October 15th 2012

Down on the farm - October 2012

Rain, rain and yet more rain. What a year! We have never known anything quite like this. They say, 'be it dry or be it wet, nature always pays its debt' but this is the double dip recession of wet weather, the fields are sodden and the lanes round here have become rivers. The cows have come in early as it is just too wet in the fields now, so winter rations and straw bedding have already started. We just managed to harvest our barley and oats, but now it's time to plant again, and it doesn't look good. Tim had trouble buying new seed, due to the poor harvest everywhere, there is a shortage and very little has passed the quality tests. Now though, the seed has arrived and with this continual rain, the ground can't be ploughed or sown, so we may not be able to get it in this season.

Nevertheless, it's the start of another farming year, and even if we are finding it tough going, the rams have got a lot to look forward to as their moment of glory has almost arrived! In another week or two, as the days get shorter, the ewes will start their cycles and the rams will get to work! They are in fine fettle - especially since our newly qualified vet daughter, Rosy, came back home and said to Tim, 'Dad, we've got to sort the studs from the duds'. They gave the rams a good check over and then went to a couple of specialist sales back in August to purchase 4 new studs to add to the bunch that passed their inspection!

In the butchery we are beginning preparations for Christmas. Its time to start curing the gammons and hams so they will reach perfection in time for the festivities and then dry curing the bacon soon after that. Our Christmas page is on the website at www.higherhacknell.co.uk, or do phone me to discuss what you'd like on 01769 560909. If you're keen to get ahead, then do take advantage of our special offer on gammon joints for deliveries this month.

We also have a new feature on the website where you can recommend a friend and we'll send you a 'thank you' gift with your next order when they make a purchase from our website. Its always great to hear from you and now that Higher Hacknell Farm has a Facebook page, I hope we can chat, comment, and exchange recipes even more. I ll be putting the recipes from our friends at River Cottage on it shortly.

Its been exciting supplying all the meat for the new River Cottage TV series which goes out next week every night at 5 pm on Channel 4 if all goes to plan! Sam, the chef at Axminster said he made a dish of best end of (Higher Hacknell) lamb with almonds and squash and then our chuck steak with horseradish and roasted beetroot which both sound really delicious. Im going to doing sausage tastings at the Plymouth River Cottage Canteen on Friday 2nd November as part of their meet the producer day , so please drop in and say hello if you are around. We will also be showcasing our meat and cooking steakburgers at the Foodfest in Barnstaple Pannier Market on Sunday 21st October, which has become a great annual celebration of local produce, so its a busy month ahead!

See you there and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes

Tim and Jo and all at Higher Hacknell Farm



phone 01769 560909