As we enter the New Year with trepidation and a little hope, farming life continues in its usual pattern and we are thankful for it.
We see many a customer for whom popping down to buy milk is a welcome distraction from working from, or being stuck at, home.
In between Christmas and New Year we, like many other farmers, endeavoured to help out supermarkets with their Christmas overstock of fruit and vegetables.
We collect out of date bread from a nearby store every week anyway. Having gone through a rigorous licensing process, the arrangement is fully audited by Trading Standards.
It was an easy transition to take fruit and vegetables as well, but the amount was obscene with about 1.2 tonnes collected in two days, too much for the food bank to deal with.
I had a few conversations with various people about this not just being Christmas waste but all the time. I can’t comment about that generally, but I do know that for the store we collect from it was unprecedented.
Most years customers are vying for the last sprouts, parsnips and artisan loaf of bread.
However, a combination of uncertainty about Christmas and people’s plans having to change at the last minute, then replenishing departments expecting customers to panic buy because of the lorry hold ups, meant that too much was sent to the store.
The most upsetting part of it was that the produce was in perfect condition and had only just gone past its best before date.
In the UK we need to rethink attitudes and legislation around use by and best before dates to combat waste. It was heartbreaking to think of all the hours put into growing, picking and packing the products we collected.
We saw a little bit of snow recently. We’re not so high that we got a lot but enough to cause problems on the moor road.
Ben noticed a large van stuck on the hill and blocking it for other vehicles so he went off in the tractor to help. As you can imagine the van driver was delighted to see him.
It is surprising just how many road users do not know where equipment like a towing eye is. In this instance it was found and the driver was very keen not to miss the chance of a tow. Once out the van from Manchester, delivering hospital supplies, was on its way.
The next day one of our neighbours required an ambulance, which predictably got stuck on her driveway. Once again the driver did not know where to find the towing eye and it was only found when another ambulance came out as backup.
Ben was more than happy to assist, especially as both times it was helping the NHS.