March 11th 2011

March News 2011

The sun is shining and the sky is blue here at Higher Hacknell Farm and with the birth of the first calf calf of the year today, Spring is surely on its way. You may remember last March I wrote on our blog about buying the new bull at the South Devon Cattle sale and at least he's proved his stuff! There will hopefully be many more to follow in the days and weeks to come.

It's quiet out in the fields as the ewes are tucked up inside the lambing shed where we can keep a close eye on them as they are still a couple of weeks away from lambing. Once the lambs are born it all gets incredibly noisy, with bleating and baaing in every barn and across every hillside! It can all get a bit much, especially when we bring a poorly lamb in to warm up by the Aga, it seems there's no escape! So we are enjoying a bit of calm now before it all begins-especially as they say 'if March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion'. Tim said the weather forecast is good right up to the day when we start lambing, when, guess what, it's due to rain !

The weather has been pretty kind since Christmas when the snow caused havoc everywhere. Since then Keith, the butcher and I have been planning new boxes and products as a result your ideas and suggestions from the customer survey last year. Many of you asked for smaller size boxes as either your families have shrunk or your appetites! So we have a small mixed box which has all the useful cuts, a joint, some treats and sliced cooked meat for lunch or sandwiches at only 55. Also if you like your meat as a luxury but at an affordable price, we have a box of purely steaks and cuts which are quick and easy to cook. Since many of you like to add extras to our very popular mixed box we've developed a larger family box with more variety and many of your favourite choices such as bacon, sausages and chicken pieces.

We think these boxes really provide great value for money as well as offering all the Higher Hacknell Farm quality and taste. When we asked you why you bought from us you gave us lots of great feedback about the quality and service, how you liked buying from a family business and that knowing where your food comes from and animal welfare are important to you. Above all, it was because we are organic, but I think when people ask me to explain why organic is better, I am sometimes aware that I'm talking about lots of different issues and this can be confusing to people. There's no single issue, such as fair trade or free range because organic encompasses these and so much more, from the environment to nutrition and health, so there is a new campaign which explains all this probably better than I can www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk. The Soil Association are also actively campaigning against the increasing industrialisation of farming in the UK, having opposed the mega-dairy in Lincolnshire, they are now asking for support for the welfare of pigs and are objecting to a proposed indoor pig factory of 2,500 sows. If you'd like to join their 'Not In My Banger Campaign' details are www.soilassociation.org/Takeaction/Notinmybanger.

Easter being towards the end of April will be a good time to celebrate with family and friends, especially with extra holiday for the big wedding. Whereas everyone plans Christmas months in advance, Easter often catches up pretty quick, so please don't delay with your orders! Our award winning lamb is the traditional favourite or maybe you'll be getting the barbecue out? We still have some turkeys (frozen) and our chickens are growing very well at the moment, so are larger than usual. Keith the butcher will take a weeks holiday the last week in March so we'd prefer to avoid doing deliveries that week, by sending more out the week before or the week after. Keep an eye out for specials on the website www.higherhacknell.co.uk where at the moment beef topside is 15% reduced.

And lastly, as we'd love you to try out our new boxes, we're offering free delivery until the end of March on the new large mixed box!

Best wishes

from Jo, Tim and all at Higher Hacknell Farm