A Community Spirit - Lamorna Fare's organic meat and vegetables is a real hit in West Cornwall
PUBLISHED: 12:25 06 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 28 February 2013
Lamorna Fare's organic meat and vegetables is a real hit at the local produce market. In this February issue we pay them a visit
A Community Spirit
Lesley Double meets a couple whose organic meat and vegetables from Lamorna Fare are much in demand
Hidden away down the beautiful wooded Lamorna Valley in West Cornwall lies a 12-acre plot belonging to the St Aubyn Estates. Here, along the narrowest of lanes, past some pretty cottages and an old water mill, Adele and David 'DJ' Corin spend their working days. At first glance, the plot seems to be a field filled with weeds. "Organic farming is certainly not tidy," laughs Adele. "We don't use weedkillers or pesticides, and so all the weeding is done by hand." On closer inspection, the weeds hide a multitude of vegetables, all laid out neatly in rows. One field leads into another and yet another, filled with carrots and potatoes, calabrese and cauliflower, onions and beetroot, pumpkins bursting out from under large leaves, runner beans leaning on canes like drunken tepees, Brussels sprouts and cabbages, leeks and courgettes, sweetcorn and lettuce.
Adele points to an area where a polytunnel is to be erected so they can grow tomatoes, cucumber, herbs and salad leaves. Such a vast selection is truly amazing. A few areas are very tidy though. "We clear the weeds from around the young plants so they're not suffocated," explains Adele. However, when the plants mature, Adele and DJ do not need to be so brutal, hence the melding of weeds and vegetables, which are a delight to the couple, as well as the many wild creatures that call the smallholding their home. "That path was made by the resident badger," says DJ, pointing to an obvious line through the crops. "We have to fence around some of the vegetables to keep out the rabbits, and I've just spent a whole day picking caterpillars off the cabbages!"
Adele comes from Lancashire, but DJ has fond memories of growing up nearby, as his father was a farm worker at Tregurnow. Coming back to the valley has been like coming home. "We certainly couldn't afford to buy a plot of land," says Adele, "so I asked St Aubyn Estates if they had anything we could rent and we were lucky enough to be offered this. We came here six years ago. We lived in a cottage for a couple of winters, but in the summer we lived here in a tent and caravan with my two daughters, Caitlin and Duana. Eventually we moved to a cottage at Treen, and now we come out here every day to work." Adele had been to agricultural college, where she specialised in livestock farming, so it seemed right to have some pigs on the land. "The pigs have been brilliant," says Adele. "We currently have two types of rare-breed pigs here: Large Black and Gloucester Old Spot. The adult Large Black have been here for years and we breed them. They are better than a rotovator, keeping the ground well dug and fertilised. We keep the youngsters until they are about eight months old, and we get delicious sausages and chops from them." Not surprisingly, these pork products sell very quickly.
Adele and DJ have experimented with different ways to sell their produce under the name of Lamorna Fare, first taking the vegetables to local restaurants and hotels. Sadly, they soon found that this was not viable. "The restaurants wanted certain things at certain times and we couldn't always have the right produce for them," says Adele. So they started a vegetable box scheme. Currently, 30 boxes are filled each week. Costing between 6 and 10, the boxes include at least six different items and, although they always include the staples of potatoes and onions, the contents are flexible according to season. They also have a stall outside their house in Treen, which is very popular with locals and holidaymakers who stay in the nearby campsite. Last summer they started their Produce and Craft Market in Lamorna Village Hall.
Every Friday, between 10am and 2pm, the Hall is buzzing, not only with people buying Adele and DJ's vegetables, but other local food such as organic milk, home-made pasties and jam, free-range eggs, locally made cakes and bread, plants and apple juice. Crafts include cards, jewellery and bags. "Our aim is to get people to know each other," explains Adele. "They can come and talk to the people who grow the food or make the crafts. It's a social event - we always have coffee on the go - and we want people to know they can come here and get a lot of their weekly shopping without having to travel into Penzance. We hope to expand this idea into other villages. Many villages have lost their local shop and we want to build up communities again." Sharon Brolly, who organises the publicity and Nikki Green who designs the posters, help Adele at the market. DJ pops in regularly to top up the vegetable stall and customers know that what they buy has recently been picked.
With all these projects on the go and with Adele frequently off-site to deliver vegetable boxes or run market stalls, there was too much work for DJ to do on his own. "So we joined WWOOF," says Adele. "That's Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Young people come from all over the world to work on farms for a couple of weeks at a time. We've entertained people from Brittany, the Basque country, Scotland, America and Wales so far and it's been fascinating learning about their countries and lives, and they've been very useful too." Adele and DJ admitted that although they farm organically they are not registered as such, although they are registered with the Wholesome Food Association (WFA). WFA guidelines say farmers should minimise the use of plastics, recycle wherever possible and sell locally.
Adele and DJ obviously love their life: when they married two years ago, they held a service in the woods on the edge of their land. "My misspent youth lasted until middle age," concludes DJ, "but this site is the best thing to happen to us. Now I just can't imagine being anywhere else!"
Contact Adele and DJ on (01736 811285,
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org