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 email@example.com 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.
Welcome to our January 2012 Newsletter featuring news and information about what we're up to at Great Berwick.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next edition (Feb 2012) of Shropshire Magazine!
Andy Richardson took some fantastic photos of Monty, our very handsome Longhorn bull, a slightly apprehensive local Chef and the Barker Family on Friday. Standing on West Bank, the highest point on the farm, the photographer was able to utilise the fabulous views and a flooded river marsh as a backdrop. Despite it being blustery and cloudy, Tom (4) and Eleanor (3) really enjoyed joining in and couldn’t help laughing as Monty bellowed across the farm to the rest of his herd!
We’ve just been approached by Slow Food Ludlow to join them at the infamous Ludlow Food Festival in September. This is a highly coveted event and it has been on our aspiration list for some time. The plan is to feature Great Berwick Longhorn beef in the Taste Workshop, alongside other local producers.
SUMMER WALK AND BEEF TASTING
We are planning to have a Great Berwick Farm Walk and Beef Tasting evening during the summer and we'd like to invite you to join us. Details to follow, but please let us know if you are interested.(* click here and send us an email, if you're interested). We'll reserve a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon/evening in June/July (!), give you a tour of the farm to see the cows, the River Severn, our conservation headlands and organics cereals, then back to the farmhouse to sample some of our favourite Beef dishes. Tickets will be limited and on a first come, first serve basis.
***SPECIAL OFFER FOR JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2012***
Two free pies (£7.00) with any order worth £50 or over for Slow Roast or Casserole meat (Silverside, Rolled Brisket, Diced casserole, Shin and Braising steak)
GREAT BRITISH GREAT BERWICK PIES
Our oven ready, cook from frozen for half an hour, Beef & Stilton and Beef & Ale pies are perfect for one and a fantastic option when you fancy something easy and utterly scrumptious. Individually they're £3.50, but if you buy a Box of 10 it's £30.00
The main herd are very happily out-wintered on free draining dry ground, enjoying silage and chopped straw. The only time they really look pretty fed up is when it snows, but even then they manage to look extremely photogenic! Much to Tom and Eleanor’s disappointment though, no snow to date!
Meanwhile the youngsters, steers and in-calf heifers are lauding it about in our covered straw yards, also enjoying a blend of silage, chopped straw and a little bit of molasses!
Our conserved forage stocks are fairly limited though, following such a dry summer/autumn. Now the farm has greened up and we finally have some grass, we are very much looking forward to an early spring and the excitement of all the cattle being turned out. It’s a sight to behold when the gate is opened!
Please note that you can now follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Great-Berwick-Organics-100-Longhorn-Beef/229628313783648
CHRISTMAS AND 2012
Following a really busy build up to Christmas we are absolutely delighted to have received so many enthusiastic and complimentary emails from customers who enjoyed Great Berwick Beef over the Christmas and New Year Holidays. We've added some of these to our testimonials page on our website; www.longhornbeef.co.uk
It is so lovely to have such positive feedback. The number of enquiries we received leading up to Christmas meant that we could have sold our Foreribs at least ten times over if we’d had them. Sirloin on the bone was a hugely popular and very much appreciated alternative, but the very nature of how we produce and properly hang our beef meant that we did, sadly, have to disappoint a few. But to coin a well known phrase, albeit it in a different context, ‘beef is for life not just for Christmas’. In other words, Great Berwick Organics will have beef available throughout the year and with the variety of different cuts and joints we have available it is such a versatile ingredient.
Please browse our website for more information. If you’re local, please call in on a Friday afternoon between 12 and 6pm. Otherwise telephone 01743 351939.
May we take this opportunity to thank all of you who bought beef, supported and gave us kind words of encouragement in 2011. We offer you our very best wishes for 2012 and look forward to hearing from you and to supplying your beef.
With kind regards
Sam and Claire
Great Berwick Organics, Great Berwick Farm, Shrewsbury
We are about to feed the foodies of Ludlow. This Friday we are feeding the Slow Food Group in Ludlow, so fingers crossed we hope it all goes fine. Pictures to follow (and in case you are wondering it will be a slow cooked casserole of organic 35 day hung beef in Ludlow Brewery's Black Knight Ale. Yum yum!!
Here at Great Berwick we are in no doubt that the high praise given by John Torode for quality Longhorn Great British beef (8pm BBC2) last night was well justified.
After nearing extinction a few decades ago, the increasing popularity of the old English Longhorn has enabled its removal from rare breed list. Here at Great Berwick we have one of the largest herds of Longhorn Cattle in the country - over 200 head aiming to bring you the best Longhorn beef. Our visitors to the farm are welcome to see for themselves how well our cattle are kept and how great they taste.
Great Berwick Organic Farm stands to be one of the greenest and self sufficient farms in Shropshire, when their 49kw solar PV array is turned on in mid August. This will produce all their own electric power and any surplus will feed back to the National Grid.
The farm already produces its own heat with a large 50kw log boiler which heats the hot water for the Great Berwick Organics purpose built cold and cutting room and also the hot water and heating for the Farmhouse.
All this without even mentioning that the farm is Organic and has been since the turn of the century! This means no artificial inputs in the form of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
Claire Barker says " All we need now is do the school run on a bicycle, convert our cars to electric and perhaps start growing oil seed rape to fuel our tractors!"
When a panel of Country Life magazine judges sat down to find Britain's best steak they unanimously agreed that the Longhorn was the winner. They found it a difficult, but enjoyable task but their comments were as follows: 'Definately the winner, delicious', 'Perfect, 9 out of 10, very sweet and melts in the mouth', Soft on the palate, with a sweet, tender flavour', 'This is the perfect steak'.
There were a number of underlying factors which result in such exceptional beef. Firstly a diet of grass, the marbling of fat, which melts into the meat during cooking and gives a better flavour and the treatment of the animal at slaughter. A short, stress free journey to the abbattoir and proper maturing, with the meat hung on the bone, were vital.
Sam and Claire were absolutely delighted, but not necessarily surprised to hear that the Longhorn had come out top. Sam goes on to comment, 'this taste test endorses much of what we already know and in deed what we are doing at Great Berwick, but it's always really good to get some reassurance'
To see the full Country Life article follow the following link http://www.countrylife.co.uk/countryside/article/304993/Britain-s-best-steak.html
The Barker family very kindly hosted part of The Longhorn Cattle Society AGM at Great Berwick Farm over the weekend of 14 -16 November. The main interest in visiting Sam was to see how he was running his beef enterprise and to hear how he is producing some of the finest Longhorn meat in the country. The herd is now one of the largest registered with the Longhorn Society and Sam is successfully supplying select retailers and an ever growing loyal customer base.
In addition to seeing the herd and the purpose built cold and cutting room there was also a stock judging competition for all the guests to put their stockmanship eye to the test. Sam Barker and Peter Guest had sorted three pens of cattle and David Bevan very kindly gave the final say on placing the steers, in calf heifers and freshly calved cows.
Great Berwick were very proud to host the Organic Arable Event in association with Organic Farmers and Growers in July.
The farm planted over thirty trial plots of different types and varieties of crops, spread over some 6 acres.
The event was staged in the large cattle shed, and managed to get every thing in under one roof, with the trade stands surrounding the conference and dining areas.
"I am glad we had it all under cover as the heavens opened in the afternoon, but it did make the farm walk a little damp" said Sam, after the event.
Naturally everyone had home produced organic Longhorn beef casserole, with red cabbage and organic mash from the farm's potato fields for lunch which added that personal touch to the day.
The Event Organiser was Stephen Jacobs from Organic Farmers and Growers (www.organicfarmers.org.uk). It was the first such event organised by Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G), in conjunction with Abacus Organic Associates, and it attracted some expert speakers sharing their knowledge of the benefits, challenges and requirements of making the move to organic arable.
As well as talks by experienced organic arable farmers, researchers and advisors, delegates were able to tour the farm’s crops of oats, barley, triticale, red clover mix and potatoes, as well as viewing trial plots planted for the event.
Organic Farmers & Growers’ Chief Executive, Richard Jacobs, said: “It was an extremely practical and useful day. All of the feedback we’ve had so far has been positive and everyone seems to have welcomed the opportunity to network and gain real-world, useful advice. We badly need more organic arable producers and hopefully we were able to open the eyes of many people to the opportunities.
“Based on the success of the day, we’ll definitely be looking at putting on similar events in the future. We have to extend our thanks to Sam Barker and his family for providing the venue and an excellent example of what is possible in this sector.”
The event was backed by many big names and key players in the industry, including headline sponsors, HGCA, Triodos Bank, ABP, Greenvale AP, Savills, BOCM Pauls and Nicholson Machinery.
Speakers included: farmer Andrew Charlton on what being organic has meant to him and his business; Dr Debbie Sparkes, of Nottingham University, on options for conversion; Stephen Briggs, of Abacus Organic Associates, on conversion strategies; Keith Preston, director at Savills, on making organic arable profitable; Nigel Gossett, of Norton Organic Grain, on marketing; Matt Heaton, of Natural England, covering current agri-environment schemes; Stephen Clarkson, of OF&G, on the requirements of certification.
OF&G Chairman, Richard Thompson opened and closed the proceedings as well as chairing the question and answer sessions and shared some of the experiences of his family’s more than 50 years in organics.