It’s time to start lighting the fire. The mornings are getting chilly and the nights are beginning to draw in. Late October is a time for celebration, when we bring in our apple harvest and have our annual cidermaking festivities.
Cider has been made at Higher Hacknell Farm for centuries and we still use the ancient press and make it in the traditional way, building a ‘cheese’ with layers of chopped apples and straw. The magnificent ‘cheese’ uses about 2 tons of apples and makes 3 or 4 barrels of golden apple juice.
I’m busy in the kitchen making food for all our helpers, big meals for sharing and lots of apple cake and scones for tea. Everyone loves sausages, spicy hot merguez or traditional pork and apple, they are the perfect food for Halloween and Bonfire night too.
At the moment I like to use as many apples as I can while they are in abundance. They go beautifully with any pork dish, just fry a few apple rings after cooking a pork chop, and then deglaze the pan with a glass of cider and maybe a dollop of cream too! Do checkout our recipe pages.
On the farm,the shorter daylight hours bring the ewes in season and we prepare the eager rams to go in with them! Tim puts red raddle on them, so that they mark the ewes when they are served with a ’tell tale sign’ and we’ll know when they will lamb next spring. He changes the colour of the raddle after a week or so, which means we can be prepared at lambing time.
This autumn has been wonderful, the dry weather has meant that the animals are still out grazing and don’t need to be housed. There’s still plenty of grass, but it probably won’t last much longer if we get a cold spell. It’s certainly been a great year for the cattle and lambs, they look really well.
Next weekend is the Food Festival in Barnstaple, a great local event with delicious produce from our North Devon area. This year our friend, Tim Maddams, who used to be the head chef at the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster when we first started supplying them, is doing cooking demonstrations. Please come along to our stall and say hello. We’ll have a big meat display and lots and lots of sausages!!
I hope you are well, and like our new website. However, we are always happy to take orders by phone If you have any difficulties using it, then do call me on the usual number 01769 560909
Tim and Jo and all at Higher Hacknell Farm.