It ran from May through September, and was popular and successful – nearly everything brought was sold. The stall had a second successful season in 2011, starting earlier in May and going through mid-October.
In 2012 the stall had its best year by far, despite the very unfavourable growing conditions due to record bad weather. Contributing to this were local honey and regular supplies of interesting home-made bread from the newly formed Blewbury Bakers group. We received a grant from RWE npower’s Didcot Power Stations to buy a sturdy new tent and tables to replace borrowed ones – see the photo below.
During the winter we now have Blewbury Garden Market Extra on Saturday mornings at the Post Office from 9.30 am. The last three photos below show typical items on sale. We feature a wonderful variety of fresh, home-made bread from Blewbury Bakers, as well as pastries and preserves.
The Garden Market will resume operation at the Garage on 11 May 2013, running from 9.30 to 11.30 am on Saturday mornings.
The stall has become an excellent place to pick up fresh, locally produced and sometimes unusual items at low prices. We are very grateful to our local producers and our dedicated team of helpers.
Information for producers:
- Please bring produce between 9.00 and 9.30 am (note earlier time).
- Collect unsold produce between 11.30 and 12.00.
- Two sheets can be downloaded: a short guide for producers, and a form to keep track of your produce and sales – there's also a double-sided version. Please fill in the form in advance, to save time and minimise confusion. Also label your goods with the price and your name.
- Prices are set by the producer; the stall keeps a 10% levy to cover our overheads.
- For more information contact Angela Hoy:or Ange Barton:
Permaculture is based on a philosophy of cooperating with nature and facilitating the development of a system that is self-sustaining and self-supporting. By observing natural systems it is possible to produce an environment that is rich in biodiversity, needs very little maintenance, and which leaves the environment enriched rather than depleted. We have started a permaculture pilot project to use these methods on a plot of land at the edge of Blewbury, and will be planting a small forest and orchard garden.
We started by planting a shelter-belt hedge around the two sides of the field with more than 400 plants in February 2011.
The next stage was to plant some fruit trees and bushes, starting in October–December 2011 by mulching the upper area of the field to suppress the grass and to enrich the soil. In December 2011 we planted a dozen fruit trees, including (among others) cherries, medlars, quince, gages, pears and apples. These are underplanted with gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and other soft fruit, plus perennial herbs and other ground cover.
In November–December 2012 we planted a further ten fruit trees (two varieties of pear, three of plum, damson, crab apple, cobnut, sweet almond and black mulberry) as well as a low rosa rugosa hedge (large rosehips) across the middle of the field. In March and April 2013 we planted lots of autumn raspberries, asparagus, and a wide variety of perennial herbs and other plants to extend the ground cover.
In February 2013 Lawrence Graham worked and guided us to construct a living willow shelter. When it has grown green leaves it will be a most attractive place to sit in: to discuss the work on the site, to view the downs to the south, or just to relax and think.
A winter view of how the 0.4 acre downland plot started out, and a view of part of the new hedge, are shown in the first two photos below. The newly planted beds are shown in the third photo, an early summer view of soft fruit etc. in the fourth and a general view in the fifth. The last photo shows the willow shelter.
As part of Apple Day, we conducted a survey of apple orchards and other fruit trees in the village. Results of the survey, notably the 57 varieties (!) of apple grown in Blewbury, are summarised on a separate page.
We held an "Apple Day" on 16 October 2010 to celebrate the abundance of food produced locally – see our events page for more information.
In 2011 we borrowed apple juicing equipment and held some public events to produce juice from trees in the village.
For 2012 we purchased our own equipment (apple shredder – left, apple press – centre, and pasteuriser – right) and held three very successful apple juicing days.
The Blewbury Village Gardens Association (otherwise known as Blewbury allotments) has started a community orchard, planting apple and greengage trees (photo).
We list below a selection of interesting local producers and sources near Blewbury.
Savages – Blewbury OX11 9HB. Blewbury’s own greengrocer and garden shop stocks an increasing range of local produce.
Q Gardens – Milton Hill, Steventon OX13 6AB, 01235 820988, www.qgardenshop.co.uk. Fruit, vegetables, meat, British cheese and a wide range of other local products. Pick your own fruit.
The Old Farm Shop – Milton Hill, Harwell OX14 4DP, 01235 831247. Eggs, lamb, poultry and game, unsprayed fruit and vegetables.
Camilla and Roly – Taylors Cottage, Hill Farm, Little Wittenham OX14 4RD, www.camillandroly.co.uk. Lamb and mutton from the Wittenham Clumps.
The Old Farmhouse Bakery – Abingdon Road, Steventon OX13 6RP, 01235 831230, www.theoldfarmhousebakery.co.uk. Traditional and unusual breads and pastries, and British cheese.
Upton Cider Company – London Road, Upton OX11 9JE, 01235 850808, www.uptoncider.co.uk. Organic cider, apples and cob nuts.
Hendred Vineyard – Allins Lane, East Hendred OX12 8HR, www.hendredvineyard.co.uk. White, rosé and sparkling wines.
Brightwell Vineyard – Shillingford Road, Wallingford OX10 8LJ, www.brightwines.co.uk. White, rosé, red and sparkling wines.
The Didcot Farmers' Market takes place in the Orchard Centre on the second Saturday of each month. An expanding variety of local food is on sale.
The very good Wallingford Local Producers Market, in the old Regal cinema every Saturday morning from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, has a wide variety of local food and drink.
Look for the Fairtrade logo on food products. Fairtrade is an approach to growers that promotes long-term, sustainable development and fairer treatment of the poor and disadvantaged around the world.
Buy Traidcraft products in the village – contact Maranda St. John Nicolle to place an order.