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May 12, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden progress

2016-04-22, Brian repairing AWG brick walls

Repairing brick walls

2016-05-07, AWG progress photos (1)

Fruit trees need more training again

2016-05-07, AWG progress photos (2)

One of the greenhouses looking clearer & better than it’s been for 60 years

2016-05-07, AWG progress photos (3)

Wall repaired at last

2016-05-07, AWG progress photos (4)2016-05-11, PIC - Radish french breakfast JPEGWhen I was in Apley Walled Garden last weekend, I snapped these photos showing the progress of rebuilding the wall knocked down by a tractor driver (apparently!) about 20 years ago. Great to see it nearly back to normal thanks to Brian Preece, who worked for the Apley Estate for years until quite recently.

Huge thanks to our volunteers who’ve helped Phil clear the largest greenhouses, so they’re now looking at their best for 60 yrs.

Radishes are in season (Gavin’s always pleased – they’re a favourite of his) – so here’s our PIC, Product Information Card with a recipe to try out.

May 11, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Queen’s birthday tea in Apley Walled Garden, 12 June

2016-06-12, Stockton Church fundraising Queen's 90th AWG tea poster final jpegSave the date ! Sun 12 June, 3-6pm. For the first time ever, there will be a fundraising tea party in Apley Walled Garden, in aid of Stockton Church, on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday. All the details & ticket application form are right here.

It’s strictly by pre-booked [£20] tickets only. There is a maximum of 100 tickets available. Just email Hilary is kindly co-ordinating ticket sales for the event. Gavin & I will both be there with Venetia & Francis in tow, as well as Gavin’s mother, Corinna, Lady Hamilton.

We’re very grateful to Nock Deighton, estate agents & chartered surveyors, for supporting this event.


May 10, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Beef from Apley herd of British white cattle

2016-05-08 Oldington Farm White Cows Family 3 Generations SW

3 generations – Richard, Paul, Harry & James Pennington of Oldington Farm, Apley Estate

2016-05-08 Oldington Farm White Cows Paul SW

Paul Pennington

The beef sold on Apley Farm Shop’s butchery counter comes from less than a mile away on Oldington Farm, farmed by 3 generations of the Pennington family.

You can’t get the customer & the producer much closer than that ! Fabulously low food miles.

Steve Watts went along on Sunday to photograph their handsome herd of British white cattle. They’d just finished their Sunday beef barbecue ! Paul & Catherine’s sons are 9 & 13. Both are up at 6am to help out. Wow ! James tends to the cows & Harry looks after the sheep – a real family business.

This beef is also available from our online DeiShop & is used on the menus of our Creamery Cafe at Apley Farm Shop.

Paul Pennington sent us this about British White beef: 

British Whites are a rare breed & one of, if not the oldest, native breed here in Britain. Viking lore talks of white cattle being looted & taken back to the Viking homelands during the invasion. They were used as a dual purpose animal as they provided plenty of milk without sacrificing meat coverage as most dairy breeds do.

In 2009, the Pennington family purchased a cow & a calf from a breeder in Leicestershire & the Oldington herd was born! After 5 years of selling beef in boxes to anyone who wanted them as a by-product of selective breeding, Apley Farm Shop got in touch & asked for some beef for a trial. Their customers loved it!

Now with a herd of around 70 pure bred breeding, show & beef cattle, the Penningtons run & show the herd at local & national shows as a family. Now with male, female & National Breed rosettes to the herd’s name, it continues to expand. The beef at Apley Farm Shop is a hit with all those who value delicious, high quality, locally produced & fully traceable beef which travels little more than a mile between birth & the customer.

In order for this rare species to survive, they must serve a commercial purpose. Without the demand, the herds would get smaller & eventually would be lost. Breeders, butchers & buyers all play an equally important & vital role in the maintenance of this wonderful, historic breed.

I did some brief research into the benefits of eating beef from grass-fed cattle:  On some commercial farms (anywhere in the world), cattle are fattened on grain, soy, by-product foodstuffs, supplements, antibiotics & hormones. Many are embracing the “grass-fed” philosophy which means the cattle eat nothing other than their mother’s milk & grass. They are allowed to grow at a natural pace, living low-stress, healthy lives. Beef from grass-fed cattle has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol & calories. It is rich in omega-3 acids, which are linked to blood pressure reduction & healthy brain function. Grass-fed meat boasts more vitamin E & beta-carotene than factory-farmed cattle.

When I rode past them recently, they certainly looked very happy, grazing in the spring sunshine.

Come & learn more about food & farming on Sunday 5 June, Open Farm Sunday, organised nationally by LEAF – Linking Education And Farming.

May 9, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

This week’s specials & news at Apley Farm Shop

Cajun chicken ciabatta

Cajun chicken ciabatta

2016-05-09, Honey, rhubarb & lemon loaf

Honey, rhubarb & lemon loaf

2016-05-09, Morbier cheese

Morbier cheese

What a gloriously hot & sunny weekend we’ve just had ! To get the week started at Apley Farm

New label for Apley 's own-branded tea

New label for Apley ‘s own-branded tea

Shop, here are our specials:

  • Cheese of the Week is this delicious looking Morbier —£1.95 per 100g.
  • Dish of the Week by Matt is chargrilled Cajun chicken ciabatta with roasted tomato, peppers & lemon yoghurt served with sweet potato wedges —£8.95.
  • And Cake of the week by Lisa is Honey, rhubarb & lemon loaf – £2.50 per slice in the Creamery – using Apley Walled Garden rhubarb.
  • On the Apley [home] Farms, Adrian, Bill, Ian & Mike are fertilising winter wheat, planting game cover crops & fencing.
206-05-05, Courtyard, Creamery Cafe, APC hedging

Apley Plant Centre hedging round Creamery Cafe’s courtyard

Other snippets of news are:

  1. Look out for our own branded tea, which has just been re-packaged in bags & with labels to match our branded coffee.
  2. Martin Moyden’s Apley cheese won bronze award in the Artisan cheese awards Melton Mowbray – more on that to follow.
  3. Last week, Tina sent me these lovely photos of the Apley Plant Centre hedging, which creates a prettier & more enclosed area for our Creamery Cafe customers.
  4. There’s still some wild garlic in the woods – it’s been very early this year. It wilts very fast, so just ask shop staff if you’d like some picked especially for you & set a collection time. Chef uses it for quiches, pesto, soups & salads.
May 7, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

More feedback & Trip advisor reports for Apley Farm Shop

2016-05-05, Trip advisor 'Lovely cake' 4th May 2016-05-05, Trip advisor 'Wonderful day out' 4th AMayHere’s yet more feedback & Trip advisor reports for Apley Farm Shop – we’re always so grateful to our customers who take the time to give us their feedback, both positive & negative. We can grow & learn from our mistakes & avoid repeating them !

May 6, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

The first Apley Bake Off, newspaper report

2016-05-06, Bridgnorth Journal, Farm shop's first baking comp is a bit hit, page 10

Yesterday’s Bridgnorth Journal published this lovely write-up of our first Apley Bake Off – we’ll make next year’s even better & chose a dry day !

May 5, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley’s Assistant Land Agent has qualified as MRICS

MRICS logoApley Estate Office happily announced today that our Assistant Land Agent, Lettie Moore, has passed her Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) at the first attempt and is now a fully qualified Chartered Surveyor (MRICS).

Lettie, 24, has worked for the estate full time since September 2014, having previously been on placement in the estate office whilst a student at Harper Adams University, Newport where she gained a degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management. Congratulations ! 

Managing an estate office is very varied & I’m sure no day is ever the same. It requires a breadth of knowledge over a wide range of subjects including property, planning laws & employment law, as well as having an excellent grasp knowing the estate’s land, properties & the people using them.


May 4, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Crumbs! Top tastes in bake off contest

2016-05-04, Shropshire Star - Crumbs! Top tastes in bake off contest

2016-05-04, Shropshire Star

Just spotted this lovely write up in the Shropshire Star about our Apley Bake Off.


May 3, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

This week at Apley Farm Shop

2016-03-05, PIC - Broccoli-page-001

As well as a school visit today & another on Friday, we’ve been tying up loose ends after the Apley Bake Off & preparing for Open Farm Sunday on 5 June.

Cheese of the Week is Single Gloucester—£2.29 per 100g. Lora in the farm shop has been asked a few times for wedding cheese cakes, so is testing & developing a couple this week. Photos to follow.

Dish of the Week in the Creamery Café is Toasted meditation vegetable tart with a lemon oil drizzle —£5.95

Lisa, our new Head Baker, is developing a new range of exciting cakes, which she’ll offer alongside the more traditional cakes for those who just love sticking to what they’ve always had !

This week’s Cake of the Week is Carrot Cake – £2.50 per slice in the Creamery.

The Apley Cookery Club is very sadly cancelled until further notice due to illness.

Broccoli is in season, so it’s the topic of this week’s this recipe & Product Information Card, right here.

Adrian on the farm has been fertilising wheat & oats, selling cattle & putting stock bulls out with the cows.

May 2, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Bake Off today at Apley Farm Shop

2016-05-02, Apley Bake Off, the 5 chefs

Apley Bake Off chefs – left to right, Stuart Philips, Suree Coates, James Sherwin, Chris Burt & Lajina Leal

My huge thanks today go to the Apley Bake Off – photographed here, left to right: Stuart Philips, Suree Coates, James Sherwin, Chris Burt & Lajina Leal.

At about 13h30, staff, chefs & customers survived the heaviest deluge I’ve seen for ages – without which a British Bank Holiday would not be so special !

We had a fantastic turnout – cake entries were numerous & stunning – of an incredibly high standard. Many enjoyed each of the chef demonstrations & between 10-20 attended each chef masterclass. Many customers went home happily clutching one of the fabulous prizes offered for the baking & masterclasses. Inevitably for any first event, there were some things which happened which I hadn’t forseen & some which didn’t happen quite as I’d planned !

A Decent Exposure (Steph filming & Steve photographing) were onsite all day capturing the spirit of the day, including this one of the 5 chefs to whom I’m so grateful – without them, there would have been no Bake Off ! Steve’s sent through so many fab photos, we’ll have to make them into a mini post-event film to remember the day by !

Our next event at Apley Farm Shop is Open Farm Sunday on Sunday 5 June – but heaps of ‘day-job’ tasks to do before then !


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