February Round-Up

February has been both “fill dyke” and also dry so a variety of tasks have been achieved at COCA this month. Caz has been helped latterly by Flemming, from Germany, here as Wwoofer until mid March. Bit by bit, old crops are being cleared from the field, the ancient woody stems of cabbages and cauli’s shredded for compost, and black plastic mulches are being lifted and stored for another season. In the polytunnels, new salads have been planted out and are growing away strongly, while the greens planted in November are cropping well so that members have enjoyed big bags of wonderful tasty mustards, mizuna, parsley, rocket and lettuce leaves. We have been let down with the over-winter carrot crop, since a rat or rabbit got in, and chewed off half the plants in just two days, as well as damaging our indoor spinach and broccoli plants. Grrr!

Despite that, Caz and Anne have planted up trays and trays of onion seed, various cabbages and all the tomatoes and peppers for the summer, and the propagation area is full with green shoots shooting. The outdoor cropping season begins next month as the field is cultivated bit by bit when the weather suits. Meanwhile, the Core Group has agreed that we can set up a hub for share collections in Goodwick (at the Seafront Garage), and design work for the new Cartref COCA share shed has begun in earnest. It’s going to be a busy year!

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Bee keeping course

Bee workshop this Saturday 28/02/2015 10am sharp till 4pm.


This is the first beekeeper workshop run especially for COCA members with intention to share knowledge and mentor us throughout the year.
Our mentor is Robert Jones his honey is sold in the veg shop, a master beekeeper, has 120 beehives all over south Wales, breeds Welsh black queen bees and designs and builds his own beehives. Bring a lunch to share and BEE prepared for a BUZZY day.

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January Round-Up

Throughout the coming year, at the end of each month, we’ll be posting a round up of what’s been going on at COCA over the past few weeks. Here’s what’s been happening so far in 2015.

We started January with a bit of a bang, holding a winter feast for our members, and their friends and family. Everyone bought along homemade dishes, much of it using veg from the farm, and gathered together to share a meal. There was a fantastic turnout and it was a great opportunity for everyone to see each other outside of the farm, and in the warm and dry!

On the farm itself, the short dark days and cold wet weather means that relatively little outdoor veg work is going on, apart from moving the pigs’ enclosure round the field, so that they root up and clear and fertilize different areas.  Indoors, the two polytunnels are kept snug with fleece over the winter crops, and weeding of the small carrots and between the salad plants goes on on a weekly basis. The seed order is worked out, as are the budgets for new equipment. The new season starts with the first sowings of onion seed in plugtrays, kept warm while they germinate in the heated sand bed. This is a new departure for us, as we have always used sets for onions before, but we are confident we can grow our onion supply more cheaply and just as successfully from seed this year. Weekly harvests are still providing Cabbages, Brussel Sprouts, the occasional huge Cauliflower, Kale, and Parsnips from the field, and Oriental greens and Lettuce from the polytunnels, as well as Potatoes from store.

Earlier this month we released the results of the members survey on our website, compiled by our Core Group chair Stuart. The survey allows us to reflect on how well COCA is working for its members, how happy people are with their weekly veg box, whether people feel like they would like more opportunities to get more involved, and how we can generally improve things. On the subject of reflection, this time last year the farm was being devastated by the weather! The high winds damaged many of the crops, and the plastic on one of the polytunnel’s was so shredded up it had to be completely replaced. We’ve had a few stormy days so far, but nothing on the same scale, so here’s hoping to a much calmer winter at the start of 2015.

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Easy fundraising


Do you buy anything online? If you do – anything from shopping for books to booking trips away – did you know you could be raising a free donation for COCA?

One of our members – thanks Adam! – tipped us off to Easyfundraising.co.uk. It’s a site that lists nearly 3,000 retailers who will donate a percentage of anything you spend to COCA to say thank you for shopping with them.

We’ve looked into it: it’s really simple, and doesn’t cost you anything. There are no catches or hidden charges and COCA will be really grateful for your donation.

All you have to do is:

  1. Go to http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/coca
  2. Sign up for free
  3. Get shopping – your donations will be collected by Easyfundraising and automatically sent to COCA. It couldn’t be easier!

For more details, and answers to some frequently asked questions, check out their page on how it works.

Making it easy

If you do decide to support COCA through Easyfundraising, one top tip to makes it easy: install the ‘Donation Reminder’ when suggested during the signup process. This is an automatically alerts you if you go to a website that is signed up with Easyfundraising, and if you click to ‘activate donation’, any purchase then automatically triggers a donation to COCA. You can also browse Easyfundraising’s list of retailers, but the Donation Reminder means you don’t need to go anywhere special, and still get prompted for the chance to raise a free donation!

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Cauliflower Treasure

20141219_142518  A belated Xmas pic of heroic Caz, Gerald and Lesley at the end of the pre-Xmas harvest with some glorious surprise cauliflower heads they found.  Not enough to share with everyone, unfortunately (…. caulis always seem to keep us guessing as to when they are going to be ready to cut!)

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2014 membership survey results

Happy New Year on behalf of the COCA core group! The start of the year is traditionally a time for reflection and new resolve, so it seems appropriate to share a summary of our 2014 survey of members that was completed last month. Thanks to all who responded – nearly 70% of COCA members, in some form or another.

Of course, not all members responded – and there are others too who left COCA during 2014 – but one thing that came through in the responses was people’s positive appreciation and support for what COCA stands for and is trying to achieve. Many members already pay more than the standard cost of a share as a financial contribution. Others expressed interest in being able to donate occasionally when their financial situation made it possible. Many members also said they were willing to get involved with one or more of the working groups to help run different aspects of COCA. Quite a few more said they have some skills or experience to share, even if they can’t get involved as a regular commitment. If you responded like this, expect some contact in the near future to follow up from the people who’ve volunteered to coordinate the working groups!

We’re not perfect yet though…

Some comments asked for more transparency – on what is going on with the core group, and what are COCA’s goals for next year. I’m glad to say we now share the minutes of the core group meetings on the website, if you want to stay informed about the details. By our next AGM in April, we hopefully will have the ‘big picture’ in sharper focus too, with input from every working group.

Other comments called for us to push ourselves to produce more and better veg – to make COCA vegetables demonstrably good value on their own terms, aside from ‘supporting a CSA’. We’re looking at different ways to do this: more professional training for the growers; joining networks of other growers for support and advice; and trialling the effect of soil amendments to improve the health and quality of our vegetables.

One other pattern that came through were comments or suggestions about how to build our community of members: more sharing (whether picking up vegetables, or recipes on what to do with them!). and more events, that are also and especially welcoming to new members. Specific suggestions have been forwarded to different relevant working groups. We’re also looking into ways to make it easier to give more feedback and suggestions on an ongoing basis. Your opinion counts and your support makes a difference!

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Christmas box

Hi to all members Caz Miles here just a short message to let you now what’s in the Christmas box on the 19 of December we will have from
COCA veg
Red onions
Cabbage red and white
Kale curly and Italian
New carrots
Brussels sprouts
Bought in veg
White onions
and hopefully Celery
this is what you can expect in the box and if anyone would like to come down and help with our festive harvest you are all welcome we will be starting at 10 o’clock on Friday the 19th and if I don’t see you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Chistmas harvesting dates

As usual we’ll be harvesting for two weeks just before Christmas and missing out the week between Christmas and New Year. Here is the schedule over the period:

13/14th December – normal
20/21st December – pick up two weeks veg share
27/28th December – no harvest
3/4th January – back to normal

For the two members who collect a half share every fortnight, your full share will be harvested as usual for 13/14th Dec. We’ll then harvest a half share for you for the 20/21 Dec pick up and restart the fortnightly cycle from the  3/4 Jan pick up. You should have received a separate email about this,

For those of you who order fruit etc. from C&M organics please note:
C&M’s last delivery before Xmas will be for the weekend of 20/21st December – order by Wed 17th Dec.  C&M ordering restarts with a delivery for the weekend of 10th/11th Jan – order by Wed 7th. So, you will not be able to get a delivery for when the COCA veg share restarts on 3/4th Jan. Hopefully, everyone has received a separate email from C&M about this.

Any questions please to Dave at 07740 582830.


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Have you seen the pumpkin risotto in the Recipe section of the COCA website?  check it out if you are wondering what to do with the large orange slice in your share this weekend!

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Introduction to Spoon Carving


Learn to carve your own spoon! David Hunter, COCA member, will be offering a half day Introduction to Spoon Carving on the 25th October at Caerhys – and is offering other members a 10% discount on the normal £35 fee.

The course will allow you to take a roughly axed out spoon ‘blank’ and turn it into a spoon you’ll be able to use in the kitchen forever. David and his fellow instructor will teach you how to safely and effectively use different knives to shape your spoon, giving you the perfect introduction to making spoons for yourself at home.

The course will run from 9:30am to 1pm, and the course fee includes wood, all tools and tasty snacks to keep you going.  There will be a maximum of 10 students to the 2 instructors so you will get plenty of guidance throughout the process.

To book a place, or for more information, contact David by phone on 07770 776 402 or email at david@thecoppiceplot.com.

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Pick up organic fruit, wholefoods and supplementary veg along with your COCA veg share

fruit basketUse it or lose it
It’s not a pretty phrase, but in this case it is entirely accurate. The recently announced option of having C&M Organics deliver fruit to Caerhys to pick up along with your COCA veg share has only been taken up by two members. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to warrant the delivery service, so this is a quick email to say, let’s use it rather than lose it!

You can order wholefoods and supplementary veg as well as fruit
C&M can supply us with more than just fruit. They source organic Aubgergines, Avocados, Ginger, Chillies etc, as well as a range of organic wholefoods and supplies like Tea, Coffee, Cheese, Oils, Pulses, Pasta Porridge Oats etc. even ecover products for washing and cleaning.

Wherever possible they source locally. Blueberries for example currently come from a Carmarthenshire farm as they are in season. Clearly Bananas and other exotic items will come from farther afield, but will be organically certified.

Ordering and paying is simple
Simply email Chris & Matthew Young  at chrimatyo@tiscali.co.uk with a list of what you want before Wednesday evening. You can order small quantities e.g. 3 bananas or 2 apples – there’s no need to order whole kilograms of something.

Paying is also easy – you get an itemised invoice in your box and simply bank transfer the payment amount before your next order.

The full list of what is available for September is here.

September C&M Organics

Why not give it a try and make your weekly journey to Caerhys more “fruitful” 🙂

The list of items available is an Excel Spreadsheet with two tabs – one for fruit and veg and one for wholefoods. It looks more complicated than it is – don’t worry – just email a description of what you want to C&M. If you can’t open the spreadsheet just reply to this email and I’ll try to create a simpler list that I can email directly to you.

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Harvest Party – 3 days to go!

Feel-good music, sweet apple cider, wholesome cob-oven pizza – is there a better way to spend the last Friday evening of August?

The Harvest Party this Friday will be a celebration of all things Pembrokeshire; here is a taster of what you can expect:
• Folk band Little Arrow of St Davids
• Acoustic melodies from Daisyb of Llawhaden
• Award winning Gethin’s Cider of Haverfordwest
• Bluestone Brewning Co’s real ales of Cilgwyn
• COCA’s own vegetables will be lovingly made in to Pizzas and Calzones by Rupert Dunn, a Baker from St Davids
• Caerhys Farm reared Oxford Sandy and Black pork sausages and burgers will be on the BBQ

Schedule for the night will be (give or take):
• Daisyb from 7.30 to 9.00pm
• Little Arrow from 9.30 to 10.30pm
• DJ Matt Lyons from 10.30pm Midnight

There will Harvest Games to keep the little ones busy (as well as the big kids!) and the fantastic Cathy Morton will be doing face painting in aid of Shalom House.

Tickets will be available on the night or, for the super-organised, you can buy yours in advance from TYF Adventure in St Davids, The Ark on Quay Street in Haverfordwest or by email davet@coca-csa.org

Tickets are £5 each but Under 12s pay £2.50 and Under 5s go free. Overnight camping is available for £5 per pitch.

We’ve been looking forward to this night for months and really hope you are able to come out and support us. Let’s party!

COCA Harvest Party Poster (3)

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Ordering organic fruit was easy

Hi everyone,

Just in case you missed it or found the price list confusing, the new option to have organic fruit ready to pick up with your veg share on Fridays is really easy.

I just emailed C&M Organics with a list of what I wanted by the Wednesday. Small quantities are no problem. I listed just 2 Oranges for example, as we’d already got a few in the fruit bowl.

The box was there on Friday along with a simple bill detailing the price of each item and a total. I can simply bank transfer the payment before next Wednesday when I send in next week’s order. It made the veg pick-up even more worthwhile.

I also took advantage of their ability to supply organic eggs, garlic, ginger, aubergine and red pepper – in other words some things that I can’t get from COCA and would otherwise have to buy from the supermarket, probably from much further afield than C&M source them and most likely not organic either. The quality has been good too – ripe nectarines – how often do you get that in the local supermarket!

So, why not give it a go yourself. Just email chrimatyo@tiscali.co.uk with a list of whatever you want. If they don’t have something they’ll just let you know by return. Couldn’t be easier really.

Many thanks to Anne Curran for setting this up for us.


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Membership Benefit: organic fruit from C&M Organics

As a COCA member, you now have the opportunity of ordering from C&M Organics, based in Glandwr, if you would like to buy organic fruit or other vegetables to supplement your COCA share. Delivery will be every Friday to Caerhys so your C&M box can be picked up as usual with your COCA veg box. This is a great opportunity to get all your organic fruit and veg in one go!

We use C&M for additional vegetables during the ‘hungry gap’ and have found their quality to be excellent. They try to source all their produce as locally as possible, predominantly in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.


The current price list for C&M Organics is here:

CM_price_list_August2014 (Excel spreadsheet)
CM_price_list_August2014 (PDF version)

Placing an order

Orders are weekly so you will need to place an order each week, in by the Wednesday morning by 9am for delivery on the Friday. The first delivery will be on Friday 22nd August.

You will need to place your order directly with C&M Organics, either:

By email to chrimatyo@tiscali.co.uk
By phone 01994 419481 (to be left on answering machine if no answer)

Please state your first and last name and that it is to be delivered to the COCA scheme each time that you order.

Please pay by the following Tuesday by BACS so that your account is settled before the next weekly order goes in.

If you are interested…

If you are interested in this scheme, please let us know! This is because we need to maintain a total weekly minimum order of £150 between COCA members so that C&M can cover costs to come out to Caerhys. Anne Curran has agreed to manage the relationship with C&M, so before ordering with C&M please email her at annecurran77@yahoo.co.uk roughly how much you think you would order per week.

If you are away the odd week this doesn’t matter but please try and keep your orders weekly.

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How fruit and veg help make you … happy

You already knew that eating fruit and vegetables was important, but did you know they help make you happy too?

To find out why, you may be interested in a public lecture on ‘Understanding Human Happiness’ that is being given at Oriel y Parc on Tuesday 12th August, by Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick. Andrew is an internationally known behavioural scientist, a member of the editorial board of the journal Science, winner of Princeton University’s Lester Prize – and a COCA member!

The lecture starts at 7pm, tickets costing £3 per person. To book call 01437 720392 or email info@orielyparc.co.uk.

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Harvest Party!

Tickets now for sale for COCA’s Harvest Party on Friday 29th August 7pm at the Barn at Caerhys Farm, Berea, St Davids. There will be live music from two fantastic Pembrokeshire groups – Little Arrow and Daisyb.

Little Arrow, who hail from St Davids, make bitter sweet nu folk to heal the weary soul (their own words) and they’ve had some fantastic reviews including ‘music that makes you feel so glad to be alive.’

Daisyb who has supported artists including Newton Faulkner and KT Tunstall is super-talented and her bluesy vocals send chills down the spine.

We are VERY excited about both of these!

There will also be cob oven pizza, Caerhys meat BBQ and local ales. Harvest games (including apple bobbing) and face painting will also make it an event for all the family.

Tickets are £5 each and get yours in advance by contacting Dave Thomas on 07968 568 076 (or davet@coca-csa.org ) or you can get tickets from Gerald at Caerhys Farm. There is limited availability so get yours before they sell out.

The event is supported by Arts Council of Wales.

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Workday today and mini newsletter

kids low res

Hello All,

We have our monthly workday today, out in the sun. We have our third UNA exchange work party here from all over Europe, so come for some or all of the day for a cultural exchange over weeding and watering! Bring your own lunch this time…

In other news:

– 5 shares were not picked up last week, that is lots of beautiful veg which has taken much toil to produce. If you are going away, please be sure to either: Ensure a friend or neighbour picks up for you or you tell us so we don’t need to harvest veg for you. Its a shame to feed it to the pigs (although they are quite happy).

– The land is starting to get very dry and the fields nearby turning brown; we need rain!

– The fruit area near by the pollytunnels has some blackcurrants available, free to pick your own for members. 

-Tomatoes have arrived! Some in the boxes this week and so many more to follow!

– Our harvest party is confirmed for Friday August 29th. Ink it into your diary, its going to b extra special this year. We have big news on our ‘headliners’ for the event, to follow soon! Volunteers needed and welcome to help prepare for this. Contact dave_thomas83@yahoo.co.uk 


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Wales Community Supported Agriculture Gathering Sept 12-14.



Wales CSA Gathering Sept 2014


When: Friday 12 September to Sunday 14 September

Where: Cilcain, Flintshire

Calling all Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) schemes in Wales and all those who would like to inject some trust and solidarity into their local food systems.

The annual Wales CSA gathering  is coming up this September 12-14 near Mold, North Wales.  Following on from the very successful gathering at Lammas last year, this is a seminal moment for the future of CSA in Wales as we look to kick CSA on to the next level. We will be kindly hosted by Flintshare CSA.

This gathering is about coming together to celebrate, support each other’s exploits and learn from our strengths and weaknesses. There will be valuable workshops and it will all be based at the beautiful Cilcain growing site nestled in a little valley next to a stream. We’ll be erecting a big tent to host the event and we’ll be camping and cooking on site.

If you are not a camper, fear not, there are homestays and B&B options. Details available on request.

By the time you leave on the Sunday, we hope you will be enthused and skilled up to reinvigorate your work at your CSA.

We hope you can join us!

Spaces are limited so please book your place by 7th September.

Click here for the booking link and programme

Please also note that we have a Wales CSA google group to exchange news, ideas and more between CSA’s in Wales.

So to keep up to date on the CSA movement in Wales. Follow the link to join or email rupert@farmgarden.org.uk for an invitation email.



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Clear difference between organic and non organic food



Have a look at this pretty comprehensive recent research (link below). It certainly makes me very grateful to be a member of COCA…

More research needs to be conducted on areas like nutrient density, which hopefully will be revealed in the near future.

See you at the work day on Saturday 26th!



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Thank You UNA Work Camp 2!

IMG_8981 IMG_9101

Last Saturday 5th July our second UNA international volunteer workcamp of the summer came to a close and it proved to be just as successful as the first one. A BIG THANK YOU to Pelin and Toralp from Turkey, Tatiana from Russia, Jeremy and Romain from France and Sophia from Germany. They had each travelled from their home countries to come to Caerhys and we really enjoyed their boundless energy and enthusiasm over the last two weeks. They were kept very busy by Caz and Gerald and achieved a lot in their short time with us with the field now looking fantastic (hardly a weed in sight!) and the field shelter taking shape nicely.

Special thanks to the COCA members who were able to donate food during their stay and show them some Pembrokeshire hospitality! In particular Val &Wyn, Rupert and Rhiannon. Also thanks to Transition Bro Gwaun Café who kindly donated food again and the Miles family who made the volunteers feel so at home on the farm.

Diolch yn fawr iawn pawb!

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Organic pest control at its best on Saturday as we built five new scarecrows for the field which will hopefully keep those pesky pigeons at bay! Click on the pictures for a bigger view:

  • Busy buildingBusy building
  • COCA's newest workers out in the fieldCOCA's newest workers out in the field

Thanks to Stuart, Heather, Emily, Karen and Dave and six very able little helpers..

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Fantastic veg box this week!

There wont be any empty tummies among COCA members as the season is showering us in great quality produce. Time do dust off the pickling and preserves book!

Big thanks to our hard-working grower Caz, our super WWOOFER’s Coline and Celement, our UNA exchange folk and the COCA members who come and volunteer.

In the box this week (all grown on the farm):

Veg                          Full share weight  (kg)                           Half hare weight (kg)

New potatoes       1.4                                                                  708g

Chard                     740g                                                                 370g

Cabbage               1 each                                                            1 each

Baby carrots        700g                                                                   350g

Kale                        320g                                                                   160g

Broccoli                 140g                                                                     –

Spring onion        4 each                                                                –

Peas                        200g                                                                  100

French beans      120g                                                                   –

Radish                   –                                                                            12 each

Mixed salad          1 bag                                                                 –

Lettuce head      1 each                                                                1 each

Parsley & chives   handful                                                        handfulIMG_0229[1]


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Scarecrow building tomorrow!

Looks like it will be a showery one tomorrow so a chance to do a much needed task which can be done undercover – scarecrow making! Bring along any old clothes (brighter the better) plus any old CDs to tie on to them. All other materials provided.

Who will make the scariest scarecrow?!


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Volunteer Day This Saturday & Cob Oven Stew for Lunch!

This Saturday (28th June) will be Volunteer Day at the farm. Come down to Caerhys from 10am for lots of fun! Caz will let us know the plan at the start but there are plenty of tasks that need doing. Rupert will be firing up the Cob Oven again and hopes to cook up some stews in it for the shared lunch. Feel free to bring any dishes to share.

Our Workcamp 2 international volunteers will be there; Sophia from Germany, Toralp and Pelin from Turkey, Romain and Jeremy from France and Tatiana from Russia. Lots of new faces to meet!

All welcome!

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Official opening of “Polly 2”

On Saturday 26 April we were delighted to welcome the Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Councillor Mike James, to officially open our new polytunnel, “Polly 2”!

Councillor James was accompanied by Councillor Lyn Jenkins at the opening and both were delighted to see the progress being made by COCA: we’re the the only community supported agriculture project in west Wales! Afterwards 18 volunteers stayed to take part in the third volunteer workday of the year.

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Thank you!

groupontractor_small groupshotNow that our first of three international volunteer workcamps is over I want to say some big thank yous on behalf of the COCA Core Group.

Firstly to the four wonderful volunteers who travelled to COCA to take part in the workcamp. Anh from Vietnam, Jeremy and Colas from France and Michi from Germany. Thank you for your hard work, enthusiasm and ‘hwyl’ over the last two weeks. Gerald and Caz kept them busy with lots of weeding, planting, sowing and transplanting. They also helped in preparing the foundations for the field shelter which, once built, will offer storage in the field and a place to escape the weather.

It was fascinating to speak with Anh and to hear that she had travelled all the way from Vietnam specifically to come to COCA and take part in the workcamp. It was her first taste of western culture and although it was a culture shock at first she quickly settled in. Whilst Jeremy has made himself even more comfortable as he is staying to take part in Workcamp 2!

I also want to sincerely thank the COCA members who were able to donate food for the workcamp. The members’ generosity in giving food and hospitality has been really wonderful. We must also thank the kind folks at Transition Café Fishguard for donating three boxes of food. Finally ‘diolch yn fawr iawn’ to Gerald and the Miles Family who made the volunteers feel so at home at Caerhys.

As for Workcamp 2, we have six volunteers coming – from Germany, France, Turkey and Russia! They arrive on 21st June and stay until 5th July. The COCA volunteer day will be Saturday 28th June so this will be an opportunity to meet our guests.

Exciting times ahead!

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The benefits of farming together

This is a good article on what community supported agriculture is all about.  Plus some info on two other CSAs (Chagfood and FoodSmiles).


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team work

Leslie, Gabriella, Nathan and Gill setting the challenge to others to beat our record …. 520 lettuce seedlings planted out in 1 hour 15 minutes! And planted in (almost) straight lines and watered in.  Woo Hoo!

Lovely volunteer work day on Saturday  with lots of people, lovely sunshine, the carrots got weeded (well, mostly), lettuce got planted (well, first of 5 blocks) and there was a spectacular pizza-party thanks to Rupert and others. Finally accordian music in the yard thanks to Colline and Michi … what’s not to like?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Next members volunteer workday will be last Saturday of June

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Tomorrow’s work day and pizza lunch

We hope you can come along to the farm tomorrow to meet our international volunteers and help with some urgent work on the farm.

We have both morning and afternoon sessions so come for both or start of finish with a nice lunch.

Please also bring contributions for pizza toppings for lunch, to be cooked on our cob oven at 1pm.

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Well fed and well weeded!

A big thanks to Val and Wyn Buick for putting on an enormous meal for COCA volunteers and our UNA exchange work camp volunteers last night. A great evening was had with many tales and laughter. An especially warm welcome to Ang who has come all the way from Vietnam to Volunteer for COCA!

This Saturday it is your chance to meet them all at our monthly work day, do come down. we will DEFINITELY be firing up the cob oven this time and dough will be provided, so bring whatever toppings,  or dishes you would like to cook for lunch!


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Spinach Chicken and Pasta bake … delicious!

100gr Orza “rice macaroni” per person (its a pasta in tiny bits like rice)

about 500gr  Spinach, Chard, Kale or Spring Cabbage (or a mixture) for 2 people

cooked chicken

Philadelphia cheese

seasoning : grated nutmeg, tarragon, salt and pepper

optional  more cheese (cheddar or parmesan) and optional single cream

Start by washing the greens, preparing by pulling out any really tough midribs.  Steam until cooked really well, then chop thoroughly and finely.  Add about 2 tbsp Philadelphia cheese (or more) and season well with salt, pepper, grated nutmeg and a pinch of tarragon.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain and season.

In a greased dish, layer half the cooked pasta, then half the greens, strew over the shredded cooked chicken , the rest of the pasta and finally the rest of the greens.  Pour over some single cream (if wanted) and grate a little hard cheese onto the top. Bake in a medium oven for about 15 minutes .

serve with a sharp salad of sliced radishes, torn oriental greens and sliced red peppers or red onions.


This spinach mix also can be used as a stuffing for cannelloni or a filling for a vegetarian lasagne

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Tomatoes have started



We’re. Off to a good start the earliest we’ve had them in yet very exciting woo hoo

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Core Group changes at the AGM

A brief note from our AGM: COCA had its AGM on the 1st April at Curtis House, St Davids and elected its ‘Core Group’ for 2014. This will be Wyn Buick (Chair), Val Buick, Gil Lewis, Fiona Michael, David Hunter, Stuart Johnson, Anthony Bullock and David Thomas along with the growing team of Gerald and Caz Miles. Minutes of the meeting will be published and shared in the near future.

It also saw the stepping down of Rupert Dunn and David Livingstone (Chair and Membership Secretary respectively), both of whom have been tireless over the last few years to make COCA what it is today. Thanks Rupert and Dave for all your hard work!

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Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes



552 tomatoes transplanted! I hope everyone likes tomatoes.

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A very productive and fun day

IMG_4350Getting ready for the field – Caz gives a “tool talk” – though the main tools for planting onion sets were our fingers!

It was drizzly and grey at the outset, but despite the weather 13 brave souls took to the mud.




After just an hour or so, we’d planted out two complete runs of black plastic with onion sets.

Not wanting to waste any precious soil, Gerald was ready with the power hose when we’d finished!




So, everyone took it in turns for a quick wash down  before the next task.

Once cleaned up, we set off for the soft fruit patch just above the Polytunnels. Thankfully, the weather had improved by this time and the area wasn’t as muddy as the field.



IMG_4356This area was in desperate need of weeding. Our veg field has always taken priority and there has never been enough labour to tend the fruit bushes.

Another hour or so later and job done! Many hands certainly do make light work 🙂



IMG_4357Hopefully, this year we can look forward to some raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants.

Picking will be labour intensive, so we may end up with a pick your own approach. But first things first – let’s try to keep them weed free and cross our fingers for a good summer to ripen the crop.




Now to lunch! A welcome shared lunch with a brilliant variety of contributions from everyone. Dorien,  our French Wwoofer of several weeks was even able to rustle up some brownies in his caravan!

Two more French Wwoofers arrived last night and spent their first day with us. They have taken a whole month to get to us – having cycled from Nantes! Welcome Colleen and Clement.

The next workday is the last Saturday in April, which will be the 26th. Do come along and join in the  laughter and share the food.


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Useful root veg recipe from Robbie Coles

West African style winter stew.

One or two beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks.
About 500 gm assorted roots-e.g. carrots, parsnips, swede, celeriac-peeled and cut into chunks.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 or more fresh chillies, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
About 100 gm crunchy peanut butter
A handful of roasted salted peanuts (optional)
A handful of spinach (optional)
Oil, salt and pepper.

This is loosely based on a traditional Ghanaian dish, adapted for winter roots.

Simmer the beetroot for an hour. Add the rest of the roots and continue simmering until all are tender, using just enough water to cover.
While the roots are cooking, fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli gently until the onion is soft and golden brown.
When the roots are done, stir in the onion mixture, the peanut butter and the spinach (if using). Simmer for a few minutes, stirring to make sure the peanut butter is properly mixed in. Add more water if it’s too thick.
Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with the coriander and roasted peanuts.
Serve with cous cous or rice.


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Today we are transplanting 280 purple sprouting broccoli if anybody has spare time to help feel free to come down.

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Coca polly’s up to full speed!



20140313-162846.jpg yum yum!

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AGM Tuesday 1st April – advanced notice

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be at Curtis House in St. Davids on Tuesday 1st April starting at 7pm. We’ll send out a little more detail in a reminder message nearer the time. At the last General Meeting we had a short film and some refreshments, both of which went down very well and so we’ll try to do the same again. There will be plenty of opportunity to meet other COCA members and chat, so do put the date in your diary.

Thanks, COCA Core group 20140313-153202.jpg

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Next COCA workday

The next COCA work day will be on Saturday February 22nd from 10am.

We’ll be firing up the cob oven too (since we gave her a new lime render), so there will be hot food!

Come and get your hands dirty and have some fun. Let us know if you plan to come…

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New Polly News

Thanks to two grown-up volunteers and one under 5 plus our trusty long-term winter WOOFA, Yvon, the new polytunnel dig was completed on Saturday … the first volunteer workday of 2014.  The picture shows Ian and Yvon doing a celebratory High 5 at the far end of beds of Broad Beans (planted in November as a temporary green manure crop) and transplanted and seeded beds of salad mustards, rocket, radish and spring onions for cropping in March/ April …. if all goes well.  Yvon has done the bulk of the soil prep and planting here while Caz has been  repairing the poly tunnel structures and working to complete the new poly set-up.  In unpredictable winter weather that has not been easy!  The old poly is nearly shredded and Caz must wait for quiet weather before getting the expert chap in to resheet it.  The winter salad crops planted in the old poly are partially protected by cloches, but growing conditions are not as good as they should be so we do not know yet how badly the planned harvest is affected.


The volunteer workday got one major job finished, which is great, but other planned tasks had be put off because the hands weren’t there to do them. There was only one week’s notice for that workday, but all members should have now seen that the last Saturday of every month is going to be the regular volunteer day.  The next will be Saturday February 22nd, 10am start. We really look forward to having many more people on the farm to help then with jobs that need more than 2 people to do. There will be more information nearer the time, as well as, hopefully, a way to sign up on-line.

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COCA Members Party (and harvest) on Friday 20th

All our members are warmly invited my the Miles family to Caerhys farmhouse from 7pm.


– A dish to share

– A secret Santa gift

– Whatever you’d like to drink

We’ll also have a double harvest this week, so you’ve plenty of veg in for your Christmas meal.

You’re welcome to come and help harvest from 1pm. There will be tea and freshly baked focaccia for al the harvesters at 4pm!



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COCA EGM a Success

Many thanks to all COCA members who came to our EGM last night (Thursday 12th Dec) and to those who sent in feedback in your absence.

Full minutes are here:

COCA EGM 12th Dec 2013

The main things we achieved were:

– To try and include recipes with boxes.

– Make communications with members more consistent

– Have a monthly work day throughout the year.

– Also agreed to create an on-line diary so people can commit ahead of time to help with harvest. This will allow Caz to plan his workload.

– We also talked about the £4,000 + shortfall we face next year. We were blown away by the support from members  who pledged to pay more than their current share. If we all act on that, we will half our projected 2014 deficit!

– We agreed to sell surplus to Oriel Y Parc cafe to make some extra income.

– not to mention the tasty home-made soup, bread and cakes and the pint afterwards! Thamks to those who contributed.

More details to follow soon.

With thanks, The core group

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COCA EGM Thursday 12th 7pm

A brief reminder to all our wonderful members. We have an EGM coming up in Curtis house this Thursday.

We need to tell you how COCA is stacking up and we’d like your feedback. Its really important to COCA that you come if you are at all able to, so we can set COCA on the right path for the future.

There will be tea and cake on offer (any home bakers offering cake to share welcome!)

We will also be watching a brand new film about the local food movement in the UK, hot off the press.

Hope to see you there!

The core group.

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Storm stricken pollytunnel!

We had the windiest night for a long time down at the farm last night, Wednesday 21st; and sadly, it ripped the cover off our small pollytunnel. Gerald and Caz are working hard to repair it as best they can.

It does mean that our salads will be growing more slowly until we can get a new sheet on…

The new pollytunnel is not yet sheeted, so its OK thankfully.

Never a dull day growing for COCA!

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EGM on 12th December not 7th!

Dear members,

Oops. what was I thinking, a Saturday night when everyone will be kicking back enjoying their weekend? No, that wont work.

So, please scrap the 7th. Our extraordinary general meeting will be on:

 Thursday 12th December 7pm, Curtis House, Bryn Road. 

Please, come down if you can at all manage. It will be an interesting night, but also a critical one for COCA.

Apologies for the date mix up.

A member of the core group will be in touch with you very soon with more details.

With thanks,

The core group

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Robbie’s kale pasta

Running out of ideas for your kale this time of year?

Try this tasty recipe courtesy of our member, chef Robbie Coles.

4 oz pasta shapes per person (penne/fusilli/shells)
handful of kale
1 onion thinly sliced
1 chilli finely chopped
handful of cashews or flaked almonds
rosemary, chopped
olive oil
tomato puree
unsalted butter (about half ounce per person)

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.
Strip the leaf from the ribs of the kale and discard the ribs. Roughly chop the leaf.
When the water comes to the boil, add the pasta and kale together, stir, bring back to the boil, reduce heat and cook until the pasta is done.
Meanwhile fry the onion, nuts, chilli and rosemary gently together until the onion is golden brown.
Drain the pasta saving a little of the cooking water, return to the pan, stir in the onion mixture and a little tomato puree, remove from heat, add the butter and serve, with or without parmesan.

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Sourdough organic artisan bread now available for COCA members!

Just out of the oven and available to COCA members on Fridays. You can either pick up in St Davids or at the farm with your veg.

– White cob
– 100% Wholemeal spelt & raisin
– 100% wholemeal rye & caraway

All sourdough with organic flour milled in Wales.

Contact Rupert to set up your weekly order.
07955 387 614


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COCA is looking for a new treasurer

Ian Humphrey, our long-standing treasurer has now moved away and will soon be stepping down.

We are looking for someone to take on the role in a voluntary capacity. Ian has done a great job putting our systems in place and he can help familiarise you with these.

If you are interested, or know of someone who might be, contact chair@coca-csa.org or tel 07955 387 614.

Many thanks,

The core group.

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Seed Diversity Threat – Final Stages of European petition

Here is the translated text of a petition to the European commission, parliament and council concerning new seed regulations. More info here. Sign the petition here.

New seed regulations are currently being drafted in Brussels. If the Directorate General for Health and Consumers’ plans become a reality, more old and rare varieties of fruits, vegetables and grains will disappear from the market. These diverse varieties and varieties adapted to organic agriculture are to be hampered by bureaucracy, while the power of corporate agriculture is further strengthened.
The currently available texts for the new EU seed regulation will promote a concentration of the seed market into the hands of a small number of seed industry corporations. This is unacceptable. A new EU seed regulation must allow diversity varieties, varieties for small-scale farming and ecologically adapted breeding.
Diverse varieties must be available not only in gene banks, but on the open market too, without any bureaucratic restrictions. Therefore we demand: no obligation for registration! Besides this, the current registration criteria must be lowered for varieties suitable for organic farming by virtue of their diversity, so our agriculture remains adaptable to climate change, new pests and diseases, as well as more environmentally friendly lifestyles.
Neither the current EU seed law nor the presently available informally submitted drafts for legal changes to the law fulfil these requirements. They threaten seed diversity and thereby mankind’s common agricultural heritage. They also threaten sustainable food systems and exist only to serve the agrochemical industry.
We urge you, EU Commission, Parliament and Council members, to reject any proposal that does not fulfill the above mentioned criteria!

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