Crimsworth Farm is a smallholding in Hebden Bridge in the South Pennines, with six and a half acres over 3 fields and a (rather neglected) flower garden. In the 8 years we have been here we have: cut down a lot of docks and nettles; dug a wild life pond; erected a polytunnel; rabbit-proofed an area of field and established a vegetable garden we call the “allotment”; put a solar thermal panel on our roof (an achievement as Crimsworth is a listed building); planted with Treesponsibility one of our fields with native hardwoods for coppicing and fruit trees; and we keep chickens all year round and pigs during the summer. We are involved with Community Supported Agriculture and with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). We grow organically and aim to live in a balance with nature, beneficial to all of us.
We came to organic gardening through a respect and concern for the environment, but of course we are aware of its health benefits for us also. More recently we have become aware of the importance of growing food that local people can consume, and we’ve been supportive of Hebden’s gradual move towards Transition Town status, with its emphasis on sustainability. One of our main concerns for our new sauerkraut business is to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible by for example keeping food miles to a minimum and reusing the glass jars as much as possible. We grow a lot of cabbages on our own land but where we have to buy them make sure they come from a good local organic source.
We wanted to be able to say we were organic on the product labels, of course. However, this is illegal if you are not certified as organic by one of the registering bodies, and this is too expensive for us to do. So we have replaced the word “Organic” with “Natural” or “Climate-Friendly” on the labels, which we hope people will understand to mean we follow organic principles.