Recently I blogged details of the Apley meat boxes now available on our butchery counter. Steve Watts of A Decent Exposure Photography met up with our Apley butcher & took these super photos to illustrate what I was talking about ! Pictures always speak louder than words !
Natasha’s just been trained on Digitickets today. As soon as the sales of our Spookley tickets & Santa’s grotto tickets were published, the first ones were sold almost instantaneously !
The Spookley Pumpkin Express will run 15-16 Oct & 22-30 Oct, on the hour from 10am. The last ride will be at 4pm. Click HERE to buy yours.
Better late than never (it’s been a busy week!), here are our selections of the week:
- Cheese of the Week: Single Gloucester £2.30 per 100g
- Sausage of the week: Pork & wild mushroom
- Free Range egg Omelette with Apley Cheshire cheese served with mixed baby leaf lettuce. £7.50
- Cake of the week: Apley Honey cake £3.00
Keeping to Apley’s motto of very seasonal, fresh & local, we’ve just had stuffed squash (from Apley Walled Garden naturally!) with wild Camargue (OK, yes, it’s from France !) rice – delicious with Great Ness rapeseed oil, French (sorry again, it’s something Shropshire doesn’t do as well!) sea salt & black cracked pepper.
Afternoon Teas at Apley Farm Shop have always been something our customers particularly enjoy. Look our for our new banner (on the roadside), leaflet (you’ll find at our cash tills) & gift vouchers (just ask cafe staff for one). As ever, it includes Lord Hamilton’s carefully selected loose tea (an old friend of his is a tea broker), handmade cakes & scones & elegant sandwiches. At £14.95, it makes a perfect present & special occasion to get family & friends together. Our lovely shopping courtyard can get really warm & sunny, giving you the choice to enjoy your tea outside or indoors.
The Apley Harvest Fair on Sat 24 Sept 10-4pm looks as if it’ll be a feast for Shropshire’s foodies ! As well as produce from our own butcher, baker (sorry, we don’t yet have a candlestick maker) & walled garden, Addison Wines will also be present, the Best of Taste Company (delicious sauces), Butterbelle, Coopers sausage rolls, merangz, Hobsons’ Brewery, Hop & Stagger Brewery, Mahorall Farm Cider, Mr Moyden’s cheeses, Cottage Delight (jams & chutneys), amazing Welsh chocolate by Nom Noms (salted caramel is my weak point!), Oak Apple Catering (cheese nibbles – another of my favourites), Peter’s Yard (crackers, yet another essential in our kitchen), Shropshire Gin Company, Tipsy Fruit Gins, Willy Chase (think Tyrells crisps & popcorn), Smoothie Fresh People (obvious!) & wasabi beans, nuts & olives by Silver & Green.
Amongst the Apley Walled Garden produce will be tomatoes in dozens of different varieties. It’s producing the most amazing crop – the greenhouses smell delicious ! And it’s still producing raspberries – late varieties now, as good as the ones we had in June.
On top of that, we’ll also have 10 of Shropshire’s artisan crafters, meaning that our shopping courtyard will be full of some of Shropshire’s most creative people – creating art & crafts or delicious food & drinks.
This morning, we welcomed the Association for Industrial Archaeology at Apley Home Farm, who are having their 44th Conference in Telford from today until Wednesday. It includes very learned members from universities all over the UK, Spain & the Netherlands.
Our home farm is significant as it was a model farm in its time (1873), way ahead of its time.
I love hearing ideas bouncing off between people gathered together to discuss a subject. Individually, they have their specialist areas of knowledge. Collectively, they know so much about British industrial archaeology. We are very indebted to them. Without their work & studies, Britain’s industrial heritage would not be recorded & would be gradually lost.
I love learning from them all – they know so much more than we do about our own estate’s industrial heritage. Eg. on parting, someone suggested our farm office building was perhaps the weighbridge where the weights of incoming goods (eg coal deliveries) & those outgoing (eg grain) would be checked. They revealed the access to the coal cellar I’d never noticed before (see photo below).
The detail of their knowledge is insurpassable. Kings Cross Station also used laminated beams in 1852. They were replaced by iron beams as the heat from the trains’ steam engines affected the spring in the laminated beams so much that it began to push the side walls apart. ‘Apley Park Homestead’ also used (& still has) these laminated beams (which surprised me, as WO Foster owned his own ironworks). The [pine] wood mostly came from Hampshire at the time & was probably transported to Shropshire by canal.
The conference of 120 delegates was organised by David de Haan, Steve Dewhirst, Shane Kelleher & Ian West, all of whom I’ve met before & toured parts of the Apley Estate. Another organiser is John Powell who I’ve not yet met.
They will also be visiting Broseley Clay Tobacco Pipeworks, Wappenshall Canal Basin, the Lilleshall limestone mining landscape & many others. BTW, reading their programme I was reminded that the Wrekin is one of the oldest rocks (Pre Cambrian) in Europe. Amazing !
Holkham Hall in Suffolk also has a model farm & by chance owned by Gavin’s cousins, the Coke family. There are several model farms in Norfolk. Some belonged to mental hospitals (as they were known then) which had to be fairly self-sufficient.
Very helpfully, Gavin had found these original architect’s plans of the ‘homestead’ (home farm) of 1873, as well as these notes written by the Apley Estate land agent in 1975, Patrick Roney-Dougal. We are still trying to locate an even better document in our archives – I’ll be back asap with that one.
Apley Farm Shop’s wedding cheese cakes are not just the latest trend in wedding fashion – they’ve been offered as savoury alternatives on the continent for centuries. Here they’re featured in the Wolverhampton Magazine’s special wedding issue this September.
Big Little Things, the florist in our lovely Apley shopping courtyard, are one of Shropshire favourite wedding florists. Sarah & Fran have plenty of floral expertise to help you design your perfect wedding flowers.
Come along to our Harvest & Craft Fair on Saturday 24 Sept (10-4pm) to try out our huge range of cheeses & choose some for your own celebration cheese cake (for any big occasion, not just weddings!). With over 20 local food producers & Shropshire crafters, it’s always a great family day out.
After this weekend, there’s only a few days to snap up Apley Plant Centre’s August offers – heuchera for £5.
Manager Melanie will be sending me photos of a recent border she has created for a local customer, as an example of their Border Creation service. It looks stunning.
Lastly, don’t forget to drop in on their Autumn Border weekend is only a week away – 3-4 Sept.
Our customers have been asking for Apley meat boxes & mixed meat & veg boxes, so we’ve begun with these five meat boxes. There will be a game box once the new season has begun. Just ask at the butchery counter. If there’s another type of meat box
you’d like, we’ll do our best to grant your request (that rhymes !).
Paint & Create have had a busy few weeks in Apley Farm Shop’s shopping courtyard as Shropshire’s customers discover the pleasures of pottery painting. Charlotte just updated me with their forthcoming activities:
- Superhero weekend – Saturday 27th – Monday 29th August 10am – 4pm, mask making, cape design, create-a-plate, pottery painting, mini-heroes. No booking necessary.
- Ladies’ evening – Tuesday 13th September 2016 7pm – 9pm Wine, nibbles and pottery painting. £4 per person on booking plus whatever you paint on the night. Booking essential.
- Potter’s Wheel – Sunday 2nd October 2016 10am – 4pm 20 mins one-to-one lesson on the wheel, 2-3 hrs in the studio to paint then professional glaze and fire. £20 per person. Booking essential.