We had just explored the castle and cathedral in Linlithgow, just outside Edinburgh, when we saw a sign for organic vegetables. As we were on our way to a self-catering lodge in the Highlands, we instantly decided it will be a good thing to stock up on some healthy fresh food after having enjoyed the eateries in Edinburgh for a few days – where we discovered a few little gems too (and more castles and cathedrals).
So down the winding little country road we went! Most beautiful countryside scenery.
The moment you step out at the Grow Wild farm in Bonnytoun, you get this amazing feeling that this is a “real” farm, with lots of hard work going on, but with such a friendly loving earthy spirit. We unknowingly gate crashed, as they weren’t officially open to public on the day we just arrived unannounced, but they received us with such wide open arms.
I never asked the farmer’s name – really bad manners on my part, but we were so wrapped up in the discussion from the start. From the description on their website, it must be Ben Cadell. He was so accommodating on their work day – where they seriously had to get seedlings in the ground as here in Scotland they have a really short growing season. We had such a nice yarn about organics, soil conditioning, their approach, cover crops, the effects of the seasons, and as you always seem to do – about the weather and its joint blessings and challenges. Whereas we battle with a long dry summer, these guys get so much rain that they often can’t even get into their fields, as it becomes too soggy. It’s so nice to share time with a kindred spirit and learn from their experiences and wisdom.
I didn’t take photos of equipment, but interestingly they also use collinear hoes, as we learnt in our market gardening course on almost the exact opposite side of the earth. Ben also showed us their finger hoes, which almost look like sunflowers, with which he has a great success weeding between the vegetables.
Ben showed us where to go and look at their growth tunnels, the new seedlings in the fields, their apple orchard and more.
Their young apples are about two years ahead of ours, so we also had a good chat about that magic season when the apples just start exploding into production.
We left with a huge vegetable box, which David Rowland in the vegetable packing shed put together for us, together with some other organic supplies that they also stock. It’s so great to smell and taste fresh organic vegetables!
If ever you’re in the Edinburgh or Linlithgow area, remember to look up Wild Grow – highly recommended.