Tomorrow, Sat 1 Nov, 10-11.30am in the Conference room at Apley Farm Shop, Rae Parnham will host our last ever club in its current form. It combines October (homemade alcohol), November (Christmas table decorations) & December (party canapés). We have some cookery master class ideas for 2015, so do come along to hear more & say au revoirs.
Whilst chatting about foodie things, I must mention that Apley Farm Shop is very privileged to be now stocking medlars – which are rather like quinces. They’re very unusual & great for making jelly to accompany game or pork. They’re produced by Fiona Thompson on her farm near Bridgnorth, which has the National Collection of Medlars, including 10 different varieties. Fiona filled me in recently with these details:
“Medlars originated from the Middle East and have been in cultivation since the Greek and Roman times. They were particularly popular in Victorian times being made into a sweet meat or eaten raw (once bletted ie left to rot which converts the starch to sugar) with cream and sugar. They make an excellent jelly, delicious either on toast or served with game or pork. I also use them in a chocolate vacherin, replacing the sweetened chestnut with sweetend bletted (slightly over ripe) medlars.
Our Medlar collection started in 2006 along with the Quince collection. Whilst there is another collection of Quinces at Norton Abbey near Liverpool we have the only Medlar one. It is a very under rated tree with pretty pink flushed white flowers in the spring and leaves that turn a wonderful golden colour in autumn. Man has not developed these trees to a great extent, only succeeding in a few different varieties, most obviously differing in the size of fruit.”
Our Apley team are asked to do all sorts of jobs – it would be hard to encompass everything their CVs would be hard to encompass everything. Last week, they went at 10pm to retrieve a wild bees’ nest from the top of a chimney stack of a house located just on the edge of one of our woods (the bees must have got confused !). Today Jason is helping me with the trickier bits in the creation our Christmas decorations for the Shop & Courtyard. All year round, I draw inspiration wherever I go, snapping photos of interesting designs, then I select a key few & get Apleyfying them.
This week we’ve been incredibly busy with the Spookley Pumpkin Festival. We’ve put on extra rides on the Pumpkin Express, one carving cavern wasn’t enough & we have sold 1250 pumpkins (we’ve had to order more for today & tomorrow). BBC Radio Shropshire are there this morning to interview Gavin (Lord Hamilton), to hear all about it. In the meantime, we’re gearing our Christmas Launch on Saturday 8 November when the Hope House Hospice children will switch on our Christmas lights at 5.30pm & Lottie’s will hold a charity fashion show in The Creamery Café 6.30-7.30pm (tickets from her website https://www.lottiesfashion.co.uk/, in her shop or on the day).
Our Marketing Assistant Rebecca just sent me this about a new cheese The Smoked Newport 1665, which we are stocking in Apley Farm Shop. It is made in Shropshire by Mr Moyden, who also makes our own Apley cheese.
It was the year of the great fire of Newport Shropshire which caused £30,000 worth of damage and 166 families lost their homes.
1665 was certainly not a good year for Newport but rumour has it that it was an exceptional year for smoked cheese!
Smooth buttery texture tastes light, mellow and sweet.
How is the smoked taste done?
Award winning cheese is oak smoked – the whole wheel is cold smoked over oak chips at Bings Heath Smokery resulting in a light oak smoked flavour not detracting from the mellow sweet taste of the original Newport cheese!
The Spookley Pumpkin Festival at Apley Farm Shop is in full swing: To make the experience complete, Julie’s been making Halloween cupcakes. We’ve sold masses of pumpkins – ours are bigger than many of the regularly sized smaller ones available, so better value.
If you pop by, don’t forget to vote for The Best Restaurant in Telford competition. (front of house) Zoe & Martin (chef) & their team work hard to produce exceptional meals using our local produce, at excellent prices.
Current farm activities at Apley are weaning the cows & calves, housing them for the winter & finishing off the last few bits of corn drilling. When all the cattle are housed the calves will be vaccinated against pneumonia & treated for gutworms. This is Adrian Joynt’s great photo showing ploughing & drilling winter oats amidst a cloud of sea gulls !
Moghlai lamb with spinach
560g boneless lamb shoulder, cubed
4 teaspoons ginger, peeled & grated
7 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 tablespoons ground coriander
5 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
140g onions, sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
450g spinach, cut into strips
Put the meat into a bowl & add the ginger, garlic & coriander. Mix & leave for 30 mins
Gently heat the oil into a wide, lidded pan. Add onions & fry until crisp.
Remove onions & add meat with its marinade
Add turmeric, cayenne pepper & salt, then stir for 1 min
Cover & cook for 10 mins
Remove the lid & add 1 tablespoon of yoghurt, stirring until it’s all absorbed. Add the rest of the yoghurt in the same way.
Stir in the spinach until it’s wilted
Chop the fried onions & add to the meat
Cover the pan & cook on a low heat for 50 mins until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if the liquid reduces too much.
Click here to view Agata Wasiewska’s wonderful film of life at Apley Farm Shop, which I feel above all, shows how much more than a farm shop we really are. We’ll be using tiny clips of it in animated [skyscraper] adverts on a selection of 30 websites. Customers will also be able to watch it at the cash till, to get a better idea of all that’s going on at Apley. We’re truly delighted – it’s been a project I’ve wanted to get done for ages ! Agata can be contacted on http://agwamedia.co.uk/
Moving on from films to bacon !, our butcher has just emailed me to say that Lord Hamilton’s oak smoked bacon will soon be available for the first time ever & exclusively from Apley Farm Shop of course !
And on Sunday 2 November, Amanda-Jayne Park will be demonstrating her jewellery making skills at the Apley Craft Fair, 10-4pm in the Courtyard. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow, Wednesday 22 October, 6.30pm, Elizabeth Beckett Skincare at Apley Farm Shop, will hold a demonstration of the Youngblood makeup range which she is now stocking. 6.30 for 7pm, ends 8pm. £5 tickets include glass of wine & canapes. Suitable for ages 14-104. Booking is advisable, but not obligatory. Online bookings can be made at http://www.elizabethbeckett.co.uk/what-s-new/ or go to her shop, or call 01952 739575 or email email@example.com.
The children could hardly manage to carry their pumpkins up the bank at the end of the ride. We’re one of the few places in Shropshire where you can Pick Your Own pumpkin. The Spookley Pumpkin Festival continues 25-31 Oct, coinciding with half term week.
Moving from pumpkins to cheese, Gavin just got an email from Matt Hiles having met him in the Farm Shop: “My Grandfather (Alan Cope) saw your article in the Shropshire Star and was fascinated to read the story about the recipe and that the cheese was still alive. He taught Rosemary [Keen, nee White] the art of making the cheese and was keen to be remembered to her. The cheese tasted great. I had to try it! a real delight. I can’t wait to give some to my grandfather for his seal of approval.” Isn’t that great !
Linking it to Apley Farm Shop, my intention is to try to track the Apley Estate farming progress throughout the next 12 months, starting with these photos taken by Ian Edwards, one of our farm workers.
“The process for preparing the ground is stubble cultivation or scuffling. We usually use a Discaerator, which works the soil and sows the stubble turnips at the same time. Growth rate depends on the weather. If it’s very dry they grow slowly. Normally though I would say you can start animals grazing on them in November/December time.
The Discaerator breaks up the sub soil, and uses 2 rows of discs to work a tilth (soil) ready to sow. It is working up last year’s oil seed rape stubble. The Lemken Drill sows the seed at the calibrated weight per hectare, and will also work the soil ready for planting. The rolls are used to firm the soil up around the seed to aid germination and to conserve moisture in dry times. The photo of the wheat field is at Apley Home Farm which was recently sowed. The photo of the Oil seed rape field is also at Apley Home Farm. It was sown in September but due to the dry time it is slow to germinate, and will hopefully get going now we have had some rain.”