Here we meet Regula Wright, a commercial fruit and vegetable grower in Swanage
What do you produce and how?
I produce a wide range of produce on my two-acre site at Godlingston Manor including, potatoes, beetroots, onions, garlic, courgettes, beans, cucumber, blackcurrants, gooseberries, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, spinach and much more. I grow many heritage varieties and use a traditional approach in my methods without using chemical sprays. I have two large polytunnels which help protect against weather and extend the growing season. I also keep geese, ducks and chickens for eggs.
How can people get your produce?
I sell veg boxes for collection and supply produce to the Salt Pig.
What makes your produce a more sustainable option?
For the local market there are minimal food miles involved in their produce. There are minimal external inputs for the crops, the soil is enriched by horse and chicken manure acquired onsite. I also use locally sourced seaweed, make my own compost and grow green manures. The geese are grazing the surrounding area, the ducks and the chickens help themselves to GM-free pelleted food, corn&wheat as well as plenty of vegetables from the garden.After the main growing season, all are free totally free ranging.
What are the challenges to operating in this way?
The weather and the seasonality of produce makes it a challenge to meet the demands of consumers who may expect items all year round. There are peaks and troughs and matching supply and demand is a challenge. This time of year is known as the hungry gap, where winter crops have ended and summer crops are yet to produce. First new crops will be ready from May.
How can consumers support local producers like yourself?
Allow for seasonal fluctuations in supply and be flexible with cooking ideas, substituting different and new ingredients in recipes. Keep an eye on peaks of produce and buy what you can from local producers at different times.
What has changed for your business with recent events?
There has been a real need for local fresh food for the community. It would be great to see this renewed interest and support continue beyond the current situation with improved connectivity between growers and customers.
What are you looking forward to the most after lockdown?
Meeting people again and sharing a meal with friends.