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Hello , I am Paul , founder of Waterland Organics. For over 20 years now I have been growing organically in the Cambridgeshire Fens .  The journey has been long but has not finished . Hopefully , this blog will give you an insight into what do and the place where we do it ; It's grimness and its equisite beauty

Growers, Farmers and the Fair .

By pauljonathan, May 13 2013 08:35PM

Reach Fair has come and gone and for me and my growing year , it is a comma in the growing season , a time for a quick breath before continuing with the tasks of the season . Reach Fair is now held on the May bank holiday but when I was a child , it was held on the Monday after Rogationtide . Rogation is a time of blessing the newly planted crops, well wheat , beet , barley and potatoes anyway. When I was growing up I was a serving boy in the local church. We would have to traipse over to a farmer’s field in full regalia and bless a farmer’s crop . Funny thing was that it was always the same farmer , no other farmer got a look in . Which I thought was pretty unfair . I know it was probably a symbolic blessing and when this particular farmers crops were blessed it was meant not just for his winter wheat but for every other farmers field in Reach Parish …. It just didn’t feel like it . As a young farmer I was often giving the job of doing a reading on such occasions and as I grew vegetables, therefore a grower, felt that the planting job for me had really only just begun. So on Reach Fair day when all the local farmers were sinking a few pints and looking forward to a summer of doing very little apart from a bit of spraying and fertiliser spreading, us horticulturalists were just having a brief rest before the real work began . Of course , come wheat harvest when they have got to do a proper day’s work , you don’t hear the end of it. But for them that is a long way off . Endless days stretch ahead of them ; days of sweeping out the barn , then having a bit of a breather before coming up with the novel idea of sweeping it out again .Then as June heads into July they might grease up the combine and put a bit of diesel in it . It sounds like I am having a go at farmers and I am . It is deep seated .It is something pounded into you at Agricultural college or as we liked to call it Horticultural college . I went to Writtle Agricultural College and many of my fellow horticulturalists would insist that their friends and family sent their letters addressed to Writtle Horticultural College . Football games against Ags were usually vicious affairs where fights were not uncomon . If you were serving at the college bar you charged ags double and Horts only half the cost . Bar games were another flash point . We had the best women arm wrestlers but ags could eat a tin of Chappie faster than any of us .These games were highly competitive ; my mate Andy could drink a pint of baked beans in under seven seconds , a record I have yet to see anyone equal , let alone beat . That all said , I have many farming friends who often tell me that what I do ‘is a hard way to make a living.’ I often think what they do is a boring way to make a living . We do have much in common and farmers like growers have a love hate relationship with the weather , are fiercely independent , love working outside and wouldn’t and couldn’t do anything else .

Anyway , I digress . For us growers, parsnips , potatoes , onions , carrots , lettuce , broad beans, beetroot , some lettuce , some brassicas and some peas have been sown and much is up . We now have to sow sweetcorn , squash , courgettes , french beans , fennel , more carrots, more lettuces etc etc etc . I am not a farmer , I am a farmers son and I will keep on being horticultural til all the growings done .


Footnote.

Farmer ; also known as agriculturalist or ag .Does the same sort of thing as a grower but rarely leaves his tractor seat or the comfort of his tractor cab.He grows things but not as many different things as a grower.

Grower : Horticulturalist or Hort . Grows many different interesting crops


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