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Isles of Scilly - Scilly Organics

Scilly Organics

Sandy Lane Cottage
St Martin's
Isles of Scilly
TR25 0QN

Phone: 01720 423663


The Isles of Scilly are the last outcrop of a line of granite running from Dartmoor, through Bodmin Moor and Land’s End. The islands are about 30 miles off the mainland of Cornwall, open to the full effects of the weather from the Atlantic. Winds can be very strong, particularly in winter, but being in the south-westerly Gulf Stream does mean the islands are always mild and often damp; yet they receive a lot of sunshine, hence the nickname of ‘the Fortunate Isle

Soils on the islands are primarily very sandy, free draining and nutrient poor. Fresh water is never in abundance, and gales from the Atlantic can cover the islands in salt. Difficult growing conditions then? Yes and no. The very mild climate means long growing seasons, and the abundance of seaweed, storm-washed in winter, makes a wonderful fertiliser costing nothing! Hardy windbreaks protect the small fields, and water conservation measures make growing in the, often warm and dry, summers possible.

The islands have been renowned for cut flowers, predominantly Narcissi, for around 100 years, turning fields bright yellow or white - a welcome sight in winter. However the industry is in decline at present due to high transport costs and less expensive imports – like the fields we use at Middle Town, many fields were used for cut flowers at one stage. There are still some cut flower growers operating on the islands– see Links for details. It is sad to see so many fields disused; the resurgence of interest in local food production on the islands could help to turn this around. We hope this may be a model to follow.

The market garden is in conversion to organic, and will be fully organic in the spring of 2004. It is the first holding on the islands to convert to certified organic management. We believe in the strength of organic management, and as such are licensed with the Soil Association. The Soil Association is the UK’s best-known certifier of organic farms and food; they also campaign adamantly for organic food and farming and sustainable forestry.

We grow a wide range of crops, from Raspberries to Lettuce, Apples to Squash and Mizuna to Kale (for full product details see here). Freshness and vitality is so important in what we eat - after all, we are what we eat. Sadly this freshness and vitality is all but lost in most food bought in supermarkets. Here on St. Martin’s the food travels hundreds of yards rather than hundreds of miles, from fork to fork. We believe this gives us an unrivalled position of providing fresh, healthy and tasty food that people can trust for quality and integrity. Combined with the chance to walk around the market garden in one of our regular walks (see events for details) - to see how the food is produced - we believe there is no better way to buy fruit and vegetables on the islands.

We also use the principles of Permaculture, enabling us work in an integrated system that is designed to maximise output and minimise input. This includes the use of raised beds, planting of polycultures, gravity-fed watering systems, natural cold storage, and agroforestry. We experiment with innovative crops – watch this space for some weird and wonderful new crops for sale! Our system of raised beds is very uncommon in this country; much used abroad, they are a great way of increasing productivity and really caring for the soil. Come and see why we think they should be used more.
We urge you to come and visit us on St. Martin’s to see how exciting food production can really be, and all the benefits derived from producing food in a sustainable way. And we hope you enjoy our fruit and veg too

Creation date : 02/06/2007 @ 20:46
Last update : 23/07/2011 @ 12:36
Category : Isles of Scilly
Page read 8493 times

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