Friday, 29 July 2011

Tolly and Naida

Iain Tolhurst is a legendary organic grower with over 30 years' experience. LinkHe was one of the pioneering organic growers in this country and runs Tolhurst Organics in the Thames valley near Reading. Here, him and his ex-wife and business partner Lin run a box scheme, supplying over 200 families a week. He's also a consultant, author and inspiration to scores of younger organic growers. And a boat builder.

Whilst working 70 hours a week on the farm, Tolly also managed to find time to build a 36 foot Pinky Ketch (yacht) made entirely out of local and sustainably sourced timber. Much of this is oak, which came down on the Hardwick Estate, where he grows veg, in the 1987 hurricane. Over the course of 12 years he's constructed one of the most awesome boats, Naida, you're likely to set eyes on. Everything about it is pure quality and the level of craftsmanship is simply outstanding.

Last week Tolly sailed down to Scilly having come, in stages, from Reading. Moored up in Tresco channel, I was lucky enough to have a guided tour and a cup of tea on board. As a young man Tolly worked on Tresco for a few years so knows many locals well. It was here he met Lin (nee Lawry), a Tresco girl, who was actually born on a boat called Naida somewhere between Tresco and St Mary's!

In fact until very recently Naida was used very regularly by Bruce Christopher and some people will remember the small blue boat moored at Old Grimsby. It's still being used by Bruce's son, Joe, now in Roseland peninsula.

You can see loads of photos of the launch of Naida this April in these Flickr photos. He's hoping to come back down to Scilly in September, so look out for it!

Photos from the farm in late July

Large tomatoes in the tunnel - delicious

Onions ripe and set skins - quite a good crop

The first squash nearly ready. Winter ones coming on.

A field of white clover - after mowing three weeks ago they are flowering really well now. Bees are all over them and the scent is fantastic.

Late sweetcorn - after a good hoeing they're looking really good and should crop in late August.