Newlina is strikingly different from most farms, in that it is as much a garden and a home as it is something of industry. It is small enough that a hand pushed rotavator is the largest machine on site, and everything else is done by hand. The car park is surrounded by rosehip, thyme, bright golden marjoram, love in a mist, self-sown rocket from a crop a few years back... There is a large field kept empty for putting up tents and yurts for those who want to enjoy the space for themselves, with a cast iron cauldron hung above a fire. The tunnels are efficient, looked after and produce crop to sell. But everywhere else are considerations for the land, encouraging habitats for insects and birds and natural lines of trees planted for shade, and a couple of hand built cabins for those who want to work and be part of the landscape. A line of tall hedges next to a packing shed adorned with dried herbs and smouldering resin hides away a modest caravan where Paul and Laura have lived for the past fifteen years.
It is more than significant that their motivation is the love and respect of the nature around them rather than the profit. It's not what you'd learn at a business school, that profit comes last, but in an industry linked at its core with the environment and with making people healthy and happy, there's a constant, fragile dance between the work you care for and the money you need to keep on doing it.
We feel the same way, as do many businesses around us. Money is easy to know, to count, to have. All the other things are more intangible and not easily valued in our society. It also gets lost quite often in the supply chain as people deal with order sheets and emails.
I think it is what saves us, to make that sacrifice and to commit time and energy into something for the love of it, even though it would be more profitable to do otherwise. We try to keep the same ethos in our food. Why make a thousand dumpling skins when you can buy them? Because you get something different from making a thousand skins, namely a very sore wrist and a couple days work, but also some element of instinct and a small extension of yourself into a craft.
Thanks Paul and Laura, for all your goodness! Gracious! The best stuff.