September is a great month for organic food, the garden is abundant with vegetables, the flush of autumn grass ideal for fattening cattle and lambs, and there's food everywhere we look! The dry summer followed by the rain made it a perfect year for wild field mushrooms, and the blackberries keep coming in the hedgerows. It is the month when the Soil Association organise the UK's biggest celebration of all things organic with the theme this year, make a Small Change and be part of a Big Difference.
Here at Higher Hacknell we are celebrating our success at the Great Taste Awards, getting their highest accolade of 3* for our lamb - only 125 of these were awarded from almost 1000 entries and we also gained the 2* s for our beef, in addition to a Silver Taste of the West Award. It's good to know when our product is tasted and tested against some of the best quality and most well known fine foods available in the whole country, that we can rate this highly!
We are really thrilled that our organic meat achieves such recognition, the result of a lot of work by Tim and David on the farm and Richard, Ann and Tracy here in the butchery. One member of the team that shouldn't be forgotten, is our sheepdog, Tig, who does the work of another 'man' in rounding up the sheep and cattle. We couldn't run the farm without a good dog, and with that in mind, and Tig getting on a bit in years, Tim has just bought a new puppy to learn the ropes and train up alongside the older dog. However at the moment Taw, named after the river below us, is very excited and enthusiastic about his job prospects, but mainly gets under Tim's feet! He is very promising and already comes when called (unlike my spaniel!) and is eager to please.
Usually by September the harvest is done and we're counting the bales of fodder ready for winter, but this year we are very short and still need to make several hundred more bales of silage to see us through. The cold spring made it a late start and although the dry weather was great for making superb quality hay, there isn't the quantity. We've harvested the crops of wheat and oats last month, which have done well, but again yields are down a bit.
It was interesting to see Jamie Oliver on the TV this week telling people how they can make savings by buying a half lamb and putting it in the freezer. Selling half lamb boxes and beef in bulk was how we started selling our meat direct from the farm twenty five years ago, so it's good to see the idea catching on at last!! All our meat boxes can be delivered every week to your door whether you order from the website or by phone on 01769 560909 and I'm always happy to discuss how you'd like your meat cut. I know that some of you prefer your meat boneless which is easier in some ways but others prefer the flavour of meat cooked on the bone, so let us know your preferences .
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jo and Tim and all at Higher Hacknell Farm