Finally lambing is over – our last ewe gave birth to a single lamb (#412) on Sunday. They have all been taken out to the fields now, we just have a few orphans left at the farm. The new lambing caravan was a welcome addition – it was definitely a room with a view as we could keep an eye on the flock from the comfort of a home-made pallet chair. We just need to clean it out now and we can go for a mini break!
The linseed has been planted and has already come up in row (~10 days later) thanks to the warm weather, and we have also planted a wildflower mix in Lady Ann (field!). The cattle have been turned out for a couple of weeks now that the grass is growing and have produced 8 calves since our last message, unfortunately these will be some of the last progeny of our good old Hereford bull, Harry, who we lost at the end of April. We picked up a young bull from the same blood lines as Harry today, his proper name is “Eldersfield Orestes” but we’ll call him Horace. Simon mentioned to the farm manager that we were looking for some extra pigs and to cut a long story short…
Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare established “Farms For City Children” in 1974 and now run 3 farms including Wick Court in Gloucestershire. The main objectives include:
- Understanding farming, the countryside and food production.
- Social and emotional development through teamwork.
- Immersion and total involvement through a whole seven-day stay a ‘world away’.
- Learning about healthy eating.
- Using practical, hands-on learning outside the classroom to enhancing the requirements of the national curriculum.
- Drawing on the farm experience and the charity’s literary heritage to promote literacy and storytelling.
We ended up buying some Tamworth and Old Spot X Tamworth porkers (the first Tamworth pork will be available this week). We have also bought 3 Berkshires from Blockley (Carol and David Webb’s herd), they will be ready in ~6 weeks. Our new Old Spots are just about to go to the boar so we hope to have some new Glamrock piglets in the autumn.
We’re just starting to plan for Open Farm Sunday – 5th June, 11am-3pm. This year Moreton Show and Moreton Young Farmers have kindly offered to help so I’m sure it will all run smoothly. We are planning a small preview this weekend and will be opening up the short farm walk on Saturday 14th (during shop opening times) so come along if you’d like to see the lambs and meet Horace! Teas/coffees/cakes available in the farm shop.
Sorry for the delay – Final version of the 2015 Christmas Order Form is now available on the Christmas Orders page.
Copies also available in the shop and feel free to pop in to discuss any special requirements.
Please check out the Christmas 2015 page for the first draft of the order form – there is even more to go on it this year (including home made Christmas Puds) so please check again next week but the poultry, meat and mince pie sections are ready to go!
We had a great night out last week at the Taste of Gloucestershire Food and Farming Awards. We won the “Best Farmer” category last year so decided to go for “Best Local Producer” this time. It was a popular group with 5 finalists (Kitchen Garden Foods, Cotswold Gold, Godsells Cheese and Winstones Ice Cream). Thanks to the organisers and to Cordial AV for the short film played on the big screen at the Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse – click on the link below if you fancy a laugh!! We were just runners up this year – the night belonged to Cotswold Gold (winning 3 out of the 4 categories entered) well done Charlie!
Every year we joke that as we always seem to be busy with something it could be quite easy to forget to do something really important e.g. put the tups in with the ewes… The cows and sows run with the bull and boar respectively all the time as they are calving and farrowing throughout the year but for the tups, its 6-8 weeks hard labour followed by 10 months recuperation. Anyway, you’ll be pleased to hear the tups are in so we are hopeful for a good crop of lambs in 5 months.
Simon has finished all the autumn drilling (winter wheat mainly plus some mustard to give the sheep a bit of something to nibble on over the winter) and has now mucked out the cattle yards so they are ready for the cows to come inside when the weather turns for the worse. We still have a bit of work to do on the pig pens so they will have to stay glamping in their yurt for a little longer but they don’t seem too bothered.
Old Farm Awards Video
I’ve been wanting to update our web site with our harvest update but until an hour ago (~8.30pm) the combine hadn’t been rolling at Old Farm - the weather has been against us for the last few weeks. Simon has done some contracting for neighbouring farmers (some crops e.g. winter barley are ready to cut earlier than wheat or crops planted in the spring) but finally ours is ready, it’s dry so here we go!
Interesting combine fact:
Max speed on road: 15-20mph (sorry!)
Max speed in field: 1-4mph
Bread (@ 600g flour/loaf): 32,000 lph (loaves per hour!)
We have a busy week ahead too with the set up for Moreton Show (5th September). We will have a stand with bacon/sausage patties/beef burgers from ~8.30am and at 12.00 the pig roast will be ready. Come along and see us if you are going to the show – we are in the same place as usual on the bottom right hand corner of the main ring (no. 128) and we have advance tickets for sale in the shop…
Fresh in next week – Lamb, beef, pork, sausages, bacon (Weds/Thurs/Fri)
NB. The Farm Shop will be CLOSED on Show Day – 5th September.
We will be selling fresh meat and sausages from our stand and can keep your purchases in the fridge for collection as you leave the show.
19 days from the first lambs arriving we now only have about 20 ewes left in the main flock (of ~270), the warm weather we’ve had over the last couple of weeks must have encouraged them. If they’d known what was in store with the wind and rain we had today they may have hung on for a bit longer! Don’t worry, only the strong lambs are out in the fields, anything less than about 4-5 days is undercover.
There is still a group of about 60 ewe-lambs (first timers) due to start lambing soon so it’s good to get the older ones out of the way so we can concentrate on looking after them – they are sometimes a little shocked when a lamb appears (as if by magic) but after a few days in the mothering-up pens they’ll soon get the hang of it.
Farm Walks: If you pop to the farm during shop open times over the Easter holidays (9.30am-5.00pm, Weds-Sat 1st-4th & 8th-11th April) we have marked out the farm walk so you can see how the crops and lambs are growing. It’s great to see the older ones out in the fields but we’ll have some new ones back at the farm too and there’s a pen of pet lambs in the stable by the shop.
Orders: It’s not too late to place an order for Easter meat – we’ll have fresh lamb, beef, pork and gammons in next week (and the week after) so please let us know asap if you’d like to reserve anything. It’s not too late to place an order for Easter meat – we’ll have fresh lamb, beef, pork and gammons in next week (and the week after) so please let us know asap if you’d like to reserve anything.
Happy New Year to you all, good to be back to normal again (or as close as we can get)…
Actually, it’s all change at Old Farm for 2015. Our farm worker Ben has moved to pastures new (literally!) with a job at Barton Abbey Estate. He started here as an apprentice nearly 5 years ago and hopefully we have given him a good start to his farming career and we wish all the best for his new job. Freya is also moving on as she is at the end of her 6 month contract so Simon and I are going to be busy! Garry is still in the cutting room 2 days a week and Suzanne will be in the shop on Thursday and Friday mornings from now on. We are looking for help in the farm shop on Saturdays, see advert below.
We had the sheep scanned last Monday (Luke arrived at the same time as the wind and rain unfortunately) and we are expecting 500 lambs this year. Simon was really pleased with the results as there were only 2 barren ewes in the main flock and only 4 empty out of last year’s ewe-lambs which is a record for us – well done to the tups.
Following last year’s encounter with Chinese rock star Xu Wei, last Tuesday super model Liu Wen came to the farm as part of a Visit Britain press trip. She has >8.7 million followers on her social media pages and a picture of her with one of our Glamrock piglets has already had more than 8,200 “likes”. Whilst chatting to Simon she confessed she has a very sweet tooth, luckily we had made her chocolate orange brownies, lemon cake and scones – she liked all 3!
Saturday Vacancy: We are looking for an enthusiastic person to work in the Farm Shop on Saturdays, 9.00am-5.30pm. Applicants must be over 18 and preferably have a passion for locally sourced food! Duties include serving customers, re-stocking, cleaning, coffee/tea making, experience not essential as full training will be given. If you’re interested or would like more information please call (01608 650394) or e-mail (email@example.com) before 31/1/15.
I’ve done it! It’s a bit bigger than normal but we’ve managed to fit a lot in (meat, poultry, mince pies, veg, cheese, pork pies etc)
Just click here to download a copy. You can either…
- fill it in and e-mail back to me - firstname.lastname@example.org
- print it off and bring in to the shop
- pop into the shop and pick up a paper copy
- if you’re having any trouble downloading the file drop me an e-mail and I’ll send an attachment through.
It would be helpful if we could receive orders by 12th Dec and there are certain items that are limited and will be first come, first serve (e.g. hams/gammons, beef rib and sirloin) and if you are after a smaller turkey, these tend to sell out first. We will not be picking up the poultry until Sunday 21st (for collection from Monday 22nd) so late orders can be taken up to Saturday 20th although no guarantee for all sizes at this stage.
We have asked for a weight range in the turkey orders – this just helps us to allocate the birds although we do try to match them up as closely to your preferred weight as possible. A £20 deposit is required for all orders > £50.
Christmas Opening times:
Sun 21st : 10.00am – 3.00pm Sat 27th : 9.30am – 5.00pm
Mon 22nd : 9.00am – 6.00pm Tue 30th : 9.30am – 5.00pm
Tue 23rd : 9.00am – 6.00pm Wed 31st : 9.30am – 5.00pm
Wed 24th : 9.00am – 2.00pm Normal opening from 2/1/15
Remember Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen? I know it seems like an age away but it has just been shortlisted (well in the long shortlist) for best factual TV program in the National TV awards! It needs your vote to get to the short-shortlist so if you have a spare moment and enjoyed the program follow this link: www.nationaltvawards.com
It must be that time of year as we were at the Gloucestershire Food and Farming awards last night and are thrilled to announce that we won the “Farmer of the Year” category. The category was sponsored and judged by Willans Solicitors, for more details click here!