We have all been required to re-adjust our lives during the last month. Meanwhile, day on day, the sun is climbing higher over our hemisphere and below it everything growing  is now bursting with potential.

This year the resident bee colony has been renewed with fresh stock. The newcomers are now busy on flowers of Plum, especially, and a few early Pears.  The Apples look on time to bloom at the end of April into mid May. A succession of Atlantic fed depressions during that time would  help to lower the risk of  damaging early morning frosts. Just depends on the Jetstream.

Recently I have made mention of our delivery round in Colchester on Fridays which is enjoying priority over any sales at the farm gate for now.. At the moment we have just about met demand, but not quite. Apologies to those who have been disappointed. Slowly more volume will be available and then it may be possible to open our small shop here.

Only produce actually grown on these premises is available. The more sun, the better!

We do not supply other farm shops, or, other home delivery veg box schemes.

Those of you further afield have not been forgotten! At the moment the intention is to send out packs of apples during the season. It may be that a few changes to the pack size and/or the details of the delivery process will  be unavoidable. First we need to see some apples! Details of availability will be circulated early in July.

Open those windows, soak up the sun –  and stay healthy!!


Sorry, but demand is outstripping our current supply of produce this week.

Realistically, it will be several Saturdays before we have any left from the Friday delivery demand to supply visitors to Crapes, (see previous post).

We are aware that at this time of the year our local customers visit our small farm shop to acquire early produce as it becomes ready, and later for fruit and more vegetables.

Those of you  who have self  isolated on advice,  or chosen to do so, can still access whatever is available  by contacting us by email or checking  Crapes Fruit Farm on Facebook for the list of what is available to choose from, and we will deliver to you.

We have covered this round with our own produce for many years. You are not committed to a weekly delivery, just the Friday when you need stocks.

The list is posted on Wednesday morning of each week.

This list is very likely to offer more of a  range than we will have left for the Saturday here.

At the farm we will open for Saturdays only to begin with, until we have more volumes to harvest. At the moment the Friday round has priority.

As the season progresses I will update you on developments – but they won’t be too complicated!

At the moment I am covering Copford, Rowhedge, Greenstead, Mile End, West Bergholt, Newtown and everywhere within that line. When fruit arrives then the area extends.



All our fruit trees are gradually breaking out into leaf – a lot greener than this time a year ago. The first Bumble Bees have been  both sighted and heard, droning on  foraging flights.

Sunshine is, at last, dominating our daytimes. Just at the moment we all need plenty of this, and vitamin D.

The last days of February 2019 are now a very distant memory as we  approach March 2020 beneath clouds and a decided chill which is bound to slow the breaking buds on many species. Quince were about two weeks ahead and some apple varieties were showing a little green as the bud scales began to part  early last week, also on the early side.

Rainfall totals this month have not been excessive but each additional 10mm has topped up an already saturated soil so it is possible that some root loss will occur in instances where trees searched deeper for moisture during the Spring drought of last year. Compared with the unfortuneate flooding further west we have nothing but some minor delaying inconvenience to trouble us.

I recently entertained our local Women’s Institute  with an account of life here in Aldham, at Crapes, since February 1922. No longer would forty people from the village be available with their wooden stools to pick black currants as in the 1930s.

There is a misconception that those working in agricultural and horticulture  are ‘low skilled’. We may look muddy and dishevelled but the years of wisdom of the land and growing  learn’t, and in turn passed on to the next generation, don’t come for ‘nothing’.

As a nation we have made a good job of shooting off one foot since the beginning of the year, now the toes on the other seem destined for a slow amputation before the beginning of the next. Attitudes need to change – fast.

The weather is the least of our problems – FOR ONCE!

A step nearer to Spring, though the temperatures of late, and those expected for the next fortnight, here in Essex one might think that the second season of the year is with us. Ideally a cold February is to be preferred with a gradually warming accelerating as the quality and duration of sunlight improve from early March. A repeat of the shirt sleeve weather during the last ten days of February 2019 is not desired.

Our land is at field capacity now. Each time more rain falls , then the drains flow for a few days – a definite improvement on the situation last Winter/Spring.

A close eye will be kept  for signs of bud break on the Quince – hopefully in early March rather than earlier.

Now back to pruning!

We will put the disappointments with apples for the past season well behind us!

Overall our rainfall total for 2019 has been most respectable, coinciding with our accepted average here, thanks to the wet Autumn and particularly so during early December. The old drains laid in the late 1850s have been gushing well! So, not a repeat of the drought conditions of twelve months ago.

The trees are turgid, as indicated by the palatibility of the bark on the  lying prunings, to mice and rabbits. Deer and mice also sampling from higher within some trees.

Some cooler weather will not go amiss , especially through into March. Repeats of  last February’s dry and very warm weeks not needed!