Rosie’s Diary: Part 4

Jul 29, 2020

It’s blackcurrant madness on the farm at the moment! My second ever harvest is well-underway and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome so far. 

Harvest at Gorgate Farm started on 5th July, and to date we have about 20 hectares left to do. We are yet to harvest three varieties, these are Ben Klibreck, Ben Alder and Ben Tirran, but all being well we are hoping to finish around the end of next week.

It really has been all systems go and thankfully the weather has been pretty kind overall. We have had a couple of downpours that have stopped us, but normally we will check the weather in advance and if it looks like rain we will stop, or we might roll out our second harvester to get the field harvested quickly.

This year’s harvest has been the effort of a team of five, including myself. My uncle and brother have been waiting in the wings to be called on if we were to run the second harvester. Recently, we had three harvesters running at the same time which could only be described as a logistical dance!

Long days are spent harvesting the blackcurrant crop, but the reason why surprises many – no fruit actually stays on the farm overnight once picked. Fruit is loaded from the harvester into huge bins, which are transported to be pressed for Ribena the very same day. It really is a case of bush to bottle, but that story is for another day. 

This year it’s been wonderful to see the progress of our younger varieties, particularly those of Ben Starav and Ben Gairn which have both exceeded all expectations. It takes three years for blackcurrant bushes to produce fruit once planted, so this has been worth the wait! 

I enjoy blackcurrants all year round from my freezer in smoothies, breakfast bowls and overnight oats – but there is something special about when they’re ready to use fresh. Last week, I made a delicious blackcurrant tart using a Nigel Slater recipe and it was absolutely amazing! You can find the recipe for it here

I really do love the sense of togetherness the harvest brings. It’s such a team effort – the farmers, the hauliers, the presser and Ribena all working together to manage the unexpected (because after all farming never seems to play by the rules)! I have felt so proud of our farm team and family all pitching in. We had a fantastic week last week and I am feeling very grateful to be on my blackcurrant journey – I absolutely love it!

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