Today is the Apley Cookery Club (10.30-12.30pm) with Gilly Clayton, when you can enjoy learning how she makes a lovely light summer recipe of Smoked mackerel with warm Apley Walled Garden potatoes, salad & a mixed herby yoghurt dressing. Join her group to discover more about the gorgeous cherry now in season & sample cherry & almond omelette. Very unusual !
Enjoy free tasters in the Farm Shop from Previns Spices today, Saturday 4 July & from Oak Apple Catering next weekend, Saturday 18 July.
Listen to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Gardeners’ Question Time with Paul Shuttleworth tomorrow, Sunday 5 July. His panel again includes Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden.
In 2 weeks’ time, we’re holding our third Classic Car Sunday on 19 July, 10-4pm. For the first time ever, just for the night of Saturday 18 July, we’re allowing FREE camping on the field in front of Apley Farm Shop for classic car owners attending the event, who are coming from afar. Pre-register your car by applying for a car pass from our Farm Shop office 01952 730 345 (option 6), but it will still be possible to just turn up on the day.
A month ago on Saturday 30 May, I was out filming around the Apley Estate with AgWa Media creating a Summer film. But first we began 30 mins away from Apley, at Martin Moyden’s Creamery, near Market Drayton. He recreated our very own Apley cheese – last made on the site of Apley Farm Shop 60 years ago. Having never visited a creamery or cheese maker, it was fascinating to see how he does it. Of course, I asked lots of questions:When did he become a cheese maker ?
Martin really began making his cheeses in Feb 2005 – so this year is his 10th anniversary.
How & why did he become a cheese maker ?
Martin’s grandparents sold milk via horse & cart directly to the public. This inspired him to look at ways to sell directly & cheese making soon captured his imagination. So on leaving Walford Agricultural College, he began using his Grandmother’s jam pan at home & quickly progressed to a 50 litre vat.
What is the cheese actually made in ?
As well as one 1000 litre rectangular vat, he now uses two 700 litre vats – one round, one rectangular.
How is cheese actually made ?
The milk is poured into the vats where mechanical paddles keep it constantly moving. Gradually the curds (the hard bits which become the cheese) separate from the whey (the watery bits). Whey is fed to local pigs so nothing is wasted.
He bought a Dutch cheese press in 2006. Weights are attached to the ends of a pulley system, so that a specific amount of pressure is applied to each type of cheese, for a measured amount of time.
Once the cheese has been put in their moulds, it’s left under the Dutch press with weights to squeeze out the final wheys.
Where does he get all the milk from ?
He gets milk from a herd of Montbeliarde cows on a friend’s farm only 1 mile away.
Martin collects the milk in 1000 litre tanks – large square plastic cubes transported on pallets. He collects 2000-4000 litres per week with which to create 2-400 kg of cheese per week. The milk to cheese ratio is 10 litres to 1 kg.
Cows are milked twice daily 5am & 5pm, every single day of the year.
The milk produced at 5pm (night milk) is cooled within 15 minutes & reaches Martin’s Creamery at 8am the following morning.
Morning milk (produced at 5am) however, is warm as it is straight from the cow!
What are his cheeses called ?
Of course he makes the Apley cheeses which are only 3kg each when whole rounds.
His first cheese was Wrekin White. Another of his cheeses is Caer Caradoc which is produced as 5kg rounds.
Now he produces 7 which are sold all over the UK. As some cheeses are sold through wholesalers, he can’t always be exactly sure where they end up.
How does he feel after 10 years in the business ?
“It’s incredibly time consuming” he began, “but you’ll only get the quality from a combination of freshness & attention to detail – and that requires a lot of time. My wife Beth & I had our second child in November last year, so there are demands on my time from two directions now ! “
Where does he make the cheeses ?
His creamery is a very warm & humid room with white plastic ceiling & walls, plastic windows, easy to clean industrial flooring & lots of very clean stainless steel surfaces everywhere.
How much is he producing per year now ?
He now produced 12-15 tonnes per year, using 150,000 litres of milk.
How does he know when the cheese is ready to sell ?
He tests small amounts, but doesn’t eat a lot of cheese himself. He even disliked blue cheese until he started making it !
For how long are the cheeses left to mature ?
In the maturation room, the youngest cheeses get turned daily (young means 0-30 days). The oldest cheeses go on the top shelves. Cheeses settle after about 1 month, so they only get turned weekly after that. After 1-2 weeks, he pierces the Wrekin Blue cheese (none of the others) to let in oxygen which creates the blue mould. The natural moulds & yeasts on the outsides of cheeses help the cheeses mature & create their unique flavours. His smoked cheeses are kept wrapped sealed in plastic, to contain the smoked flavours.
There are still some places left on the EKO (Educating Kids Outdoors) Playbarn sleepover, which runs from Fri 28 Aug 10.30am to Sat 29 Aug, 10.30am and is open to any 6-12 year olds.
Does your child enjoy running free outdoors? How about building dens, using fire steels, toasting marshmallows, cooking over campfires and learning awesome survival and bushcraft skills? Throw in some fun team games and challenges, allow creative art with natural materials, make time to explore our natural world and to investigate the flora and fauna that we discover around us, and you have a typical, magical EKO (Educating Kids Outdoors) Day.
BUT…the fun is not over with an EKO Playbarn 24 hour Sleepover….
As light fades in the evening, the children come inside Apley Farm Shop’s Pigg’s Playbarn to play on the slides and then find a suitable place to spread out their roll mats and sleeping bags all ready for bedtime midst the slides and climbing frames. Once in their PJs there is hot chocolate and a bedtime story before snuggling down to sweet dreams of their wonderful day in the woods. In the morning they can look forward to a delicious breakfast served in Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Cafe to give them the energy they need for a morning of more outdoor activities before home time.
All this for just £35 with all food, snacks and resources included, and parents get 24 hours off! This only happens once a year so don’t miss it! Give your child an opportunity to go wild with their friends outdoors and to sleep amongst the slides in Pigg’s Playbarn. Book now at www.ekolearning.org.uk/holidayclubs. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07876 658 467.
Lauren’s just taken these great photos of Apley’s in-house butcher Craig Whitehouse, who has made these Tiger Tails – children are guaranteed to love them. For pudding, dip into Apley Farm Shop’s freezers & take home some local Churchfields icecream too, perfect for these lovely hot afternoons.
Our traditional butcher hangs our carcasses, which means the meat is cut on site, as & when it’s required, not prepared in advanced. Beef, for example, is at its best when it has been hung for 28 days in a chiller. Using whole carcasses not only means the meat’s provenance is clearer, it’s also fresher & customers can request their preferred cuts. Whenever possible, we source our whole carcasses from the Apley Estate itself & local Shropshire farmers. The meat’s provenance can be traced from the farm marks on the carcasses themselves.
Tiger Tails are pork sausage stuffed with grated cheese & wrapped with bacon.
His 5lb specials are currently:
- 5lb chicken fillets—£14
- 5lb minced beef—£14
- 5lb smoked back bacon—£15
- 5lb pork sausage—£14
- 5lb pork chops—£14
BBQ4U – Apley butcher tailor-made barbecue tray packs £7.95: Our butcher will tailor-make a tray of barbecue meats especially for you. Select your favourites from the 8 different varieties of sausage on offer, add in some Apley lamb koftas, Apley steaks or Apley beefburgers. It’s just for you – totally bespoke. Apley BBQ 4 U !
In his sausage recipes, Craig uses rare breed, locally sourced pork & fresh vegetables from the Apley Walled Garden whenever available.
Apley Farm Shop is ready for all this lovely sunshine with Apley barbecue packs – BBQ4U – allowing you to select your favourites. English strawberries & raspberries are also here, some from our own Apley Walled Garden. Buy 2 punnets & get your cream half price (valid until 17 July). Combine them with meringues made by Merangz or some of our handmade cakes. All perfect for supper & watching some Wimbledon !
I’ve spotted the cherries are ripening – ready for National Cherry Day on 16 July, just before Apley’s Classic Car Sunday on 19 July.
Last night, I defrosted some venison & made a casserole with Atkins & Potts tomato & basil sauce from Apley Farm Shop (naturally!). We also sell Atkins & Potts roasting kits for chicken their gourmet gravy – the perfect “cheat” for Sunday Lunch (£2.49).
I’m beginning to use Big Barn more. I’ve only uploaded 2 products (Apley honey & Apley Ale), but at least it’s a start to Apley’s E-commerce. There’s so much going on, it’s quite hard sometimes to get lots of projects done simultaneously !
Mondays are nearly always the busiest day of my week, catching up from the weekend (life at the Farm Shop never stops – it’s open 7 days a week !) – so here are a few bits & pieces of Apley news:
The weekend was extra busy for Apley Farm Shop, having a stand at Shrewsbury Food Festival 27-28 June. Gavin spent half Saturday & all Sunday there & said it had gone very well & our products well received. Next, we’ll be at Newport Show on Saturday 11 July.
Tonight, 3 local artists have launched a beautiful exhibition, Secret Shropshire, in The Creamery Café to raise funds for the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund. All exhibits are for sale. Artists are photographer Jean Macdonald, Poet Marilyn Gaunt & artist Maureen Westerby. It runs until 3 October. I took this photo on Saturday evening as I was removing the photography competition entries (which are very soon available for collection from the Farm Shop office) & they were hanging their exhibition very professionally.
The Apley Cookery Club is coming up this Saturday 4 July, 10.30-12.30pm. It includes a buffet lunch, so book with Gilly Clayton – email@example.com or 07837 83 58 54.
If you enjoy spicy food, come & enjoy some free tasters from Previns on Saturday 4 July in Apley Farm Shop. After that, I’m delighted to say Oak Apple Catering are coming on Saturday 18 July. Their cheese sables last about 30 mins in our home –disappearing especially fast if I’m around & very hungry !
There will be no craft fair on 5 July & 2 August. We’re holding them now on Sun 27 Sept (the day after our Harvest Food Festival), Sun 25 Oct (at the start of Spookley week) & Sun 29 Nov (the day after our Christmas Food Festival).
Pigg’s Playbarn at Apley Farm Shop has plenty of activities to keep the children busy this summer. We will have events running every Tuesday & Wednesday in the school holidays – Cardboard Box Club every Tuesday & a variety of craft activities every Wednesday.
Every Wednesday in the holidays, Playbarn staff will organize a different activity, starting with the Teddy Bears’ Picnic on 22 July, plate butterflies on 29 July, egg box bugs on 5 Aug, sock puppet making on 12 Aug, paper tube cars on 19 Aug & another Teddy Bears’ Picnic on 26 Aug.
Cardboard Box Club will run every Tuesday (21, 28 July, 4, 11, 18 & 25 Aug) from 10-12noon & 2-4pm. It will be free with entry to the Playbarn. Summer craft activities will run every Wednesday (22, 29 July, 5, 12, 19 & 26 Aug) 10-12noon & are also free with Playbarn entry. Teddy Bears’ Picnics cost £6.50 for children (play & picnic) & £5.50 for adult picnics.
Our focus is on wholesome, inexpensive, traditional activities, whenever possible being outdoors & using recycled materials, raising environmental awareness amongst the children & their parents. Good fun doesn’t have to cost the earth ! It’s great for children to meet new friends, have fun outdoors & learn how to recycled materials into a great new, handmade toy.
Activities are suitable for children aged 2-11. Parents must supervise children at all times. For some activities, places are limited, so booking is advisable. For more information, to book your place or buy Teddy Bears’ Picnic tickets, please visit www.apleyfarmshop.co.uk or call 01952 730 345.
Just before term restarts, children are invited to sleepover in the Playbarn on Friday 28th – Saturday 29th August, organized by Educating Kids Outdoors (EKO).
The Pigg’s Playbarn After-School in the autumn term will be a Textiles Club, starting on Thursday 3rd September. In the October half term, the Spookley Pumpkin Festival will help keep children busy & active.
“It is now over a week since Apley Plant Centre opened & we have been warmly welcomed by existing patrons & staff – thank you all for your support, kind wishes, enthusiastic comments, praise for our stock, our ethos & our individual artistic image. Some of our customers’ comments read as below.
“One of the prettiest plant centres I have ever visited, with an interesting range of plants. Good luck!” – Barbara & Geoff, Long Compton. 20/6/15.
“Amazing! Wonderful! What a find! So helpful, knowledgeable & informative too. Thank you!!”
“A wonderful little gem of a garden centre. Very artistic. We will be back.” – Pam, Wolverhampton 17/6/15
“A beautifully designed garden, enjoyed the visit, as you walked around the garden every part of it was lovely & surprising. Very therapeutic for anyone who is ill.” – Joy Davies 14/6/15
We look forward to meeting many more Apley Farm Shop customers old & new, welcoming you to browse & ponder our many plant delights.
Customers are particularly liking & taking advantage of our multi-buy deals, enabling you to make savings when buying three or more plants helping to maximise planting displays in your garden. Friendly knowledgeable staff always on h& to help & advise on plant selection.
Our plant of the moment is Diascia Daydream, bursting with myriad short spires of pink flowers produced from late spring throughout the summer. Preferring sun & well-drained soil, perfect for rockeries, pots or the front of borders.
We are displaying Diascia Daydream with Salvia New Dimension Blue & Heucheras (available in an array of foliage colours). Three beautiful plants providing an air of vintage charm! Why not take advantage of our multi-buy offer & purchase these three beauties to add some colour to your garden?
For more info, call 01952 37 00 01 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This weekend on both Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 June, it’s the [third] Shrewsbury Food Festival. Shropshire’s absolutely the UK’s food county, so it follows that it’s biggest town should host a 2 day foodie fest ! And of course, Apley Farm Shop will have a stand. Our staff have been preparing & stocking the vehicles going, ensuring they have the right stock & enough of everything – it’s a bit like going camping ! The fresh (& still warm) pork pies have just been delivered by one of our butchers, John, this evening. So come & visit our stand & introduce yourselves to us. We love meeting our customers & hearing your ideas.
For full details see: http://www.shrewsburyfoodfestival.co.uk/
Opening times: Saturday 10-6pm & Sunday 10-5pm.
Tickets: £6 adults, £12 families. You can buy on the gate on the day or in advance online. Tickets give entry for one day only. Families mean 2 adults & up to 3 children aged under 16 years old.
Where exactly will Apley Farm Shop be ? What’s our stand number ? tbc tomorrow – but beginning with A means we’re at the top of the A-Z in the programme directory !
I have no photos (yet !) of the Food Festival, so here are some lovely ones I took when out filming around the Apley Estate on 30 May.
On a totally different subject, but before too much time passes, I must share with you this lovely email of feedback we received on 20 June: “Was there last Friday with my mother and wife and wanted to thank Becky for impeccable service, where nothing was too much trouble. She even expertly packed some left-overs to be taken home. Cream tea the best I’ve ever had. Will be back at Christmas, got my eyes on a beef rib joint. All the Staff were welcoming and helpful.”
Isn’t that fabulous ! So nice that he took the time to write & tell us. Running the farm shop complex 7 days a week, nearly 365 days pa is quite an undertaking & appreciation like this makes it all the more worthwhile ! Thank you Mr DB !
A few Apley foodie bites: Perfect for summer evenings was recipe of the week (actually it was last week!) – lime & coriander chicken kebabs. All ingredients are available from Apley Farm Shop. This month’s seasonal vegetable is artichoke, from Apley Walled Garden of course. Cheese of the week is Sharpham Rustique with onion & garlic – £1.99 per 100g on Apley’s Delicatessen counter. Julie’s cake of the week is orange drizzle cake – every bit as good as her lemon drizzle cake. Dish of the week (recipe coming very soon) in The Creamery Café is spinach (from Apley Walled Garden again) & rosemary goat’s cheese risotto finished with fresh wild herbs & parmesan. Sounds delicious !