Its been an adventurous month, travelling up to London (via River Cottage's Park Farm where I dropped off a pig en route!) to The Real Food Festival at the Southbank. I really saw the sights from my white butchers van; Hyde Park Corner, Buckingham Palace and the Mall, as I missed a turning and took a circuitous route! With the London Eye on one side and the Houses of Parliament across the River Thames, it was a very different view from the usual rolling fields of Devon. Our stall was directly under the railway bridge coming out of Waterloo which made it rather dark and noisy! With over 100,000 people there, and sunny weather, it was pretty busy and I sold a lot of sausages for Bank Holiday barbecues.
It was nice to get back to Devon again where in the days I'd been away, the bluebells had come out and the beech trees opened their luminous green leaves. But growth is very slow and most plants are about a month behind. Our vegetable garden looks more like it does in March, with barely any seeds germinated and only broad beans just coming through. Looking back at some old photos of our daughter Rosy's first birthday, on May 25th, our vegetable garden had waist-high flowering peas and so much growing there's virtually no bare earth to be seen. Although we've now got spinach, lettuce and plenty to keep us going in the poly-tunnel, it's depressing to think that 25 years later, the future is about growing food under plastic! The weather patterns are seriously concerning, and our crops are suffering. The spring wheat Tim planted around March 15th, which would normally be the ideal time, lay dormant throughout the cold and dry April and now is deluged by rain. Without chemical seed dressings the birds really had a 'field day' or more like a field month, feasting on our incredibly expensive organic seed rather than our neighbours non organic varieties.
The ewes and lambs are doing well, despite the fact that grass is growing so slowly; calving has been good so far, and our new bull has proved a success! We planted the potatoes (that we grow for topping our cottage pie ready meals) just before I disappeared up to London; Tim on the tractor and me and our friend, Trevor, on the planting machine which is probably about 75 years old and still going! Hope we'll keep going that long!
The next bank holiday will soon be here, and if you are having friends or family round for a party, our barbecue boxes are a brilliant choice, still at 75 only. It's great value with genuinely good values!
Do check out our website at www.higherhacknell.co.uk for all our seasonal offers and full range of meat cuts. If you order by 6pm on Sunday you get delivery the following week on a Thursday or Friday, your choice.
Hope we all get some sun shine.
Best wishes from
Tim and Jo and all at Higher Hacknell Farm