We started combining the Winter Barley on the 22nd July. The weather has been challenging and we have had to keep moving between the farms and different crops to find the ripest and driest conditions. In total we will harvest 1700 acres spread over 6 farms in Essex where we grow Winter & Spring Barley, Oilseed Rape, Wheat and Beans.
Our brand-new John Deere combine harvester arrived this summer. The list price of this machine is £500,000 and it is only used for about 6 weeks of the year.
So far, the crops are yielding very well, and we are struggling to find enough space in the grain barns to store it over winter and that means we are selling some of it now.
Work has already begun for next year’s crops. We have cultivated the fields that have been harvested and we have planted 230 acres of Oilseed Rape.
This is a very busy and stressful time of year for farmers. They have spent the last ten months nurturing and tending to their crops hoping for good weather to be able harvest them safely. I know it can be frustrating if you are following a slow tractor on the road but please be patient as the farmers are working very long hours in difficult conditions.
We have also been busy designing the new menus for after October half term. We are thinking very carefully about how the menu can impact our health and diet, sugar content, the environment, use of packaging, sustainable ingredients and making sure that they are affordable as well as tasty.
The menus are compliant with the School Food Plan which dictates the variety of protein, carbohydrates, minerals, salt, fat and sugar throughout the week. It also determines the portion size. http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/School-Food-Standards-Guidance-FINAL-V3.pdf
Don't forget to use the QR code or weblink at the bottom of each menu to access nutritional and allergen info http://j.mp/2Ttz113
Healthy Packed Lunch ideas - Please use the link below for some great ideas. https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/healthier-lunchboxes
Use of Palm Oil
If grown in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, palm oil is not all bad news.
It has its merits due to the lack of trans fats, it is easier to work with, it helps make products creamy and smooth and it can be a comparatively inexpensive source of vegetable oil.
However, it has attracted bad press due to de-forestation - the burning of forests that provide a natural environment to so many forms of wildlife to clear areas of land to plant new oil palms. As with many farming techniques there is a compromise. Certain techniques can be certified by organisations like RSPO to show that the product has been grown in a sustainable manner. Their logo will give consumers confidence when making purchasing decisions.
The consumer can also play a part by reviewing their needs of the product in the first place. Many large retailers will use the excuse of consumer led purchasing trends rather than looking at what they actually put on the shelves to dictate what we buy. A boycott of buying any products using palm oil is not necessarily the most sensible approach. If there are two products on the shelf and one product is certified by RSPO or Green Palm and that becomes the most purchased product then that will very quickly influence the decision of purchasing managers.
We pride ourselves on being an ethical company and will continue to work with our suppliers to only source palm oil from sustainably farmed sources.
There is palm oil in some of our bread products and margarine and we will continue to look for certified products or alternatives. We are somewhat at the mercy of the bigger companies that produce the products and we will continue to campaign for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly palm oil. If you want to support this campaign then here are some other products that you may use at home that sometimes contain palm oil – lipstick, detergents, shampoo, soap, pizza dough, chocolate, instant noodles and ice cream.
EU law states that all labelling should identify if palm oil is in the product. Its derivatives can be called many things and below is a list of what to look out for.
Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palm olein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hydrated Palm Glycerides, Ethyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol
CONTAINS: Palm oil