Although we haven't had any really cold weather yet, the rain and windy weather has made it feel pretty wintry now on the farm. Working outside in the driving rain isn't much fun for Tim at this time of year, so when he gets a chance he likes to go and do some work in the woods. They are a lovely place to be on a November day, when the low winter sunlight glints through the bare branches. He's been coppicing there and clearing parts to let light in and give wildflowers a chance to grow. We've fenced the animals out of the woods this year and this has helped with regeneration of hazel and woodland plants, but there are still plenty of deer that pass through and munch on the young shoots, though they're lovely to see. There's also a huge maze of badger sets and underground tunnels they have dug, so it's sensible to fence them in, away from the cattle.
Traditionally it's the time of year when farmers sell stock and take them to market before winter sets in. Our cattle and sheep have certainly grown well with the best season for grass that we've ever known. It means we can select the very best for our Christmas sales, and there's plenty of delicious meats to choose from. Our cold store and hanging room is going to be filling up in readiness for the festive season ahead. Please don't delay sending us your Christmas orders as the weeks will fly by and there's less than a month to go! Some cuts such as Fore Rib of Beef on the bone and Fillet of Beef are always a favourite and as we sell only cattle from our farm and don't buy in 'extra' bits and pieces to fulfill all the orders, it is a good idea to get in early!
We also need to count up numbers of turkey and geese, make enough sausagemeat for stuffing, and bacon for those pigs in blankets and all the trimmings. I'm looking forward to cooking a big turkey at home this year with the family. Last year two of our children were away for Christmas and as we spent the day with my sister, I didn't need to cook the Christmas dinner. Although it was lovely to have a relaxing day off, I did miss all the 'left over' meals of cold meat, turkey pie and the lovely rich soup from the stock bones. But I put a turkey in the freezer for their return from travelling, so we celebrated late at Easter! As we only have freshturkey and geese at this time of year, why not take the opportunity and buy extra when they are available?
Please give me a call if you'd like to know anything about ordering, such as what size you need to feed the number of guests you are entertaining or if there is a particular cut you'd like, but can't see listed on the website. Likewise please ring on 01769 560909 if you have any difficulty ordering at www.higherhacknell.co.uk. We have been doing some website maintenance recently, so apologies if you have had problems getting through. Do keep up with our latest news in the busy weeks ahead on Facebook and Twitter.
A final reminder that we'll need all orders in by Friday 12th December, which isn't very far away now. We'll be sending out orders as usual on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th December and the last date for delivery is Tuesday 23rd December, unless you collect from the farm butchery or Crediton Farmers Market.
Take the stress out of Christmas and let us deliver your Christmas meats to your door! We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
With best wishes
Jo and Tim and all at Higher Hacknell Farm