A customer walked into Apley Farm Shop today saying she had a puncture so she had walked to the shop, but still wanted to do some shopping. Gavin Real (General Manager) saw her & said if she did her shopping we’d change her tyre. He wasn’t sure how to do this but at that moment Graeme Manton (our Land Agent) arrived & said he’d be happy to help. So he drove Gavin Real & the customer back to her car & set about changing the wheel, but they couldn’t get it off. Just them [Lord] Gavin Hamilton (Apley Estate owner) was passing on his way to the Farm Shop & stopped. Graeme explained he needed a large mallet to free the wheel. Gavin said “I’ve got one in the back because Harriet always insists we carry one for just this purpose !”. It worked perfectly [I feel very proud here that years of carrying round that mallet has finally been worth it] & the tyre was quickly changed. How about that for customer service ! The whole senior management team involved in sorting out our customer’s problem !
I bought the famous (& inexpensive) rubber mallet in question from our fab local shop, TFM, which I insist on keeping in all our cars, so I never (hopefully) end up looking rather hopeless on the side of the road, with our children inside wondering why their mother can’t fix it !
Apley’s carpenter & Clerk of Works told me when we first arrived (getting me used to mud, punctures & no street lights) to always also have a short plank of wood, so if you’re stuck on a soft verge, you can still jack up your car. Not yet needed, thankfully ! I also keep in the boot rubber gloves & a sheet of plastic, so I can change the tyre without getting filthy ! A neighbour keeps another very useful piece of kit in his car – a digital tyre inflator.
With leaves beginning to fall, you may be doing some Autumn gardening & revamping your window boxes. If so, take a look at the lovely display of plants from Worfield Nurseries, now onsale at Apley Farm Shop.
If you’re good at plant names (!), the selection includes the following:
Athyrium Okanum, Dahlia Bishop of Oxford, Dryopteris crassirhizoma, Heuchera Lime Marmalade, Heuchera Obsidian, Melianthus major AGM, Monarda Earl Grey, Polystichum aculeatum AGM, Rudbeckia Cappuccino, Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy, Rudbeckia Little Gold Star, Stipa arundinacea, Tricyrtis formosana Dark Beauty, Alpine Collection, Carex testacea, Dahlia Collection, Heuchera, Crimson Curls, Heucheara Marmalade, Kniphofia Toffee Nosed AGM, Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum, Penstemon Maurice Gibb, Rudbeckia Prairie Sun, Sedum Autumn Joy & Uncinia uncinata rubra.
Happy gardening !
Phil Allen, Head Gardener at Apley Walled Garden, has almost finished constructing our first polytunnel there. It just needs some doors & a couple of extra fittings & it’ll be ready for use. This ia really exciting as it will extend our growing season hugely, enabling Phil to meet the endless, all year round demand for salad (amongst other things) from the Creamery Café at Apley Farm Shop.
My mother in law, Corinna, Lady Hamilton, heard of someone in Surrey who was looking for a new home for this polytunnel & said she would ask Phil. What luck ! These & other photos really tell the extraordinary tale of the rapid progress made in the Gardens by Phil & his wonderful team of volunteers.
Gavin (Lord Hamilton) went for a photo shoot last week at Martin Moyden’s creamery near Market Drayton where Martin has made the first Apley Cheese since 1965. I’m very excited to share these first photos, especially as I’ve never been to any creamery to watch cheese being made.
There are 2 small changes to the attached list of forthcoming events at Apley Farm Shop: The Cookery Club on Saturday 4 October will now be held at Halfpenny Green Vineyards, where the grape harvest is underway, where members have been invited on a guided tour.
The theme of following Cookery Club on Saturday 1 November will be Christmas table decorations (don’t forget your containers) & bring along the homemade alcohol would have brought on 4 October, plus some canapés, as December’s club has been cancelled (the Conference Room is booked for Breakfast with Santa).
The Apley Walled Garden Open Tour on Tues 7 Oct will be the last – meet Phil Allen at the Farm Shop at 10am. In 2015, we’ll only be holding private, pre-booked, group tours.
- Sat 4 Oct, Tina of Halfpenny Green Vineyards (DY7 5EP) has kindly offered a free tour, exclusively to Apley Cookery Club members. This is nicely linked to our original theme of homemade alcohol which Tina is happy for you to take along with you. To book go to http://www.halfpennygreenvineyards.co.uk or call 01384 22 11 22.
- Sat 1 Nov, Christmas table decorations – no change – demonstration & hands-on class –Conference Room as usual. This will be 3 clubs in 1 (like the Holy Trinity !) – don’t forget to bring your containers & your canapés – see below.
- Sat 6 Dec, instead of canapés in the Conference Room on 6 Dec (no club), bring them along on Sat 1 Nov with your homemade alcohol (if there’s any still left by now !)
We’ll not be continuing the club in its current form in 2015, but hope to organise quarterly master classes with local chefs instead. Look out for details on this.
Someone very kindly alerted me recently to the sale of this poster on Ebay, so I as delighted when I bid & won it. I haven’t yet researched the Bridgnorth Literary & Scientific Institution, who hosted this event, nor where else this ‘annual’ fete had been held before or was held after this year 1869.
Mr W O Foster had only just bought the Estate in 1867, so was still very much a new face in the area. I wonder why the fete wasn’t held on a weekend. Tuesday seems quite an odd choice of day.
I wonder if 1 shilling was rather expensive ? or perhaps very reasonable for what they were offering. The ticket distributors names are very helpful & great to know there was a Miss Summers in Norton’s Post Office in 1869. It’s worth noting that the Post Office had only begun in the 1840s & the railway in 1860 – both are mentioned here.
I love the mention of the commodious barge on offer. Apley Bridge was only built in 1905. I wonder if the mentions of the Park & Terrace imply that normally anyone with a permit could walk in those areas.
Either way, I’ll look more carefully on Ebay, as this looks a very genuine poster, which I’ll frame this weekend.
If you’re at Apley Farm Shop, look at the Third Apley Archive Exhibition in The Creamery Café until Wed 27 Nov when we may put up a children’s art exhibition.
Firstly, some great feedback: It’s always nice to received positive feedback – generally, people only bother to say or write when there’s a problem. We’ve just had this feedback, yesterday 12 Sept: “I’ve just had a customer in from Wellington this afternoon who was keen to tell me that having eaten in the Creamery this lunch time, and [somewhere else] last month… The Creamery was ‘wonderful’, great service and there’s no comparison with [the other place] which was [not so good] ! Service, food, atmosphere here… all brilliant !” Isn’t that kind ! Of course, I instantly passed it onto our chef Martin & café manager Zoe, but also thanked the whole Farm Shop team, as it’s always very much a team effort to make things really work well.
Jake bakes cakes in the bakery – Jake has been helping Julie in the bakery for about 1 yr & has made plum & almond slices as a trial recipe (he can’t release the recipe yet before his interview for the Level 3 Apprenticeship).. Jake’s Cakes has a good ring to it, don’t you think !
The Apley Cookery Club on Saturday 1 November 10-11h30 in the Conference Room will combine the Oct, Nov & Dec clubs all in one. October was homemade alcohol, November will be Christmas decorations & December was going to be canapés. This will be the last ever meeting, as we’re changing direction for our foodies in 2015. September’s theme was game, when Dr Vicky Rance demonstrated partridges with lentils , preserved lemons & the lovely Apley Walled Garden red chard as well as a tasty venison Texas hash. .
From the Walled Garden, a recent University of Wolverhampton dinner used Apley Walled Garden vegetables by special request. Phil’s cabbages are perfect – slice either the red or white ones in half & I’d say they’d win any cabbage competition ! Have you tried his baby sweetcorn – delicious raw or steamed.
Farming on the Apley Estate is now focussing on ploughing & preparing the soil for 2015’s crops. They’ve already got the oil seed rape sowing done. Muck spreading (no doubt you’ve smelt it !) & hedge cutting (watch your tyres !) are also underway.
In the Farm Shop, Apley Walled Garden Previns came to offer tasters in the Shop back on 23 Aug & have given some delicious pickles suing Apley Walled Garden vegetables, for us to try at home – I’ll report back asap ! Chilton Damson Gin are coming to give tasters in the Farm Shop on Saturday 4 October – they’re always very popular ! We’re gearing up for our Big Taste Off on Saturday 27 September, 9.30-5.30pm with lots of producers coming to offer free tasters.
Lastly, I had huge fun today, whilst our girls are away at school, I competed on 1 of their ponies for the first time since I was 16 ! It shows I need some refresher lessons, but it wasn’t a total disaster either !
Gavin (Lor Hamilton ) met Rosemary Keen about 3 years ago, just after we opened Apley Farm Shop. He kept, detailed typed notes of exactly how she made the Apley cheese, then went off to meet Martin Moyden, who has just recreated it, much to everyone’s delight.
During his research, Gavin managed to get hold of copies of these newspaper articles in the archives of the Express & Star. This photo shows Rosemary’s father with a prize winning Daity Shorthorn cow. He was the dairy man, so it was not unusual for his daughter to have worked in cheesemaking from the age of 16. He’s photographed outside the dairy which is now Lottie’s [fashion] @ Apley Farm Shop.