Neetfield Market Garden, Bude, Cornwall.
Wife and husband team, Rosie and Tom Barclay established Neetfield in August 2020 after taking over the lease of a 1-acre field in Bude, North Cornwall. Rosie was in fact an Outlaw for 4 years as a senior member of our restaurant team out front, but her true passion lay with the soil and growing, and we could only hold on to her for so long.
Rosie says, “My husband and I both worked in restaurants before starting Neetfield, and seeing the quality of the produce that was coming through the door inspired us to look for it for ourselves to cook with at home. We found it challenging to get hold of the variety and quality of vegetables that we were looking for in Bude. With my background in gardening and Tom’s as a cook, we decided to look for a piece of land with the aim of growing the produce of our dreams.”
Growing a wide range of vegetables and a small amount of fruit and flowers, the couple place great importance on having a valued role in their local community in Bude, supplying local restaurants and already running a weekly veg box scheme, as well as a Saturday morning market at the gate to the field.
Rosie talks us through a typical day at Neetfield…
“The day normally starts with a coffee and a plan. I spend a lot of time crop planning and organising tasks so that we can be as efficient as possible. We are a small team so this helps to keep us on track. We tend to harvest first thing in the morning, whether that is for local restaurant orders, veg boxes or our weekly market. Then we head out to do the deliveries and tidy up from the morning’s work. Tom will then usually be cooking up a tasty lunch for everyone before we crack on with some gardening jobs in the afternoon. Lots of planting, sowing, bed preparations and weeding are normally on the cards. In the summer we can be working until the sun is setting, but in the winter we take a slightly slower pace and get home for a well earned hot bath.”
Both Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen and Outlaw’s New Road have been fortunate enough to receive a small allocation of Neetfield’s production since their first harvest in 2021, and with Rosie’s help we have been able to better understand the seasons and the variety of crops. “I love the satisfaction of growing something that eventually ends up on people’s plates. It baffles me everyday that these unique, beautiful and delicious vegetables start from a tiny little seed.” says Rosie.
“We aim to enrich our environment whilst bringing people together around the subject of food, and prove that anyone can make a good living from working the land.”
Along with the arduous task of growing and harvesting their first season, Rosie and Tom also held a couple of open evenings, including one glorious supper at the field, both of which they wish to continue well into the future. “We want Neetfield to be a space that encourages positive interactions between food and nature and to be a place where others can be inspired through our journey.”
If heading into their second full season was not enough already, Neetfield aim to be powered completely by solar energy in 2022. Rosie explains, “We are entirely off grid as we are, so adding a source of energy will make a huge difference. This would help us to move all of our propagating facilities on site and power our fridge to keep the produce we harvest as fresh as possible.”
If you live locally to Bude, you can sign up to a Neetfield weekly veg box subscription, but spaces are limited! If that fails, why not visit their market on Saturdays which begin in May? All the details can be found on their website below.