Spring is really here, as our fields full of skipping lambs and baa-ing ewes can verify. Our lambing apprentice, Ellie, has learned a lot, got the T-shirt and has headed back to University and essay writing. We escaped the farm for a few hours on Easter Monday to celebrate her 21st birthday at the beach with a lovingly homemade pork pie and a dip in the sea before ending the evening in the cow shed where two cows were calving. Our South Devon cows are usually renowned for being good mothers, but this year we have had several decide that they don't like their calves and are kicking them away when they feed. This is making extra work as Tim is having to bring them in and individually watch over them twice a day to allow the calf to suckle. Hopefully it won't take too long for them to take to their calves and they can join the rest of the cows and calves in the fields. The barley and peas have been sown and we have a French student staying here, who has been harrowing the fields to disturb weeds and then rolling down the ground with the new rollers we bought recently.
Next week is going to be very busy as we have our Soil Association inspection at the start of the week, then I'm delivering lamb and pork to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Canteens mid week, and finally it's the Exeter Food and Drink Festival from Friday to Sunday. I've done this show every year and it is great to visit as all the best food and drink producers in the South West are there giving tastings of their wares, as well as cooking demonstrations from the regions finest chefs. Michael Caines of Gidleigh Park is a great supporter of the Festival. I will have our usual stall at the middle entrance of the large marquee so please come and say 'hello' if you are there. I like to make a big display of meat with some special cuts which look great, such as the lamb racks done as Guards of Honour, and big ribs of beef on the bone.
It's also the time of year to enter the Great Taste Awards where we've had success in recent years winning their highest accolade of 3 stars for our lamb , 2 stars for our beef and 1 star last year for our lamb and squash curry ready meal. This year we wanted to enter something a bit different and Richard our butcher came up with the idea of a 'Tomahawk steak'. It's a carnivore's dream: a massive bone-in steak with big, rich flavour! We'll also send a boneless loin of lamb which is so tender and succulent, and great cooked with a stuffing of apricots, pistachios and spices like I did the other day.
If this is getting the taste buds going then all these cuts and more are on our website at www.higherhacknell.co.uk. You'll also find our succulent sirloin steaks on special offer at for the rest of this month only, so buy now for the barbecue days to come! Our Spring Box is the perfect choice of the moment, providing everyday meals of mince and sausages, steak treats for special evenings, a joint for the weekend and lamb koftas for the grill or early outdoor cooking!
Do get in touch via our website, email or Facebook. Please phone me to ask about your order or with any questions on 01769 560909 as it's always good to have a chat. In the meantime it would be great to see you at the Exeter Festival of Food and Drink on 24th-26th April.
I hope you are enjoying this Spring,
Tim and Jo and all at Higher Hacknell Farm.