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August 24, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

NFU competition to win an Apley Farm Shop hamper

2014-08-08, NFU hamper, Butcher, GGH & Jo Coles2014-08-08, NFU competition hamperLast week I had a call from the NFU’s PR officer that they had nearly 1000 entries to the competition they’ve been running via their Facebook page to win an Apley Farm Shop hamper, in aid of their Back British Farming campaign.

That’s obviously fabulous & by now the delicious hamper will be being enjoyed by the lucky winner. I’m just waiting for details & perhaps a winner photo, but in the meantime, keep an eye on their Facebook page for other competitions they’re running.

Here are some extracts from the NFU’s press release about their Back British Farming campaign: “It’s all about promoting British farming & the wealth of quality produce being grown ‘just over the hedgerow’. The harvest of commercial oil seed rape, wheat & barley is nearly finished on the 2000 acres farmed in-hand by our Farm Manager & former Shropshire NFU chairman Adrian Joynt. We also have a suckler beef herd & sheep flock supplying local markets & the estate’s butcher Mark Lowe, with meat sold in the farm shop. The NFU’s support for Back British comes very soon after it was revealed that the UK’s self-sufficiency in home-grown food has fallen. The NFU has calculated that Shropshire and the rest of the country is only 60 per cent self-sufficient, a staggering fall of more than 15 per cent since 1991. The union has called for a growth plan for the industry to help generate the right environment for investment, sustainability & on-farm productivity.

Gavin (husband, Lord Hamilton) said: “If more people ate in season they would get better value food & we do need to see more British produce on the shelves, although imports have their place. Here at Apley we offer fabulous products, are encouraging more people to buy British & we support the NFU campaign. We grow our own vegetables in the Apley Walled Garden where we haven’t tried to replicate a traditional Victorian walled garden, but instead we are growing in a modern, but low input fashion, as naturally as we can on a small scale. We have enough courgettes and patty pan squash here for our customers to eat nothing else for the next month; however we have great variety in the farm shop which people should come & see. I think it’s important to go back to seasonal, local food where you can & to look at traditional vegetables & other produce as they are great for taste.”

Gavin continued that Apley aimed to stock their own handmade produce, from the Apley Estate, for their Farm Shop, Delicatessen & Cafe, alongside great local food and drink from other producers. “We’re providing other producers with a market and we see it as helping the local Shropshire food economy and we also take good, quality artisan food and drink from elsewhere,” he said. “I would also encourage everyone to buy British, to try things that are different and be adventurous with what they eat; There are some great ingredients & products just waiting to be discovered.”

John Mercer, NFU West Midlands regional director, said farmers and growers had a fantastic natural capacity to produce more quality British food, given the right market signals & the confidence to invest. He said: “Apley is a stand out example of a business making great strides to champion delicious, seasonal food & drink alongside the demands of operating a larger, commercial estate & I applaud them for their excellent efforts.

“Despite Shropshire farmers and growers working smarter, driving efficiency to produce more with less impact and taking advantage of the latest science and technology; we are seeing our self-sufficiency drop off at a worrying rate. If we stored all of the food produced in the UK in a year, shoppers would have just 219 days of produce available to them and have to rely on imports for the rest; this needs to improve. The NFU is calling for a growth plan for agriculture as part of its Back British Farming campaign to help halt the decline & drive investment. Consumers are increasingly showing their support for British farming – they are our best ally & we continue to thank them for backing the industry.”

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