Finding Farming By Liberty Nimmo
Part Three, The Three Turnips
22nd September 2022
The Three Turnips CSA market garden started in July 2022 at Lower Hampen Farm in the Cotswolds, providing regeneratively grown vegetables year-round for the local community. The CSA model is based on a partnership between farmers and consumers whereby both share in the risk and reward of farming.
At the beginning of the year, the site was still part of the farm’s arable rotation, and all three of us lacked any experience in professional market gardening. The Three Turnips, aka Clive Handy, Lydia Handy and myself, have since turned the 2.5 acres into a series of no-dig, low-input veg beds. Within site, we created a beetle bank for pest management (made up of a glorified pile of rubble filled with tussocky grasses). We’ve planted a diverse hedge mixture, wild flora patches, heritage fruit trees, as well as hazel and willow for coppicing (both to replenish our woodchip beds and to make seed sowing compost). In the Autumn of 2022, we will plant a multi-layered forest garden replete with a wildlife pond.
We focus on building the soil microbiology and make all amendments here on the farm. These can range from baked eggshells in cider vinegar to carrot top tea and rice buried under beech trees, all in the name of fungal proliferation and boosting biology.
This year we are looking for funding for a commercial kitchen. The grant will enable us to turn wonky veg into soups, make jams, and fermented foods, include canning, rendering, pasteurizing and bread-making facilities, and help provide a second life to glass jars and bottles from the local community.
We have a forester managing the woodlands sustainably who makes and sells charcoal through the shop and lays hedges in the winter, and we plan to run pastured poultry so that we can sell eggs in the shop. We will also be looking for funding for a felting machine so that we can turn wool from local farmers into horticultural mulches.
When they aren’t busy with The Three Turnips, Clive and Lydia run the 350 mixed farm, including rare breed Devon Closewool sheep and Devon Ruby Red cows and grow heritage wheat which is sold to a local baker (bread soon to be sold in the pop-up shop) and sainfoin which is sold for seed. Lydia grows dye plants, spins the sheep wool, and has seven bee hives. Lamb, mutton, wool and honey are all sold directly through the pop-up shop at The Three Turnips.
I, too, wear several hats and started Nimmo Skincare last year, which uses up ‘waste products’ such as tallow. When farmed within the Pasture-fed system, tallow is abundant with medicinal properties, and I believe it should not be wasted. I grow and infuse the herbs myself, so the product too is low mileage, and the moisturizer is incredibly nourishing, healing and hydrating. I still work part-time for an Italian travel company – part of a previous life which miraculously co-exists with this one.
All of our members and customers come from within a 4-mile radius. We would like to see this model replicated across the country, helping to create a resilient local economy and feeding our growing population in a regenerative and affordable way that provides jobs, education, nutrient-dense food and a place for the local community.
Some say that nothing ever happens in Hampen. We tend to disagree.
The Three Turnips Is Open On Saturday from 10am-4pm
Lower Hampen Farm, Andoversford, Gloucestershire, GL54 4JJ.