November starts off with our annual cider making. We have a bunch of family and helpers picking up the apples and building the 'cheese' , layers of apples and straw on the ancient press. Luckily they all seem to know what to do as this year Tim was planting the winter oats. It was forecast to rain the following day so he just had a small 'now or never' opportunity to get the crop in. They did a proper job, as we say here, although there were less apples due to the poor year and they were much smaller. My role is mainly feeding the workforce (they help themselves to cider!) and It makes me think what it must have been like in times gone by when the farmers wife had to cook breakfast, lunch and tea for so many people every day! So now that the Higher Hacknell farmhouse cider has been made for another year, the next celebration is Christmas.
It is only five weeks until we'll be busily packing up and despatching the Christmas orders to you and I know that time will fly by. If you haven't placed your Christmas order yet, you'll find our full range of deliciously tasty turkey and goose, tender beef and all the festive trimmings on our website www.higherhacknell.co.uk. Just a few clicks and all that shopping hassle will be done and we'll deliver to your door on Friday 21st December. Having just won a gold award for 'On line Retail' at the South West Flavour Awards, we aim to offer not only fabulous meat but an excellent and reliable butchery service too.
Catch a glimpse of Higher Hacknell lamb, beef and pork featured on T.V this week on More4 every weekeday at 7.30 pm (repeated on Sunday afternoon on Channel 4) as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his River Cottage team cook some great dishes, which you can find here. The film company kept our butcher, Richard, very busy up till the last moment with various additions to their order just we were cleaning up the butchery at 5.30 and as I was about to jump in the delivery van! But as everything had to be in Axminster that same evening, Richard got back to work at the butchers block!
Down on the farm, the rams have been working hard as most of the ewes now have raddle on them to show they've been served. But it's still depressingly wet, which makes everything much harder. Getting wood in and put by, usually no problem most years, has been almost impossible as even the quad bike is getting stuck in the fields. We have just put in a new wood fired boiler which heats my office here, so firewood has become all important. I am enjoying the cosy office though!
Keep warm and well and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jo and Tim and all at Higher Hacknell Farm
telephone 01769 560909