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October 9, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Pigg’s Playbarn After School – Textiles Club

2015-01-10 Textile club - finger puppets (1) 2015-01-10 Textile club - finger puppets (2) 2015-01-10 Textile club - finger puppets (4) 2015-10-08 Textile club - fleece blanket (1)Pigg’s Playbarn at Apley Farm Shop runs After School clubs & this term it’s been the Textiles Club. Just look at these teddies’ blankets Alice has made & the finger puppets. Click HERE for more details – scroll down to ‘Textiles Club’. It’s 4-5:30pm & for 2-11 yr olds – they can just work at their own pace. Parents must stay with children at all times. The club runs 4-5pm & free playtime in the Playbarn 5-5:30pm afterwards.

They made fleece blankets yesterday (just finished, so just awaiting photos) & next week 15 Oct they’ll make shoe bags & for the last week, they’ll make finger puppets like these demonstrated by Alice.

The Playbarn staff are just finalising the very popular Breakfast with Santa programme (it seems very odd writing about it today when it’s still so warm & sunny). Alley Katz Toy Shop said they’ll have the letterbox out for those who are writing to Mr S. Claus !

October 8, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Creamery Café – Dish of the week, Cake of the week

Braised pork belly with cider, parsnip & carrot puree sauteed runner beans

Braised pork belly with cider, parsnip & carrot puree sauteed runner beans

Spiced fig & coffee cake

Spiced fig & coffee cake

The Creamery Cafe’s Dish of the Week is braised pork belly (from Apley butcher of course !) with cider, parsnip & carrot puree with sautéed runner beans (vegetables from Apley Walled Gardens naturally !).

Try the Cake of the Week which is very seasonal – spiced fig & coffee cake. Julie, our chief cake baker (who I think could & should be a contender in the 2016 Great British Bake-Off!), meets weekly with Phil & the chefs, to ensure they are all using whatever is available in Apley Walled Garden. Quince & squash have been delivered today which will be first used in the Café & then sold in the farm shop.

Keep an eye on the Apley Walled Garden Facebook page or the website. The Illustrated Crop Report (ICR) is about to be posted there, bringing it up to date. The last Three Season Gardening course is on Wed 14 Oct & the last Beginners’ Gardening course is on Wed 28 Oct. Private tours can be booked all year round (01952 730 345 ext 6).

Phill (Allen) has been harvesting pumpkins this week, ready for the first pumpkin weekend 17-18 October. We’ve ordered 2000 as well as growing our own, as last year we ran out ! Click HERE to book your Spookley Pumpkin Festival tickets (17-18 & 24-31 Oct).

Apley farming this week involves drilling winter wheat & ‘naked oats’, cleaning out cattle sheds & spreading muck.

October 7, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley butcher in the press

Wolverhampton Express & Star, 3 Oct 2015

Wolverhampton Express & Star, 3 Oct 2015

Apley Gamekeeper Gold V3-page-001It’s always great to get even a tiny [as long as it’s positive !] article in the press & here’s one of our latest. I’m looking forward to seeing his entries for the 2 competitions – Great British Sausage Week (Apley venison sausages are sooo tasty & lean – I can’t get enough of them!) & the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie & Sausage Competition this Sunday, 11 October.

Apley Farm Shop’s beer-loving customers (sorry, that excludes me – I’m not mad about the smell of malt, even in Horlicks !) will be delighted to hear that the Hop & Stagger told me their Apley Gamekeeper’s Gold & Apley Gardener’s IPA have just arrived at their brewery (at Astol Farm) & their Apley Woodman’s Bitter will be delivered (to them) next week on 15 October. So look out for it on the Apley Farm Shop shelves. I’ll ask Gavin to do the tasting !

I’ve just finished the marketing survey carried out on the day of the Apley Taste Off on 26 Sept. Fortunately, it’s much quicker to analyse the results than to accurately input them ! The results help me so much to know in which direction our future marketing should be heading. Nearly 1000 visitors came mainly from Telford, Wolverhampton, Bridgnorth & Shifnal. Two thirds were existing customers, one third new. Onsite publicity was the most effective means of advertising the event, followed by roadsigns, word of mouth, websites, Facebook & our newsletter.

October 6, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Plant Centre news

Apley Plant Centre - We Have All Required for Planting Your ContainersApley Plant Centre has just sent me this news update which is very relevant as my own window box is in need of sprucing up asap ! Every time I am at Apley Farm Shop, I see increasing numbers of customers heading off with bags of plants, so clearly Melanie & her team are meeting the needs of Shropshire’s local gardeners.

Apley Plant Centre has everything required to make up your winter planters. New pot designs just in – particularly looking good are our galvanised zinc style planters. Compost, plant feed and a wide range of plants to choose from to design your planter with. Bulbs for under planting available to add extra interest within your container planting scheme and prolong the interest within your desired choice. Staff always on hand to advise on the right plant, or maybe you would like us to plant up your chosen containers”.

As Melanie was sending me that, I have been working on Apley’s Christmas Launch (Sat 14 Nov) & Christmas Food Fair (Sat 28 Nov), Christmas decorations, Christmas opening dates, Christmas adverts, signs & banners, Christmas events & activities, Christmas menus, Christmas hampers, Christmas parties, Breakfasts with Santa, Christmas lunches, Christmas Afternoon teas, Christmas jumper day (for Save the Children Fund) & possibly a repetition of last year’s Children’s Christmas Art Competition. It seems too early, but time flies !


October 5, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Farm Shop’s October newsletter

October 2015 newsletter - new layout - JPEGIn case you missed it, here’s Apley Farm Shop’s October newsletter. There’s so much going on at Apley, it’s hard to include it all in writing. This is a new layout, which (when received by email, not here) links straight through to pages of our website.

If you don’t regularly receive it, but would like to, just click HERE to sign up. If you change your mind, it’s easy to unsubscribe. We only send 1-2 newsletters per month, full of news, events, promotions & offers.

Autumn’s chilly mornings are here, leaves to scuff in, conkers to collect, pumpkins to carve & leaf painting to do (for Francis aged 5 !).


October 4, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley farming news

2015-09-30, Winter wheat drilling 4m drill, Grindle, Mike Buck

Drilling winter wheat

I have tried to create a bit of an Apley farming diary in the last year. In 2 weeks’ time, they’ll be weaning calves & housing (bringing them into barns for winter) cattle, so there will be lots of vehicle & cattle movements & as Adrian added, lots of noise too (mooing !). Here’s Mike using a 4m wide (for extra speed) drill to sow (drill) winter wheat near Grindle, beyond Astol Farm (one of our home farms) where Hop & Stagger brewery have just created 3 Apley beers – the Apley Gamekeeper’s Gold, Apley Gardener’s IPA & the Apley Woodman’s Bitter. There will be doubt several opportunities in the next few months to enjoy some free tasters & meet Sam & Bob who make it with their sons across the fields from Apley Farm Shop.

More on both those subjects later this week …

October 3, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Medlars at Apley Farm Shop


Francis hugging Harry


Early morning Autumn fog

2014-10-27, Medlars from Moorville 2 2015-10-03, Medlar jelly recipe JPEGMedlars will be soon available again in Apley Farm Shop. To make medlar jelly, they may need bletting – see foot of recipe for explanation ! I’d never heard of bletting until this evening & medlars grow in my neighbours garden, but I have to admit, are not widely known. Others can’t wait for them to become available at this time of year, including some of our family, who have been asking me for this recipe.

We just collected some delicious smelling rye grass hay from a local farmer. It’s a beautiful evening & the hay smelt so lovely, it made the whole trip very pleasurable ! As we unloaded, bats swirled around above us, probably from the bat hole we were obliged to install when we renovated a building nearby. The day began with fog, which I’ve tried to capture on camera, but of course, it’s rather tricky – there’s not much to see !

I took Francis to buy rugby boots this morning & when he saw there was only 1 on the shelf, he said “but Mummy, we can’t buy those ones, there isn’t a pair !”

October 2, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Very smart Apley Farm Shop packaging

97-page-001 CS01_small-sash-red_Apley Farm ShopWe were delighted to find Apley Farm Shop on the pages of a packaging catalogue this afternoon. I have to admit (awful, as I know it’s only 2 Oct) Gavin & I were looking at Tina’s choices of hamper packaging from We’ve ordered from them before, but as packaging is so important, it’s worth carefully adjusting it from year to year.

I love these printed sashes, especially the red on brown & was delighted to be alongside Green & Black’s, who are of course currently much more significant in the world of food than we are !

On a completely different subject – the Apley butcher – here’s our latest butcher press release & if you’re in Apley Farm Shop tomorrow, head for the butchery counter where you’ll see England’s sausage (Venison & plum) vs Australia’s (barbecue pork). The venison sausages are fantastic – very lean (the meat is very dark in colour) & full of taste – easily my favourites.

October 1, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Autumn Apley films

2015-10-01, Specials menu

Creamery Cafe, Specials menu, 1 Oct 2015

Partridge, £9 for 2 brace

Partridge, £9 for 2 brace at the Apley Butchery

Just arrived – click HERE to see the trailer of the lovely film AgWa Media made on Saturday 26 Sept, when we held our annual Taste Off (Harvest Food Festival) at Apley Farm Shop. It’s the start of our Autumn film, which of course we’re still making as it’s only 1 October !

This isn’t a patch on Agata’s film I know, but it’s our summary of what’s happening in October at Apley Farm Shop, which we run on our in-store televisions – take a look (click HERE).

Partridge is on offer on the butchery this week – 2 brace for £9 is incredibly good value. In the Creamery Café at Apley Farm Shop, Dish of the Week is Apley partridge with figs & walnuts (see Specials menu). The Apley walnuts aren’t quite ready, but the our own fig tree has had produced masses – so it’s nearly 100% Apley.

The recipe card will be available next week to pick up in the farm shop, but in the meantime, here it is:

Apley partridge with fig & walnuts


  • Partridge 2 breast & 2 legs (from our butcher)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 fresh figs (from our garden)
  • Walnuts
  • Red currant & mint dressing (available in the farm shop or see recipe below)


  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan
  • Season two partridge breasts & two legs
  • Place the partridge in a frying pan skin side down or remove skin if preferred
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes then turn over
  • Add a knob of butter & baste the partridge
  • Cook for a further 54-5 minutes
  • When you see the blood gently run from the breast, take it off heat & remove from pan. Keep it warm
  • Quarter the figs & place under a hot grill or in the oven along with walnuts
  • Watch carefully as walnuts can burn easily
  • When walnuts are toasted & the figs are hot, remove from heat
  • Place salad in centre of plate. Arrange partridge & figs. Scatter walnuts on top
  • Dress with red currant & mint vinaigrette.

Red currant & mint dressing


  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 punnet of red currants, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil (walnut oil is a great alternative)


  • Whisk or liquid ingredients to combine (use a blender if preferred)
  • Add red currants
  • Season to taste
September 30, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Big Little Things opening at Apley Farm Shop

biglittlethingsLogo max_fabric_lettersIn the next few weeks, Apley Farm Shop customers will see a branch of Big Little Things (currently in Shrewsbury) opening in Apley’s courtyard. They’ve just sent me this:

Big Little Things are Shropshire wedding florists, Sarah & Fran, with 10 years’ experience between them. They take pride in creating wedding flowers, bouquets & bunches that are not only stunning but that use the best quality fresh flowers for maximum longevity! They take advantage of seasonal flowers often grown locally or source more exotic blooms for those who seek something specific from further afield. They work with brides throughout Shropshire, Staffordshire & The Midlands & have been known to hop on a plane to create fabulous flowers overseas!

But their love of crafting doesn’t stop there.  They understand that the little details are a big deal & they will offer an extensive selection of unique, handpicked and handcrafted wedding decorations, personalised gifts (like these MAX letters here) & finishing touches in the new Apley shop. They take great pleasure in creating personalised products which represents such a special occasion, a keepsake from a moment in time. They deliver throughout the UK & worldwide too.

Follow them online either via our blog, Facebook, twitter or pinterest.


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