At Filling Good, you can refill cupboard staples, grab plastic-free beauty products and now… you can even pick up fresh, local vegetables.
We’ve partnered with Waltham Place Farm to provide a selection of fresh, organic produce. They're available from 11am every Friday until Sunday.
As a local, biodynamic and organic farm, we knew Waltham Place Farm was the perfect partner to join us on our mission to reduce waste.
So far, we’ve enjoyed juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, kale, beetroot, baby leeks, courgettes, potatoes, salad onions and more. Safe to say, these biodynamic veggies have flown off the shelves!
Now, you may be thinking: What on Earth does biodynamic mean? Who is Waltham Place Farm? And, what makes these vegetables so darn good?
Fear not, get ready to rumble up your appetite as we dive into answering these questions.
What is Waltham Place Farm?
A stone's throw from Maidenhead, Waltham Place Farm is a 220-acre organic and biodynamic farm. It’s also home to some stunning naturalist gardens that are well worth a visit.
Impressively, the farm has stood on the same site for around 1,000 years. It went organic in 1984, then attained biodynamic status in 2006. The owners view the farm as “one organism rather than a series of separate enterprises." They are keen to champion sustainability and biodiversity. Sound like our kind of people.
Currently, the farm grows a mix of produce, including fruit, vegetables and grains. It also has some small-scale, grass-fed and respectfully raised meat animals.
As a biodynamic farm, it aims to operate as a closed-loop system wherever possible. In other words, it’s mainly self-sufficient. Waltham Place Farm has bucked against mainstream farming in favour of a more holistic approach. One that is kinder to the animals, healthier for the soil and better for people.
Okay, so what is biodynamic farming?
According to the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance, biodynamic farming is: “a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.”
Philosopher and scientist, Dr Rudolf Steiner, founded the idea in 1924. He sought to integrate scientific understanding with a deep respect for nature. In the almost 100 years since its conception, the idea has attracted many farmers across the globe.
It's clear why.
Biodynamics aims to maximise the health and well-being of the soil, animals, produce and people. It’s built on the principle to keep the land fertile generation after generation.
It sees farms as entire, self-sustained organisms. Just like in nature, every part must work in harmony to thrive. It’s about working with nature, not against it.
With a few tweaks, biodynamics can apply to different landscapes, climates and cultures, making it an easy method to adopt. Now, more than 600,000 acres of land across 55 countries are certified biodynamic!
Is biodynamic farming better for soil?
Short answer: yes!
Now, the long answer.
Traditional farming has dramatically depleted the nutrient levels of our soil thanks to the overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. The other problem is these products don’t just kill the annoying plant-munching pests, they also kill key pollinators like bees.
Globally, biodiversity has dropped.
Biodynamic farming, on the other hand, aims to increase soil fertility in a few ways.
Waltham Place Farm uses strip grazing to maximise the fertilisation potential of its animals. Concentrating grazing patterns ensures more coverage of manure. It also encourages the animals to eat the tougher grasses before moving on. Grazing rotation allows the grass to rest and recover, giving the animals more delicious nutrient-dense grass to munch on later.
And, it’s not just the cattle that benefit. Healthy crops are directly correlated to healthy soil. Biodynamic farming draws on a lot of traditional techniques. Crop rotation, companion planting, mulching, cover cropping and composting are all preventative methods to keep pests at bay while improving the soil’s structure.
Together, these practices protect and feed the soil, reducing the need for imported fertilizers. The result is self-sustained nutrient-rich soil with a diverse community of beneficial microbial life.
And, is it better for biodiversity?
Of course, it is!
Biodynamic farming methods naturally attract more insects and worms that keep the soil aerated. More insects and worms mean more birds, frogs and hedgehogs acting as nature’s pest controllers. A natural balance is easily maintained since chemicals aren't present to throw things off.
Waltham Place Farm’s gardens are also rife with flowers. In nature, plant communities are incredibly diverse. By recreating this diversity in their own gardens, Waltham Place Farm invites a variety of pollinators. Bees and butterflies aplenty pollinate all the delicious fruits and vegetables.
Okay, but is it better for your plate?
Working with nature and the seasons is bound to produce tastier and healthier produce. Plants can grow seasonally at their natural pace rather than artificially accelerated.
Waltham Place Farm uses the Biodynamic Growing and Planting Calendar to enhance growing conditions. It has fine-tuned its methods to produce vegetables, fruits, grains and flowers with added flavour, vigour and storability.
The result is pesticide-free, nutrient-dense, rich foods that holistically feed humans. The best way to test this, of course, would be to try them out for yourself! Our customers can’t stop raving about the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Waltham Place’s self-sufficiency means their produce avoids racking up food miles or lots of packaging. In fact, all the fruits and veggies we sell in the shop are picked mere hours before they end up on our shelves for unbeatable freshness!
Have you tried biodynamically grown vegetables yet? If not, head to Filling Good from Friday to Sunday to pick up your produce. And, hurry, because once it's gone, it's gone!