The school holidays have begun ! Meantime, we’re developing the press page on our website. Soon you’ll be able to read all our press releases, even if you miss them in print, really keeping up to date with the latest developments at Apley.
I’m always reading others’ press releases & earlier on this week I spotted one another of Shropshire’s key tourist attractions – the RAF Museum at Cosford:
“The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £4.89million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its RAF Centenary Programme – The First 100 Years. 2018 will mark the centenary of the RAF and will be an occasion of national celebration and commemoration. As the oldest and longest serving air force in the world, the RAF has affected the lives of millions, driven technological innovations, pushed the boundaries of human achievement and become part of the UK’s cultural identity.”
This is great news, especially when combined with the Ironbridge Gorge Museums’ success in not only being voted the UK’s No 1 & world No 2 UNESCO World Heritage site by TripAdvisor votes in 2012, but also this year winning the top gold award for England’s number 1 tourist attraction (in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category of the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015). Those are fabulous achievements !
Gavin was on BBC Radio Shropshire earlier today when he was invited to talk about our next event at Apley Farm Shop this Sunday 19 July – Classic Car Sunday. More on that tomorrow !
There’s so much going on that have overlooked sharing the great news that at Newport Show last weekend, Apley Farm Shop won the best food stand. We’re also at Cosford Food Festival on 25-26 July, Burwarton Show on Thursday 6 August & Beckbury Show on Saturday 12 Sept.
Fresh into the Farm Shop are Powys quails eggs, £2.65 per dozen. Plus, Gavin’s just emailed these photos of apricots & morello cherries growing in the Farm Shop courtyard (which he planted) & freshly smoked Apley Walled Garden purple garlic (this photos makes me automatically think I can smell it !).
Here’s one of my ‘picnics’ of snippets of news: ★ Just had a great beef review on Trip Advisor; ★ we’re delighted Tina (our super General Manager) is back having been unwell; ★ we’re all ready for Classic Car Sunday this weekend – there’s free camping available on Saturday night for car enthusiasts coming from afar; ★spot us tomorrow (Friday) & Monday in the Shropshire Star’s summer supplement; ★I’ve got 3 super students helping with marketing tasks for the holidays, which ironically makes me even busier, but at least we’re racing through lists of marketing jobs which otherwise never get done – google analytics, Apley App, ecommerce, Illustrated Crop Reports, leaflet distribution, new road signs, media pack, shop promotions, planning of our next 6 events this year, website updates & all kinds of other background marketing tasks which are invisible but make a difference; ★ Evelade Chic furniture is opening on Saturday in Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard, next to the very pretty Apley Plant Centre.
I’ve just spotted – yesterday I posted my 1000th blog – quite a milestone !
A few days ago, when I mentioned a local school were running The Apprentice at Apley Farm Shop for the third year running, I promised a bit more detail:
“In recent months, Apley Farm Shop have expanded – Annie’s Reiki Centre & the Apley Plant Centre have just opened & Evelade Chic, which specialises in upcycling furniture, opens this Saturday, 18 July. The Idsall School students taking part in The Apprentice on Friday were asked to research & propose yet another expansion for the Apley site.
After a quick history of the business & tour of the site by our marketing assistant Lauren, they then went about conducting their own research into the current attractions & what the Apley Farm Shop consumers wanted. Having discussed it all over lunch in the Creamery Café, the students were then ready to present their concepts to Apley’s own Lord Sugar & Karen Brady (Graeme Manton, Apley’s Land Agent & Lauren).
The first concept was a small pick & mix sweet house across from Pigg’s Playbarn; the second was a crazy golf course on the field opposite the farm shop; the third was a series of allotments & a big field full of PYO strawberries; the final idea was a driving range for keen golfers.
All of these ideas were well thought through, looking at what our customers would like & what they felt Apley Farm Shop would benefit from. The overall winner was the sweet shop, which has actually been suggested by some of the Apley team in the past! The girls who came up with the idea had really understood all that we focus on at Apley – ie. local, high quality produce at good prices. Watch this space – perhaps we’ll develop 1 of those ideas ! Thank you Idsall School & Gareth Morgan, their inspirational teacher.”
I’ve just received (& simply had to share straight away) these photos today, which are (completely unrelated to the Apprentice !) of Summer pudding on the menu in Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Café & Perl Wenn brie on the Apley Delicatessen counter – both look mouth watering !
Apley Farm Shop have contributed to a new recipe book to be launch on Thursday 10 September called Made in Shropshire. Apley’s Head Chef Martin McKee made pumpkin soup with rye bread as a starter & Matt Jones had an Apley hot pot recipe ready too. All the ingredients used to make both recipes carried very low food miles, being all from the Apley Estate – beef, potatoes, Apley Walled Garden vegetables & ingredients from Apley Farm Shop. More on this very soon !
Apley Farm Shop won the best food stand at Newport Show on Saturday (11 July) & we were delighted celebrity chef Paul Rankin used our Apley Walled Garden potatoes in his demonstration. We sold out of nearly everything & spoke to many people who’d heard of us or had passed us, but never driven down our lovely lime avenue drive to discover all that we offer. I’ve just received these photos – more tomorrow on how the day went.
It’s nearly the end of the school term when many parents are sourcing thank you presents for their children’s teachers. Apley Farm Shop has a great selection ranging from jams like these from Heather’s Harvest, to complete hampers – which can of course be tailor-made to you budget or the teacher’s tastes !
It’s getting late – so more tomorrow …
That same day, we’re inviting campers for the very first time at Apley Farm Shop, enabling those coming from further afield with their classic & vintage cars to stay overnight, rather than face a very early start & very long day.
For the third year running, one of our local schools, Idsall, held their version of The Apprentice at Apley Farm Shop in our Corn Loft Conference Room. Land agent Graeme Manton judged them – I’ll get full details on Monday morning. The small groupg of students get set a challenge which they then research, prepare their pitch which they then present. When all have made their presentations, the winning group is chosen. More on that on Monday.
Our new marketing assistant Lauren Heath & her partner Jon Copson is taking part in the longest zip wire in Europe, to raise funds for the Hope House Hospice, which helps terminally ill children. The charity will set up a zip wire in Wales on Sunday 19th July. So she’ll leave Classic Car Sunday a bit early & drive all the way to Snowdonia. We held a shorter version at Apely Farm Shop in October, which was very successful. For more details or to donate, visit: http://www.hopehouse.org.uk/whats-on/event/velocity-zip-wire.html or https://www.justgiving.com/lauren-jon-zipwire
The donation page is https://www.justgiving.com/lauren-jon-zipwire
We’ll be supporting her of course & wishing her luck !
The charity details are: Hope House Children’s Hospice 2015. Registered charity: 1003859 (England & Wales).
Here are some snippets (another picnic-style blog !) of foodie news from Apley Farm Shop: Firstly, in one of our vegetable chillers, you’ll spot lots of gooseberries, raspberries & blackcurrants which Phil took up to the shop, fresh from Apley Walled Garden this afternoon.
Secondly, celebrating Severn Valley Railway’s 50th anniversary, Hobsons’ have an offer on their Manor Ale, running now until the end of the July (subject to availability): Buy 6 bottles & get a free tankard.
Thirdly, coming soon will be Apley Best Bitter from the Hop & Stagger Brewery. They’ve already developed an Apley ale called Apley Gamekeeper Pale, which you may have tasted on 7 June when they attended Open Farm Sunday with a barrel of beer & some bottled conditioned beer, samples of hops, malted barley & wheat & shared with customers their extensive knowledge of brewing beer.
Fourthly, in the Farm Shop pantry department, for jams & chutneys, pick up a deal on Heather’s Harvest jars – 2 for £7.95 or Mike’s Homemade jars – 2 for £5.
Fifthly, recently at home we’ve enjoyed Apley peppered beef kebabs from the Apley butcher with a salad of Apley Walled Garden iceberg lettuces (no photo sorry, but they look as perfect as any you buy in a supermarket. As a special treat when the girls were home for a weekend, we all had Apley beef steaks which were sooo delicious. Then last Wednesday (our vegetarian night), Venetia made delicious stuffed peppers, helped by our au pair. For lunches, I’m still enjoying the large supply of wild garlic soup which Gavin very kindly made me – though it is now sadly all over for this year – it has such a short season !
Lastly, Hamilton family essentials from our own Apley Farm Shop currently include Joosed juices & Bings Heath smoked Scottish salmon (I love a bit every lunchtime & whenever I’m feeling peckish later afternoon, early evening). Recently, we’ve also enjoyed Apley Walled Garden kale (now over), Quatt asparagus (we’ll have to wait a whole year for that now !), Wenlock Edge Farm antipasti selection, olives & herb loaves – which I hope will be back in stock very soon.