April 2012 NEWSLETTER
This entry was posted on 12th April 2012.
SPRING IS HERE!
The field next to the Farm drive is currently number one maternity ward and is bouncing with long legged woolly bear bundles of joy. If they're not scampering about mischieviously, they're snoozing in a nice comfy place, oblivious of how far Mum has wandered off. The combination of this, clumps of daffodils a few weeks ago, the hedgerows full of blackthorn blossom and almost being able to hear the grass growing is a sure sign that spring has sprung. This is most definitely our favourite time of the year!
We hope you're enjoying it too.
Sam and Claire Barker
Spring also heralds the onset of field work and the farm has been buzzing for the last couple of months. Some of the activities though have not been so fragrant. We've been muck spreading! Not always very popular locally, but it is an essential means of getting nutrients and organic matter back into the ground.
Our arable crops (wheat, barley and triticale) have been mechanically weeded, the grassland rolled and harrowed and spring crops drilled. We have been really concerned about how dry the farm has been since last summer, so the recent rain has been extremely welcome.
Images of the Farm in Spring
Description of this month's gallery entries
Our spritely new bull, Harford Kennedy, arrived a few weeks ago from Gloucestershire. He was bred by Pat Quinn and won the Best Junior Bull class in the 2011 Regional Longhorn Society Herd Competition. As you can see he's a very handsome chap and we're looking forward to seeing his sons and daughters in due course.
One of our local customers is keeping us on our toes with new, tried and tested beef recipes. At Christmas is was Beef in Ginger Wine and then last week Beef with Peaches! We've just adapted one of the one Great British Food Revival recipes, Beef Tagine, using a whole piece of Silverside instead of diced casserole. You add an aromatic cocktail of spices (coriander, cumin, ginger and cinnamon), prunes, onions, honey and top up with water. Left in the bottom oven for as long as possible it not only fills the kitchen with amazing Morrocan smells but we reckon it tastes fabulous too.
Also, if you're wondering what to do with the Raclette you were given for Christmas or you fancy dusting off the Fondue, try marinating some rump steaks in fresh ginger, garlic, oil and balsamic vinegar. It's really tasty and good fun!
If you have any firm favourites or recent discoveries, please do let us know. We'd love to hear about them.
Our Butcher is here this week and so the Fridge will be full again by Friday 27 April. If there is anything you'd specifically like please let us know and we'll put it on one side for you, either for collection or to be sent via next day delivery Courier. It has been on the hook for nearly five weeks, so once vacuum packed we allow another 7- 10 days fridge shelf life before freezing.
We know how much you enjoy our Roasting joints and steaks, but please don't over look our diced casserole, braising steak and mince. To coin a phrase we believe you really can 'Taste the Difference'.
Please note that although meat prices nationally continue to rise we are still offering great savings when buying Mixed Boxes.
Your Perfect Roast Beef
Here are some of Sam and Claire's Top Tips for cooking Forerib, Sirloin, Topside or Top Rump:
1 Remove the packaging and allow the meat to come up to room temperature
2 Dust with flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper
3 Place the joint on the top shelf of the oven until everything is sizzling and the fat is a lovely golden brown (approx 20 mins)
4 Reduce the temperature and calculate the cooking time as follows: 15min/lb (rare), 20-25 mins/lb (Medium) and 25-30 mins (well done)
5 But DONT over do it! Invest in a Meat Thermometer. Every oven is different and we've found it's been worth every penny. They're available at Lakeland http://www.lakeland.co.uk
6 Then make sure your calculations allow 20 - 30 minutes 'Resting Time' before carving.
Ludlow Slow Food Group
The Ludlow Slow Food Group kindly invited us to take our beef along to their AGM at the end of the March. It was hosted by the Ludlow Brewery and therefore it was fitting to serve our Shin of Beef casseroled in one of their speciality Ales, Black Knight. We even had a Black Knight Chocolate Cake! It was a brilliant to hear more about what the Slow Food Group is all about to and to then have a fascinating tour of the Brewery. The whole evening was a riot on the senses!
Following on from it's success we have agreed to host an Event on the 27th May. See below for details.
Farm Visit - Sunday 27 May 2pm til 6pm
We'd like to invite you to come and spend the afternoon with us on Sunday 27 May. Come at 2pm and the tour will start at 2.30pm. You'll see our beautiful Longhorns, our arable crops, the countryside stewardship headlands, the River Severn which runs alongside the farm and our Butchery before finishing off with a Hot Beef Roll, piece of cake and a cuppa. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 18 May. Families are very welcome, but please bear in mind that parts of the walk are a bit tricky for pushchairs and are unsuitable for people with mobility difficulties.