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May 26, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Sausage of the week at Apley Farm Shop

2016-05-26, Sausage of the week - wild mushroom

Sausage of the week – wild mushroom

Try this also-very-seasonal wild garlic yarg

Cheese of the Week: Very seasonal wild garlic yarg, £1.70 per 100g

2016-05-23, Chocolate marble cake

Lisa’s Cake of the Week: Chocolate marble cake, £2.50

Welcome to Bob the butcher, Bob Wassell

Welcome to Bob the butcher, Bob Wassell

Welcome very warmly to our new butcher at Apley Farm Shop, Bob Wassell, who’s just created Sausage of the Week – Wild mushroom. Half term starts tomorrow, so I can’t wait to get home & try them. I also adore wild garlic, so will try this yarg too. Enjoy these in the Creamery Cafe or pick up in the farm shop.

2014-09-11, Apley Cheese 1

Apley cheese – now holder of a bronze award – in Mr Moyden’s presses

Mr Moyden won a bronze for his Apley cheese at the Artisan Cheese Awards in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire recently. I just spoke to the organiser who told me they’d had 338 entries from 86 artisan cheese makers. The awards recognise the skills of small cheesemakers who make under 250 tonnes of cheese per year.

Lauren’s busy getting ready for Open Farm Sunday, now just 9 days away on Sunday 5 June, 10-4pm. It’s a big day for our farm manager Adrian Joynt, who organises farm machinery displays & is on hand all day to chat about modern day farming.

May 25, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley farming news

2016-04-24, Mike spraying near Harrington

24 April, Spring spraying

2016-04-03, Farming update photos, oil seed rape coming into flower

3 April, oil seed rape coming into flower

2016-04-03, Farming update photos, 3 tractors

3 April, Soil preparation, pre-planting

Recently, I read this detail about Apley farming in a press release by the AHDB, the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board, for which Apley farms are now a monitor farm. I felt it was worth sharing here as it gives a brief but official description of our current farming operations at Apley. I believe tack sheep belong to farmers renting grazing (as we don’t have any sheep of our own).

There are a few other aspects of Apley’s farming to add:

  1. our 3 other very valued members of the farm team – Bill, Mike & Ian
  2. our 13 tenant farmers who look after 3/4 of the estate’s farm land
  3. the 1000 acres of woodland – we have some magnificent trees & the woods are home to many wild flowers & wildlife – now managed by 1 woodman & contractors
  4. Apley beef is sold through Apley Farm Shop’s butcher & used in our Creamery Cafe.

“Adrian Joynt has been the farm manager for the Apley Estate since 2011. He is responsible for 650ha of arable cropping, running a five-year rotation on medium soils, which includes wheat, barley, oilseed rape, oats and potatoes.

A policy of minimal cultivation with rotational ploughing is employed and the majority of the labour and machinery required is operated in-house. Grain storage and marketing is done on the farm and Adrian uses an independent agronomist. In addition to the arable land, the farm includes 300ha of grassland which services a suckler cow herd and a beef finishing unit. Tack sheep graze the grassland and stubble turnips during the winter.

During the Monitor Farm programme, Adrian particularly hopes to scrutinise the effectiveness and cost of his herbicide strategy, investigate variable rate nitrogen techniques & cover crops, as well as potentially introducing alternative break crops.”

My photos are usually taking when out riding &/or from a distance, so I usually have a millisecond to take them, so I know they aren’t the best, but better than nothing.

May 24, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

What’s on in Pigg’s Playbarn

Created by TGI v14.12.001. Data v15.01.004.

Activ8 will be at Apley Farm Shop on Friday 3 June for the first time

2016-05-23, Scotty s Family fun day 30th May

Scotty s Family Funday on Monday 30 May

Creative Tuesdays until 28 June

Creative Tuesdays until 28 June

Creative Tuesdays start today in Pigg’s Playbarn. It’s a six week course for 2-4 yr olds, 11-2pm, free with Playbarn admission, running from today 24 May until Tuesday 28 June.

If you’re planning your bank holiday weekend, Scotty’s Donkeys & Animal Park is holding a family funday on Monday 30 May, 10-5pm.

Play traditional family games such as splat the rat, skittles & hook a duck. Meet a host of cuddly creatures in the petting zoo & enjoy a donkey ride. Admission is included in the entry fee (small charges apply for some activities).

Activ8, a local provider of after school & holiday clubs, are running a taster day on our event field on Fri 3 June, 9-15h. Call Dan Wilson on 07904 944 833 or see for more details.

Local author Jess Hiles is visiting Pigg’s Playbarn, also on Fri 3 June, 10-15h in Pigg’s Playbarn.

To finish off half term week (next week, 30 May to 3 June), don’t miss Open Farm Sunday on Sun 5 June, 10-4pm. It’s a free event – always full of fun, food & farming for all the family. Meet our farm manager, sit on modern tractors, compare it to old farm machinery in working order, butcher demonstrations make a scarecrow & heaps more. It’s a great family day out.

May 23, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Asparagus recipes

2016-05-23, Chocolate marble cake

Lisa’s chocolate marble cake, our Cake of the Week

2016-05-23, Butter-fried asparagus with black olive & lemon mayonnaise - front

Try this also-very-seasonal wild garlic yarg

Try this also-very-seasonal wild garlic yarg – it’s our Cheese of the Week

Very short blog, having just spotted (in the BBC Good Food Magazine) this mouthwatering recipe for fellow asparagus lovers!

2016-05-23, Butter-fried asparagus with black olive & lemon mayonnaise - back


May 22, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

May recipes – asparagus & rhubarb

2016-05-19, Bennett & Dunn dressings

Bennett & Dunn dressings, £4.25

2016-23-05, PIC - Asparagus2016-23-05, PIC - RhubarbWhat’s in season in May – rhubarb & aspargus to start with! Plus local British strawberries.

Brenda has been creating these Product Information Cards (PICs) to give you some background & recipe ideas for produce now available in Apley Farm Shop.

Try the asparagus with these Bennett & Dunn dressings & marinades. We use their delicious rapeseed oil all the time at home, so these should also be well worth trying.

Available flavours are: classic vinaigrette dressing , chilli and garlic dressing, honey and mustard dressing.



May 20, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley cheese making in 1960

2016-05-20, Cheese making 9

John Pigg senior (farm manager) & Bert White (in wellies) milking

2016-05-20, Cheese making 10

Cows going into the dairy (central building of Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard) to be milked. They’re entering by the main entrance, nearest the farm shop. 

2016-05-20, Cheese making 19

Penny aged 19 (born 1945, taken 1964) doing an acidity test on the cheese

13.05.16 Old Cheese making photos-1

The milking pens (abreast pens) in the dairy. The cows’ milk production was measured weekly using the dials above the pens. 

2016-05-20, Cheese making 16

Cooling machine

2016-05-20, Cheese making 17

The steriliser, operated by a Mrs Morgan (aged c.65 in 1960)

I love those days when I get a surprise ‘phone call or visit from someone with a special Apley Estate story to recount or memories & photos to share. Earlier this week, we had one of those days when Penny Froud (nee Warner) dropped in to the farm shop for her first time & allowed us to take copies of these wonderful photos taken during her training year at Apley. In some of the photos, it’s very easy to recognise the courtyard & cafe windows.

Some of the cheese making equipment (such as the water boiler & the settling tank) were still in the derelict barns when Gavin first began developing the farm shop.

The separator was used to separate the whey & make whey butter (by Mrs Bert White), which was cheaper & used mainly for cooking. Curds make the cheese & whey is drained off via pipes.  Ordinary butter is made from full fat milk which has had its cream separated off.

Penny lodged in Windmill Road with the Watson family. Robin Watson was the dairy man at Astol Farm (across the fields from what is now Aple Farm Shop) & he milked the cows with Bert White.

Penny kept a farm diary for her 2 year course at Seale Hayne agricultural college in Devon where she gained a National Diploma in Dairying NDD. This was her practical year Sept 1963 to July 1964 – didn’t overlap with Rosemary White but did overlap with Ann Pigg. She’s come to Apley as her mother knew Mrs Roney-Dougal, wife of the land agent. She still has the names of the cows of the Apley herd of dairy shorthorns, which Lady, Serafina, Daisy, Olive & Meg.

The extra breeze-block dairy which was added onto the brick-built central dairy, was demolished right at the start of the project to redevelop the barns into Apley Farm Shop.

May 19, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

EU Referendum debate in Bridgnorth, Shropshire

2016-05-23, Eu Referendum debate 1 JuneThe EU Referendum is such an important debate, I’m breaking with my principal of trying to never mention anything political on this blog! It’s next week on Wed 1 June at 7pm in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Full details right here. Great speakers who will give both sides of the argument very concisely I’m sure. Whether we stay in or out, this is a decision which will affect everyone in one way or another, with very long lasting consequences.

May 18, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley wedding cheese cakes

2016-05-17, AFS - cheese cake, hanging sign 1016x1500 jpeg

Apley wedding cheese cakes, serves 150-200 people, from £225 (smaller ones £150)

Apley Farm Shop’s Delicatessen counter has got exciting cheesy news to share:

Over the next few weeks, 14 new cheeses will be arriving on the deli counter.

A special launch day has been set for Saturday 23 July, which will include cheese tastings but also possibly demonstrations on how cheese is made & a talk on how to host a cheese party. 

Lora & Donna have been away on a cheese training course & have taken a City & Guilds delicatessen qualification. More on that when their results are out! They’ll be sharing their new knowledge & skill sets with other farm shop staff.

We’re now also offering these fabulous wedding cheese cakes, which serve 150-200 people. A large one is £225 & a smaller one £150.

Big Little Things, Shropshire’s wedding florist in our Apley courtyard, can create bespoke flower arrangements to go on top of the cake.  Contact them on or 07811 343 558.

May 17, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

New photo banners in Apley Farm Shop

2016-05-17, AFS - Montage Cow Hanging 1016 x 1140 jpeg (3)

Photo by Steve Watts photography

2016-05-17, AFS - Montage Cow Hanging 1016 x 1140 jpeg (1)

Photo by Steve Watts photography

I shared these lovely shots recently, of the Pennington family from Oldington Farm with their herd of British White cattle, supplying beef to Apley Farm Shop, less than a mile from where they are reared.  Now Badger Print (01952 730 511) have made them into hanging banners.

The beef & many of our products, is available on our online shop, DeliShop.

Welcome to Bob Wassell who has just joined our butchery team.

May 16, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Classic Motor Day – Sunday 17th July

2016-01-18, Apley Classic Motor Day 2016 leaflet2016-05-16, Shropshire Star Shop ready for classic car dayApley Classic Motor Day will be on Sunday 17th July this year, 10-4pm. We’ve already received 33 registrations from clubs & individual car owners.

Churchfields Icecreams will be onsite all day as before – they’re always very popular !

For the first time this year, we’re welcoming classic motorbikes. For more details, click HERE. To register your car or motorbike, call the farm shop office on 01952 730 345 or email us on


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