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May 12, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley cheese board & Apley tomato chutney in The Creamery Cafe

2015-05-12, AFS Cheese board 5 2015-05-12, AFS Cheese board 1 2015-05-12, AFS Cheese board 3All year round, but especially at this time of year, the Ploughmans lunches in The Creamery Café at Apley Farm Shop are extra popular, I’ve heard because of the Apley tomato chutney ! So Martin has shared with us the basic ingredients, but of course without actually giving away the secret to the Apley tomato chutney recipe !:


300g Apley Cheshire cheese (currently on special offer in Apley Farm Shop until 31 May). The other 2 cheeses on the board currently usually vary between Cornish yarg, Cheddar & balsamic onion, Hereford hop & Wensleydale & apricot – but can be any of your own favourites !

1 Stick fresh garden celery

1 Pink lady apple

1/2 Dozen green grapes

1/2 Dozen red grapes

Balsamic pickled onions

2 tablespoons of handmade Apley tomato chutney

Assortment of Peter’s Yard cheese biscuits

Garnish with spring onion, finely diced red onion & snipped chives


1kg Fresh ripe large plum tomatoes

2 Red onions

3 Cloves of garlic

300ml Red wine vinegar

180g Muscovado sugar

3 Stems of basil with the leaf


Chop tomatoes into halves then each half into 8

Finely dice the red onions

Crush & chop the garlic cloves

Finley chop the basil stems & leaf

Put all ingredients into a heavy based pot & bring to the boil.

When it has reached boiling point reduce to a simmer& stir.

Stir frequently & cook for approx 1.5hrs.

At this stage it will be very hot, however this is the time to cook in your salt & pepper to taste.

Pour your chutney into jars & leave to cool

May 11, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Open Farm Sunday 2015 at Apley Farm Shop

2015-04-30_Open_Farm_Sunday_leaflet_final_front, jpegFor the fourth year running, Apley Farm Shop is holding Open Farm Sunday, a national event organised by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) on Sunday 7 June, 10-4pm. It’s yet another free Apley event focusing on food, fun & farming when everyone can learn more about farming, meet the farmer & gain a better understanding of where their food comes from. All kinds of activities will be available, including a guess-the-weight of the lamb competition, planting a pumpkin seed, making a scarecrow & climbing in our straw bale tunnel.

There will be demonstrations by local producers & plenty of time to chat with them & ask questions. It’s a rare sight to see a display of modern & traditional farm machinery in the same place, where you can make direct comparisons.

Our Farm Manager Adrian Joynt will be around all day, so take the chance to ask all your farming questions or just chat over an Apley barbecue, a cold beer brewed on the Apley Estate by Hop & Stagger & some Bennetts’ icecream.

Scotty’s is offering free entry especially for the day (except for £2 donkey rides) & the Skylark Nature Trail is the perfect place to enjoy your Farm Shop picnic & get up close to nature !

As part of our preparations, Adrian has planted some wheat, barley & oil seed rape in gro-bags near the entrance of Pigg’s Playbarn, where the visiting children can see it grow until it’s harvested.


May 10, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Classic Car Sunday coming soon on 19 July

2015-04-30, Car pass - Bond0072015-04-24 Classic Car Weekly advert quarter page 75-page-001 JEPGClassic Car Sunday is coming soon at Apley Farm Shop on Sunday 19 July – for the 3rd year running. To register your classic car(s!), just email or 01952 730 345 (option 6) to get your car pass like this one – the earliest registrations will get the best car park places ! As last year, Gavin (Lord Hamilton) will judge the card at 2pm.

Amongst the cars which came last year were Porsche 911, E & S type Jaguars, TVRs, an MGB Roadster, 1983 Panther Kallista, Rover P6 3500, Standard Flying 8 Saloon 1939, a Buick Jaguar, a Morris Minor, a 1967 Mini Cooper, a Ford Anglia, a Triumph Herald, a Ford Zephyr, VW Beetles, MG Midgets, a 1960 Austin, a Triumph Spitfire, a 1972 Triumph Stag, a Triumph MR6, a Honda Gold Wing & many more.

It’s a great family day: In the Courtyard, pick up a cold beer from Hop & Stagger (who will be by then based in some Apley converted farm buildings, an Apley barbecue & a Churchfields icecream & whilst you enjoy your lunch, choose your favourite music from the juke box. There will be face painting & games for younger visitors. Scotty’s Animal Park will be open as usual, where children can feed the animals, ride a donkey ride, dig the sandpit or enjoy the bouncy castle. Buy a picnic in the Farm Shop & walk round our Skylark Nature Trail.



May 9, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Vegetables of the month – red spinach & radishes

2015-03-26, Radishes - Sparklers & White iciclesApley Walled Garden’s Head Gardener Phil Allen has just sent me through some background on his 2 chosen vegetables of the month which are red spinach & radishes. Throughout the year, Apley Walled Garden supplies Apley Farm Shop & The Creamery Café with as much of its fruit & vegetables requirements as possible, keeping food miles to a minimum.

Red spinach: The dark red leaves are packed with iron, iodine, carotene, folic acid & chlorophyll. Amusingly, Popeye’s propensity in eating spinach boosted sales by one-third in the early years of the 1930s.

The Radish: Radishes originated in China or Japan when they were longer & wider than the current varieties. However they were appreciated in ancient Egypt & in ancient Greece. According to Pliny the Elder, a radish modelled in gold was dedicated as a votive offering at the Temple of Apollo. Athenian adulterers ran the risk of rhaphanidosis or radishment (we’ll not add any more detail there !).

The button sized radish we eat today seems to have arrived from Italy in the late eighteenth century. These were soon taken to heart & grown on a large scale. London alone had over 4,000 hectares (around 10,0000 acres) of market gardens in the early nineteenth century, none of which survive today. However radishes, asparagus & strawberries still come up at Brompton cemetery, which stands on the site of an older market garden.

Not only is Apley Walled Garden offering gardening courses & continuing private tours this year, we also welcome pre-booked school visits & grow to order for chefs.

The next Apley Walled Garden Beginners’ Gardening course is Wed 27 May (it’s always held on the last Wednesday of the month, March to October, so the last will be Wed 28 Oct).

The Apley Walled Garden Three season gardening course is on Wed 17 June (Summer). Don’t worry if you missed the Spring course, nor if you can’t make the Autumn date (Wed 14 Oct).

The gardens are strictly private but are open for private, pre-booked tours (min 10 people) from March to October. Call 01952 730 345 for more details or email to book your course or tour places.

To get a taste of the knowledge Phil Allen imparts, listen again to his latest BBC Radio Shropshire interview, by clicking HERE. His next time on air will be when he is participating in BBC Radio Shropshire’s Gardeners’ Question Time on Sun 31 May, 12-1pm.

May 8, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Photography course at Apley Farm Shop – last 2 places !

Recycling Club - Rain water gauges

Recycling Club – Rain water gauges

KHB portrait KHB bannerThe Creamery Café is currently decorated with our beautiful photography competition entries. If they’ve inpired you, why not sign up for one of the last 2 places left on the photography course run by Karen Hartnell-Beavis next Tuesday, 12 May. Karen spent her childhood on the Apley Estate, went away & abroad to work & has now returned to live very locally to Apley Farm Shop. Just call her on 01952 730 856 or email to book. More details are on my blog of 15 March.

There are only 2 more weeks left before the May half term. There will be half term activities in Pigg’s Playbarn which I’ll mention next week. It also means there are only 2 more weeks of the Pigg’s Playbarn After School Recycling Club. So far they’ve made lid stamping patterns, rain gauges from plastic bottles, glow stick bottle animals & dream catchers.

On Thursday 14 May, they’ll make bird feeders made from recycled bottles & for the last week, on Thursday 21 May, they’ll make sock puppets.

The club runs 4-5.30pm, costs £3.50 which includes 30 mins free play in the playbarn. It’s suitable for 4-10 yr olds. Booking is not essential but places are limited. Email or call 01952 730 345 for more details.

May 7, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden on BBC Radio Shropshire

2015-04-25, Little gem lettuces ready to go to Apley Farm Shop

Little gem lettuces ready to go to Apley Farm Shop

Off to do some spraying

Off to do some spraying

2015-03-26, Red radishes - Sparklers

Red radishes – Sparklers

2015-03-26, Radishes - White icicles

Radishes – White icicles

Last Sunday 3 May 2015, Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden, was interviewed by Paul Shuttleworth on the incredibly rapid progress Phil’s made in the last 2 years since we brought the gardens back into production in Feb 2013. He’s had a team of volunteers & occasional help from the Apley Farming & Estate teams plus support from Gavin, Graeme (land agent) & me. But essentially, the garden’s success at supplying Apley Farm Shop & other local businesses, is down to one man – Phil. He’s great on the radio & TV – you’ll enjoy listening to him sharing his wealth of knowledge & expertise. Just click HERE to listen again.

To whet your appetite, here are some of Phil’s radishes – red sparklers & white icicles.

On Monday morning, I spotted Adrian Joynt, Apley Farm Manager, off to do some spraying (see photo). He’s just sent me this week’s farming update: “The bulls have been put out with the cows, so the first calves (next lot !) will be due February 2016. They’ve been planting Wild Seed Mixes for the Stewardship agreements & game cover (ie plants which pheasants & partridges like hiding in) for the Apley shoots.

The Wild Bird Seed mixes are based on plant species with small seeds such as kale, quinoa, buckwheat & millet which provide habitat & a food supply over the winter months for wild birds. The game cover is a mix of maize with a little sunflower included & this is to provide shelter & food.” 

May 6, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Annie’s Reiki centre opens at Apley Farm Shop

Annie's LogoOn Friday 1 May, Annie Leigh opened a Reiki centre at Apley Farm Shop. She has been working with Elizabeth Beckett Skincare over the past year & has taken over Elizabeth’s shop. Annie is a qualified Reiki practitioner with 15 years’ experience, including 4 years working in Tenerife & 6 years in palliative care in Worcester Hospice. As well as Reiki treatments, she also offers Indian head massages & Hopi ear candle treatments.

Annie will also be offering beauty treatments, full body massage & sports massages, as well as selling make-up & Elizabeth Beckett’s moisturizers & creams. Whatever your reasons for coming for Reiki, Annie can help you in the way that is right for you. Her treatments promote feelings of well-being, in keeping with the Apley Farm Shop ethos of healthy living.

Annie Leigh has 15 years’ experience under her belt. Annie is a qualified Reiki practitioner, holding a Diploma in Reiki 1, 2 & Master. I.N.H. (Dip I.H.M., I.N.H, T.A.T). She sent me these details below of her treatments:


Reiki £35 (1 hour)

Reiki means ‘universal life force energy’. It is an ancient hands-on healing technique which is simple, but powerful in its results & the benefits can be felt immediately. Reiki helps to balance the flow of energy throughout the body & so encourages the restoration of health on all levels – physical, mental & emotional.

Physical benefits: 

It accelerates the healing process, by supporting the body’s own natural ability to heal itself.

Mental/emotional benefits: 

It’s a wonderfully relaxing soothing treatment that calms the mind & clears away stress. It can also promote changing of negativity into positive & productive thought patterns.

Indian head massage £35 (45 minutes)

Indian head massage is a simple, yet effective massage of the head, neck, upper back, arms, shoulders & face with the purpose of manipulating the energy centres where tension is most likely to accumulate.

It brings about a feeling of well-being, calmness & relaxation, improved joint mobility & higher levels of alertness & concentration.

Hopi ear candles £35 (1 hours)

Hopi ear candles come from the Hopi Indians of Nor & are made from the natural ingredients, drawing any impurities to the surface where they can be gently removed. They can be used in the treatment of many problems, including ear wax build up, blocked sinuses, headaches, colds & flu & is completely pain free. Afterwards you will receive a relaxing face massage to enhance the effect of the candles.”

Hotties (aroma packs)

The modern aroma pack is a mixture of grain & herbs in a fabric cover, which will mould itself around all parts of the body. The pack is simply heated in the microwave, shaken & then placed on the affected area for instant relief. The aroma pack also alleviates headaches, arthritic & rheumatic pain & aids restful sleep.

May 5, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Our film of Spring at Apley

2015-05-04, May Day Fayre, Jodie Leigh Dance School 14 2015-05-04, May Day Fayre, Jodie Leigh Dance School 12 2015-05-04, May Day Fayre, Maypole dancing 15We’re about to start filming again at Apley Farm Shop, to create our Summer film. In the meantime, click HERE to enjoy again our Spring film, created by AgWa Media & Amelia Granville, a BBC director & producer & a BAFTA nominee.

Before I start working on Open Farm Sunday on 7 June, I must tell you what a lovely day we had yesterday for Apley’s first May Day Fayre.  Jodie Leigh’s School of Dance performances were fab, as was James Bazley’s circus school as always. In the games marquee we had hook-a-duck, a bowling alley & pig racing, where a local charity Promised Dreams came & raised £120 for terminally ill children. Many enjoyed the All-Day barbecue or lunch in the Creamery Café. I can’t imagine any child left before visiting Scotty’s Donkeys & Animal Park. Our daughters loved running h ice cream stall of locally produced Churchfield’s Icecream.

The highlight was the actual maypole dancing, which in its simplicity, was enchanting. A pole (tree trunk in fact), ribbons & children skipping round. As Jodie guided them through the ‘barber shop’ dance, the lady standing next to me told me that she was, by chance, a former Maypole dancing teacher !

When I did my own shopping just before closing time at 4pm, our butcher Craig Whitehouse was running very low on most products. As I had skipped lunch & the girls had all worked so hard, we treated the whole family to an end-of-long-weekend beef fillet steak with Quatt asparagus, with Julie’s amazing rhubarb cake for pudding. Delicious !

The Apley Plant Centre is coming soon, though there is still a lot of work to be done, as you can see from this photo !

May 4, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

May Day Fayre at Apley Farm Shop


Asparagus & wild garlic veloute

Asparagus & wild garlic veloute

Hoorah the sun is shining (for the time being at least !) & Apley Farm Shop is setting up for our first May Day Fayre with traditional Maypole dancing, James Bazley’s Have-a-Go circus school & live performances by the Jodie Leigh’s School of Dance from Bridgnorth. There will be other fun games & activities for all ages. Free entry, though charges may apply to some activities.

Jodie & her dancers will demonstrate the Maypole dancing, then leave it to you to Have-a-Go !

For all ages, it’s a great day for breakfast, coffee, lunch or Afternoon Tea in The Creamery Café & a great day to enjoy Scotty’s Animal Park too, if you have children in tow. In the Farm Shop itself, pick up some asparagus & Apley cheese – both on promotion. We always have some kind of eggy recipe on Sunday nights & last night it was asparagus & cheese omelette – totally scrummy after a busy Sunday out & about.

Annie’s Reiki Centre opened at Apley Farm Shop on Friday 1 May, so drop in there for an Indian Head Massage or a Reiki treatment.

We’re also delighted to announce tha Apley Plant Centre is coming to Apley Farm Shop at the end of the month – more on that later !

Phil Allen, Head Gardener of Apley Walled Garden, was on BBC Radio Shropshire’s Gardeners’ Question Time yesterday (Sun 3 May) 12-1pm. I’ll make a link here later (all children at home – rushing around !), so if you missed it, you can listen again.

Here’s another 3 recipes using asparagus & wild garlic from the Apley Estate woods. The Wild Garlic season doesn’t last long, so enjoy it whilst it’s here !

Wild garlic Velouté (the green sauce in the photo here!). I will add a more precise recipe later, with quantities

  • Asparagus spears
  • Button mushrooms
  • Wild garlic flowers to garnish

For the veloute, blend together:

  • Wild garlic
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Salt & pepper

Asparagus wrapped in filo pastry

A friend made these canapes at the start of a dinner party she held recently. I arrived very hungry, so they tasted extra delicious to me !

“Par boil thin asparagus tips in boiling water, allow to cool before wrapping each asparagus tip in a slice of parma ham. Use x 2 strips of filo pastry for each asparagus and baste together using melted butter then wrap the pastry around each asparagus.  Lay the asparagus on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Lightly baste the pasty with beaten egg and cook in the oven for approx 15 mins at 200 degrees, and serve warm.

The asparagus can partly be prepared in advance (i.e. the day before), par boil the asparagus and wrap in parma ham.”

Chicken & wild garlic recipe

I’ll be cooking this on Thursday (we always have poultry & game on Thursdays). Here are the ingredients – I’ll add more detail later !

  • Fresh chicken thighs from Apley Farm Shop’s own butcher
  • Wild garlic
  • Thyme
  • Butter
  • Salt & pepper
May 3, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Delicatessen counter – handmade produce

2015-04-22, Deli counter lasagne

Apley handmade lasagne

2015-04-22, Deli counter courgette & cheddar quiche

Apley handmade courgette & cheddar quiche

2015-01-05, Apley Estate wild garlic pesto

Apley handmade wild garlic pesto

2015-05-01, Apley Estate cold cooked beef

Apley Estate cold cooked beef

2015-04-22, Deli counter quiche Lorraine

Apley handmade quiche Lorraine

If you are hoping to skip cooking duties this bank holiday weekend, head to Apley’s delicatessen counter which is well stocked with plenty of Apley handmade products including traditional & cheese scotch eggs (sous-chef Matt has been perfecting these), Shepherd’s pie, Lasagne, Wild garlic pesto (I just love having it for lunch!), roast beef, turkey & ham. We also have 4 types of handmade quiches, made right here – Courgette & cheddar quiche & Smoked ham & tomato quiche (Quiche Lorraine). Last week, I heard the Asparagus & goat’s cheese quiche was popular (I hope that one comes back soon) & Apley Walled Garden beetroot & goat’s cheese quiche.

Whilst there, pick up a block of The Apley Cheese (Cheshire recipe by Mr Moyden) for £2.49 per 100g. It’s so versatile – great cold, grated or used in recipes.


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