Organic September

03 September 2018

Gordon Stewart who was the second generation to farm at Abercrombie on Balcaskie Estate sadly passed away in August at the age of 82. Brought up on the farm, Gordon’s keen eye for detail can be seen in very corner of the place. Extra pressure on his neighbours to maintain weed free crops and neat tidy fields, so as not to let the side down will no doubt continue. As a perfectionist, Gordon liked to make sure everything was well planned out. The funeral, held at St Monan’s Church – during harvest – even managed to follow a day’s rain, so that the many farmers could all attend.
August brought an early start to harvest following the dry summer. With most crops safely gathered, there are a few late fields left to cut. The organic crops have been slower to mature and ripen. This is due to the deeper rooting structure of organic crops as the look for nutrients further away from the surface, where conventional crops are fed with fertiliser. The deeper roots enable them to access moisture when the soil dries out.
With help from a neighbour, we have begun to harvest the heritage milling wheats for Scotland the Bread. Growing 10 varieties over 50 acres is the easy part. Harvesting small plots, storing and drying, requires the assistance of others. The first batch will be ready for milling at the September Bowhouse weekend, made into sourdough bread within days of harvest and more importantly – yards, not miles.
Kinneuchar Inn renovations at long last have begun with the building stabilisation and restoration. With the help of local tradesmen, the Inn will undergo a full renovation over the next 12 months and be open again in the autumn of 2019. We had hoped that this would be sooner, but as ever, getting it right for the long term is essential and so a few extra months now will pay off for generations to come. We will keep updating progress reports.
Ground source heat loops have been installed at North Baldutho Farmhouse. 600m of pipes laid 1m below the surface, circulate fluid which captures the stable ground temperature all season and extracts heat from it in the same way that a fridge works – just in reverse. Heating has been turned on and floors will be laid in the coming week, with a completion date of 1st October – the pressure is on.

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