Christmas is less than a week away, but there are still roses coming into bud and geraniums flowering in the garden. Up until last week we've also had the main herd grazing the front field, which is unheard of at this time of year! They're now tucking into stubble turnips, which is a bit of a Christmas treat!
Whilst we've had some wind and rain over the last few days we are very grateful for a relatively mild, dry autumn, which has been an extra bonus after a truelly wonderful summer.
As we write we are waiting for the courier to collect the final consignment of Christmas Orders and we're looking forward to seeing some of you tomorrow (Friday 20 December) when you call into the Butchery. Thank you very much to everyone who has supported us over the course of the year. We so enjoy talking and corresponding with you all. We are very fortunate to have such a loyal following which continues to grow and flourish. We believe wholeheartedly in our beef and the way in which we produce it. When it comes to the taste, well if you're reading this, you'll know that that speaks for itself!
May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year!
We look forward to hearing from you in 2014.
With very best wishes
Sam and Claire
Great Berwick Farm, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Those of you who've been down to the Butchery on a Friday afternoon may have met Sarah and if so will have experienced her passion and enthusiasm. She is our pocket rocket and without her tireless loyality and commitment to her work here we'd struggle to provide the service we do. She cuts, packs,weighs, labels, taste tests, you name it she does it. She is our Berwick Star.
The Butchery will be open between 10am and 6pm on Friday 20 December for you to collect your Christmas orders and pick up any last minute supplies of beef, pies, horseradish or bearnaise for your fridge/freezer.
We will also be open between 12pm and 4pm on Friday 27 December for you to collect your New Year orders.
Our first day back in the New Year will be Friday 3 January when it will be business as usual in the Butchery between 12 midday and 6pm.
We will, of course, continue to pick up emails and telephone calls over the Christmas period. We might not be quite so quick replying though!!
We were proud and delighted to read Tom Parker Bowles' article in the Mail on Sunday on 8 December when he extolled the Great Rib of Beef as a magnificient thing and an entirely suitable cut for the Christmas table. He went on to mention where best to source wonderfully marbled, properly flavoured beef and www.longhornbeef.co.uk (Great Berwick Organics) was there alongside The Ginger Pig and others. For the whole article click on the following link: www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/columnist.../Tom-Parker-Bowles.ht.
There has been a distinct change of temperature over the last couple of days. We're officially in autumn and the hedgerows are testament to that with an abundance of hips and berries. It's been an excellent growing season, albeit rather delayed by the cold spring, and the field and garden harvest has been rewarding.
The cattle are all looking really well having enjoyed the sun on their backs and plenty of grass under their feet. There's no doubt that happy cows equal great tasting beef!
Once again there is plenty to report as you'll see below. We've had a great summer, seen and corresponded with lots of our loyal customers (you know who you are, thank you!) and had the pleasure of meeting and talking to new ones who have found us on line or followed the wafts of beef and the crowds at the Shrewsbury and Ludlow Food Festivals.
Our Christmas Order Book is beginning to fill, so here's a gentle reminder that the festive season is fast approaching. Please do get in touch in plenty of time to avoid disappointment. You might also like to consider one of our Christmas Mixed Boxes as a gift for foodie friends and family.
With very best wishes
Sam and Claire
Ludlow Food Festival 2013
This was our second year at Ludlow Food Festival and we had a brilliant three days. The weekend provided us with another fantastic opportunity to offer samples (Topside, Top Rump and Silverside) which we'd pre-cooked and then finished off in our Green Egg barbeque. We had people queuing to 'try before they buy' and then buy they did on the strength of what they'd tasted.
It was lovely to see and meet so many of the visitors to the Festival, our loyal customers and friends. We also really enjoyed meeting Ellie Harrison from BBC1's Countryfile. Sadly we ended up on the cutting room floor when it came to the programme being aired on the 29 September, but Sam is continuing to thrive on her comments that ' we need more sexy young farmers like you in the industry!'
Some more pictures of Ludlow
Our new bull, Tripps Invincible is the latest edition to the herd having joined at the end of August. We collected him from Salisbury, but he was bred in Dorset. Whilst he has his fair share of recognised bloodlines he also has plenty of hybrid vigor which bodes well for his future here at Berwick. He is a very handsome chap and we're looking forward to seeing his progeny in the Spring.
We've not quite finished the combining, so Harvest Festival celebrations are slightly premature. We've just got the last couple of acres of linseed left to do, but otherwise the Rye, Triticale, Spring Wheat and Barley are safely in store. The straw is baled and the dutch barns are looking reassuringly full to see us through the winter.
The good weather has also given us the opportunity to replenish our stores of winter forage (hay and silage).
On and around the Farm
Autumn colours and harvest
Christmas Mixed Box
Are you beginning to deliberate over your Christmas gift list? If so you might like to give some thought to one of our Christmas Hampers. Beautifully presented in the Great Berwick Organics Cool bag, they not only include a selection of carefully selected steaks, roasting joints and mince..... but we also include a jar of The Garlic Farm's delicious Creamy Horseradish with Garlic, a jar of The Bay Tree's Bearnaise and a bottle of Pillastro, all of which are the perfect partners for our beef. We'll arrange delivery in the week before Christmas and include a personalised gift message.For further details go to http://www.longhornbeef.co.uk/mixed boxes
Bomere Heath Primary School Visit
A group of twenty four 6 and 7 year olds from our local Primary School came to visit the farm earlier this week. Their enthusiasm and interest was infectious and it was a joy to show them around. They saw the cows and their fawns (as one little girl described the calves!), learnt about how many organic loaves of bread are produced from a square metre of land, the difference between hay, straw and silage and weighed themselves in the sheep scales. It'll be interesting to get feed back on what stood out in their memories, even if it is just the flapjack and orange squash.
Diamond Award Winner 2013
We're delighted to report that our Pies won their category in the recently contested Heart of England Fine Foods Taste Awards. For those of you who've already tried them, this will come as no surprise! We reckon they're pretty good and they're such a handy meal to have on stand by in the freezer. The perfect slow food fast!
Keeping up to date
If you'd like to keep up to date on a more regular basis please click on the Facebook and Twitter icons below. Don't worry we're not overly zelous when it comes to posting updates and tweeting, but it does provide some extra snippets of Great Berwick news inbetween newsletters.
Great Berwick Organics were delighted to return to Ludlow for this year's three day Food Festival. The Great Berwick team (Sarah and Martin) pulled out all the stops working tirelessly in the ten days leading up to the event to ensure that the beef arrived in tip top condition.
Once again the Ludlow Festival Committee kindly awarded a Bursary which enabled us to attend all three days, which boosted trade and reached a wider audience. Samples of topside, top rump and silverside, which had been cooked on the Green Egg, disappeared in seconds and gave potential customers the opportunity 'to try before they buy'. It worked wonders. The feed back we received was amazing; general disbelief that beef could taste so good.
The whole event was as professional and well choreographed as ever and credit for this must go to Beth Heath and her team. Preparations for the 2014 Festival, which takes place from the 12 - 14th September, are already underway!
Wow, what a summer so far. About time too! It's seven years since we've had such a prolonged period of wonderful blue skies and sunshine. We remember it well as it was the year we were married and we've just celebrated another big family wedding, this time here at Berwick. It couldn't have been a more perfect day and we'll have a lasting memory of the wedding party walking together through the white clover in the evening sun. We then had a big birthday celebration the following evening which was equally magical, before the cows were allowed back in their field. They didn't seem to mind too much. It was a hare lolloping about on the Friday night, before all the activities started, who did look a bit surprised when he bumped into a large white tent!
We've also attended the Shrewsbury Food Festival and a Press Event in Central London since our last newsletter, so lots of news to report.
Our Beef, fresh and frozen is available at all times, both on line via our website http://www.longhornbeef.co.uk or from our Butchery which is open every Friday between 12 and 6pm. There may be a waiting list for some of our most popular cuts (ribeye, fillet, sirloin) so do please contact us if you'd like to reserve some. Our 100% steak burgers are hand pressed using our 5 week dry aged beef and are as popular as ever for family barbeques.
We are also extending our Shrewsbury Food Festival Special Offer, see details below.
We hope you're enjoying all the summer colours, warmth and the events which the British are so good at.
With very best wishes
Sam and Claire
Shrewsbury Food Festival 2013
Approximately thirteen thousand people saw this cow and calf over the weekend of the Food Festival. They behaved inpeccably in their sheltered and secure pen in the middle of the Shrewsbury Quarry Park. The show organisers gave us and Sam Gray with her wonderful British Lop pigs from http://www.middlefarmcottages.co.uk a fantastic opportunity to show case what Field to Fork really means.
As well as our chilled meat stand we were also selling Roast Beef Rolls and Rump Steak Baps. It was a sell out.
It was such an amazing event for the region's artisan food producers and for the public who came along to experience the first of many Shrewsbury Food Festivals http://www.shrewsburyfoodfestival.co.uk which will take place in the town. Our thanks and congratulations go to the Event organisers and to all the volunteers who ensured everything went smoothly.
Shrewsbury Food Festival Offer
This Barbeque and Sunday Roast Mixed Box includes 2 Rump Steaks (approx 0.8kg), a Topside Roasting Joint (approx 1.2kg), 2 packs of mince (1.0kg) and 4 x 150g Steak Burgers. All for £39.00 plus £9.50 for postage (where applicable). Please note that this offers a saving of approximately 20% on individual pack prices. Go to our Order our Beef page on our website http://www.longhornbeef.co.uk for details.
Ludlow to London
Hot on the footsteps of Andy Murray, who was staying in the very same hotel following his historic Wimbledon success, Great Berwick Organics joined half a dozen other Shropshire Producers who had been chosen to represent Ludlow Food Festival in Central London. The Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane, opposite the Queen Mother's Gates to Hyde Park was the venue and we 'set up stall' in their Cook Book Cafe for an invitation-only Press Evening. Attendees included influential food writers and journalists who enjoyed a snapshot of Shropshire and the infamous Ludlow Food Festival. Time will reveal what will be written, tweeted and blogged about the Event. It was certainly a fantastic experience for us. The guests couldn't believe that 'beef could taste that good'.
Summer 2013 at Berwick
Images taken over the last few weeks
Changes at the Head of the Herd
Gorse Monsignor, who had been at the Head of the Herd for the last three years moved on to pastures new in Somerset at the beginning of July. His hooves have been swiftly filled by his right hand man, Harford Kennedy, who is now three and a half. You may recall his arrival two years ago from Gloucestershire. Then, in order to keep everyone on their toes and ensure diversity of breeding, we've recently purchased Tetford Talisman (shown pictured), a lovely dark roan bull from Lincolnshire. We look forward, with great anticipation, to seeing their calves in the spring.
Our first cut of silage came into the clamp under ideal conditions resulting in some excellent quality winter forage. Some of our second cut has been big baled and wrapped, mainly for convenience, to feed our youngstock who are housed during the winter at another holding. The rest has been made into hay which again was made to the book - fragrant, green and crisp! In fact you could almost eat it yourself. Our cows should be very happy this Autumn/Winter.
Beef, glorious beef
Some images taken by Andy Richardson of our wonderful beef, freshly butchered, cooking and cooked!
Great Berwick Organics were invited by Ludlow Food Festival to join them in Central London last week as part of their Ludlow to London Week. The event took place at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane and provided an unique opportunity to showcase Ludlow's internationally renowned Festival and some of Shropshire's artisan Food Producers. Monday night was press night and it was attended by acclaimed food writers and journalists who were given the opportunity to sample some of the County's finest produce including some of our 5 week dry aged Forerib. Longhorn beef from Great Berwick, alongside Shropshire cheese, lamb, and cider, was then on the Hotel's Cookbook Café menu throughout the week.
We came across this through some friends recently and it sums up really nicely what we believe in and what you could buy into. Although it's about American Pigs you have to imagine English cows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos
When we published our last newsletter, at the beginning of March, we thought that Spring, and all the expectation that comes with it, had arrived. Who'd have predicted what was to come? Heavy snow in the middle of the month forced us to bring the cows and their calves back into the shed and we counted our blessings that we had sufficient silage, straw and haylage in store to keep us going. Whilst it was unpleasant we were immensely grateful that we had enough covered yard space to weather the storm. Others didn't and our thoughts are with all the hill farmers who lost livestock under such adverse conditions.
The season has been considerably delayed, but when the cow parsley appears, almost overnight, in the verges and the fruit trees burst into flower, we too end up with a bit of a spring in our step! The grass seemed to double in height over the Bank Holiday weekend!
Domonic Kavenagh http://www.domkavanaghphotography.co.uk took the wonderful photograph above of Ellie May at about 7.30pm on Monday night. As you can see she has the setting sun on her back whilst her calf enjoys his drink. Dom is one of our closest neighbours and a very accomplished amateur wildlife photographer. It's well worth taking a look at his website when you have a moment. He also took the amazing photographs of one of our Barn Owls you'll see in the Gallery below. This is a lovely reminder of why we have conservation headlands around many of our arable fields.
Beef and Longhorn Beef in particular have featured frequently in the media recently with the Great British Menu and Great British Beef Week. Read on to find out more about both and our involvement.
With very best wishes
Sam and Claire
Great British Menu 2013 - BBC 2
Great Berwick Longhorn Beef made its first ever appearance on primetime BBC2 in the middle of March. Marcus Wareing, 2 Star Michelin Chef and Judge for the evening said 'Wow, what a beautiful piece of meat' when he saw what Will Holland from La Becasse in Ludlow, had brought with him to cook for the main course for the Great Briitsh Menu. We were immensely proud to have been asked to supply one of our Foreribs for this competition and our hats go off to Will for his culinary wizardry. Not only did he create an amazing dish in the midst of some exceedingly fierce competition (Daniel Clifford & Richard Bainbridge), but he had given up his precious time and energy to raise an enormous amount of money for Comic Relief.
Sadly Will's menu didn't go through to the final, but with just two points between them it proved just how close a competition it was.
A competitor in one of the other regional heats also chose to use Longhorn Beef for his main course, so it was a fantastic endorsement for the breed.
Great British Beef Week
Some inspiring ladies http://www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk have been working tirelessly to promote all that is good in the world of Beef, so much so that there is now a week (21 - 27 April) on the calendar which is purely devoted to Beef. Events were taking place throughout the country. Our flags were flying when we did a low key offer for all our local customers at our Friday opening of the Butchery.
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Easter 2013 and New Courier
We had record sales of beef and lamb over Easter. Thank you very much to everyone who chose Great Berwick Organics and to those who waited so patiently in the Butchery on Good Friday!
To date we have been very pleased with the overnight courier service provided by Parcel Hero. We trust that recipients of parcels are equally happy. We find the ability to 'track' particularly useful and it was fascinating to monitor the progress of a large box destined for Belgium. It left here at 4.30 one Tuesday afternoon and it had reached the customer by 11.05 the following morning!
Dates for your diary:
26 May 2 - 6pm Leaton Lodge Open Garden featuring our famous Great Berwick Hot Beef Rolls!
29 - 30 May Shrewsbury Food Festival http://www.shrewsburyfoodfestival.co.uk
15 June Bomere Heath Summer Fair, also featuring Great Berwick Beef Rolls!
8 - 12 July Cookbook Cafe at Intercontinental on London's Park Lane
6 - 8 September Ludlow Food Festival http://www.foodfestival.co.uk
We are delighted to offer the opportunity for you to purchase either Half a Lamb (£60 + £9.50 postage) or a Whole Lamb (£120 + £9.50 postage) for a limited period. The Half Lamb Mixed Box will weigh approx 10kg and will include a Shoulder, Leg, Rack, Loin, Diced Casserole and Kidney (if required). To place an order please email us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Berwick Longhorn Beef makes its first ever appearance on primetime BBC 2. Marcus Wareing, 2 Star Michelin Chef and Judge for the evening said 'Wow, what a beautiful piece of meat' when he saw what Will Holland, La Becasse, Ludlow had brought with him to cook for the Main Course for the Great British Menu aired last Thursday night. We are imensely proud to have been asked to provide one of our Foreribs for this competition and our hats go off to Will for his culinary wizardry. Not only did he create an amazing dish in the midst of some exceedingly fierce competition (Daniel Clifford, last years winner and Richard Bainbridge, no less), but he had given up his precious time and energy to raise an enormous amount of money for Comic Relief.
Although Will's Menu sadly didn't go through to the final, there were just 2 points in it in the end, which is proof of just how close a competition it was. The overall winner is destined to cook for guests attending a prestigious evening at the Royal Albert Hall.