Are you happy? Philip Owen, asparagus grower

My life is run by the weather from March to October. I listen to forecasts and check them on the internet. When it works out right, it's great - I can plan my days and pick product. Give me a light breeze, sunshine, a warmish evening, and the asparagus will respond in the morning. The top of the bed is flat, shaped like a KitKat. Sometimes I walk across the field and I see the spears coming up after a warm night, standing straight, and I know there will be a big, good-quality yield. But in cold and wet, a spear will grow only around 1cm a day. Rain slows growth.

The farm was bought by my great-grandad in 1938 and we've had asparagus here since 1986. I love it because it offers new challenges. You can experiment with spacing or drop the amount of fertiliser one year. We've got purple asparagus you can eat raw. It's not like growing wheat. You're constantly learning.

The payment terms from supermarkets can make a farmer unhappy. My wife is a bank manager, so she understands, but she knows that I'm happiest outside, getting messy and riding the tractor.

I'm happy, but not all the time. We live on the side of a hill. Sometimes you can see the clouds coming in, you can feel the bad weather getting closer just before it starts throwing it down. Give me some decent days and I'll be just fine.

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