On Sunday, I had a quick meeting with Julie, our CCB (Chief Cake Baker), choosing possible recipes using Apley Walled Garden fruit. The apple season is just round the corner – just look at these apple roses & this raspberry tart which could be made with Apley’s tayberries & loganberries. So watch the delicatessen counter for our new patiserries range coming soon. They will also be available to eat in our lovely Creamery Café too of course. Or pick up the recipe card & ingredients in the Farm Shop & get creative at home yourself !
During our meeting, Phil Allen was on BBC Radio Shropshire on Gardeners’ Question Time with Paul Shuttleworth. Click here to listen again on BBC iplayer (28 days left to listen there) or if you miss that, click here.
Apley Farm Shop is all about being local – local food for local people from local producers, providing local employment, boosting the local economy, preserving the local countryside & providing a local food & leisure destination.
So when we celebrated the birthday of Gavin’s mother’s (Corinna, Lady Hamilton of Dalzell) last night, Gavin gave us a very local Apley meal: The Aberdeen Angus beef fillet was sourced from the herd of Apley tenant farmer Simon Pennington, at Oldington Farm less than 1 mile from Apley Farm Shop. Gavin invented a new gratin dauphinois recipe, which was totally delicious: He mixed Apley Walled Garden beetroot with Maris Piper potatoes from Andrew Dalton, another Apley tenant farmer at Norton Farm, less than 1/2 mile from Apley Farm Shop. The runner beans came from Apley Walled Garden & we enjoyed Apley cheese afterwards (made by Mr Moyden).
Don’t miss hearing Head Gardener Phil Allen on Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio Shropshire today 12-1pm.
The Apley Fishing Book dating from 1931 is a fascinating read for anyone interested in fishing, Shropshire’s rivers, water quality, water conditions, fish stocks, water levels or local history. It includes this photo of Norman Sharpe, gamekeeper at the time, with a huge salmon.
Norman’s son Ted Sharpe has published his father’s memoirs in a book called Apley Hall: The Golden Years of a Sporting Estate. Click here for a copy.
By chance, Sam @ Hop & Stagger Brewery (based over the fields from Apley Farm Shop) emailed me this morning about the naming & labelling of 3 new beers they’re making especially for Apley Farm Shop, so I sent her a few archive images like these from the fish book. The beer names may refer to the Gamekeeper, the Head Gardener & the Ploughman – tbc.
Whilst I took a day off to take the children to our last pony competition this season, look what John & Martin have been cooking up at Apley Farm Shop today. John Callinswood (butcher) & Martin McKee (chef, Creamery Café) have made these wonderful steak pies (we will be trying one for supper tomorrow).
In the meantime, a client of John wrote to me (I’ve paraphrased it a bit) about a pie for 10 he recently received: “I recently asked John if he could make a large pie for a special occasion & suggested enough for 20 people. On the due date, he produced a magnificent looking pie. When it was put on the table at the party, the response was of astonishment & at the impressive proportions. It lasted only 30 mins before the plate was empty. Guests said it was the best pie they’d ever tasted … “
It’s been a lovely summery day at Apley Farm Shop today, full of activity & busi-ness. Tina got the Conference Room ready (looks gorgeous) for a leaving party tomorrow. On the butchery, I spotted Hayley, who went abroad for a long trip with Willow. I’m delighted they’ve both come back to work at Apley Farm Shop. I chatted with most of concessionaires, as the end of the school holidays approaches & I’m preparing for Autumn. I spent an hour with our new shop supervisor, who has created lovely displays including this one in Francis’s old wellies ! Our quails eggs supplier called during our meeting to confirm that he’s delivering more on Wednesday – so not long to wait. I love them in salads or just with celery salt before supper, when feeling peckish. Phil (head gardener) popped in to discuss a 2016 tomato festival, our latest crop report & production figures for the last quarter.
I bumped into a friend shopping in the Farm Shop & showed her round. She asked for a take away coffee, which of course we offer, along with almost any food or drink we produce. Our delicatessen range is perfect very pret-a-porter, ready to take-away. More on that soon.
The Apley Plant Centre is prettier than anyone had ever imagined – Melanie’s bike & bunting display is fabulous. I’ve been choosing new London window box flowers. Each time I went to chat with her today about marketing issues, she was called away to serve customers – so there are plenty of people who are clearly enjoying what she’s created.
When I got home, Gavin was picking fruit in our garden, including these peaches & apricots. Some are also growing in Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard, but aren’t quite ready (the same goes for our figs & grapes).
I began the day with a meeting (with a super business tourism officer) in Telford’s very impressive Southwater redevelopment. Then a board meeting whilst the children had lunch in The Creamery Café, followed by a meeting with the manager of the super Battlefield 1403 Farm Shop near Shrewsbury, on the Albrighton Estate.
In the meantime, at Apley Farm Shop, our head cake baker chef, Julie, has begun trialling (you’ll have to wait a little longer) patisseries & brought these ones in to show me, just about 5pm when I was getting peckish (big mistake – I’m afraid I began cutting into one of them).
The farm shop is looking lovely (though cuca-melons have sold out already) with Apley Walled Garden sunflowers & flowering artichoke heads. I’m meeting our farm shop supervisor there tomorrow to do some forward planning with her, after which I must catch up with the progress on some of our marketing projects, before the children go back to school.
Our beautiful farm shop sometimes gets rather warm on sunny days, with lots of very welcome sunshine shining through the large oak & glass doors. We’ve had a film applied to the windows (I blogged it early this summer), but we also invested in a new chiller (large fridge) especially for our very special Apley Walled Garden produce – including this week’s cuca-melons – a cross between cucumbers & melons. They’re tiny & totally delicious !
Here’s Phil Phridge (or Fil’s Fridge) for the Apley Walled Garden produce, a lovely picnic (enjoy one on our Skylark Nature Trail whilst the summer lasts !) & veg displays & a rainbow which our children spotted & were convinced it ended on top of our home (until we got home & realised it definitely didn’t!).
Last week, when hunting for yet another family meal in our freezer, I began to have a clear out & found a mystery bag in the bottom freezer drawer which could have been 1) plain flour, 2) scone mix or 3) plain sponge mix. So I added water (too much) & made (by accident) these scakes ! (scones made as cakes). Perhaps it’s a new Apley recipe ! At least, everyone who’s eaten it has loved it.
Steve Watts is a photographer who’s just moved to Shropshire from London & who very kindly took these fabulously sharp photos at the Apley Dog Show on Saturday. Attended by 300 with 440 dog entries in the pedigree & novelty classes, the show raised approx. £770 for dog rescue & canine cancer charities. More details tomorrow !
Contact Steve on email@example.com
I love this photo of the combine harvesting (of wheat) on Apley Home Farm taken today. They paused after the heavy rain on Friday, but have been able to continue today. We had our first chilly autumnal morning today – not cold enough to be a frost – so I suppose that delayed their start, whilst they waited for moisture levels to drop before they restarted the combining.
Whilst our children enjoyed the penultimate riding event this summer, Gavin spent much of today trying to manage the BT problem which affected our cash tills & other telephones in the local area. Grrrr !
Coming up this week at Apley Farm Shop will be the Pigg’s Playbarn cardboard box club on Tuesday & craft club (with paper tube) on Wednesday. The Ludlow Nut Company are giving tasters on Saturday 22 Aug. The next Apley Walled Garden Beginners’ Gardening course will be on Wed 26 Aug – same day as the Teddy Bears’ picnic on the Skylark Nature Trail. I’ll be catching up on how the dog show went as well as finding out how Phil got on at Shrewsbury Flower Festival (always a feast for the eyes) behind Apley Walled Garden’s stand.
As September creeps closer, I get into a flat spin to tie up loose ends whilst our 4 children will have treasured time with their granny. I am hoping to catch up with our general manager Tina; Graeme our land agent; meet up with Amy our new Playbarn supervisor; chat with John Callinswood our new butcher who works with Craig Whitehouse; see Lora who’s moved from the Playbarn to be Farm Shop supervisor; also Martin our head chef in The Creamery Cafe; & Julie our head cake baker; externally a council tourism officer & the manager of another local farm shop. Another marketing presentation to staff & the of our first mini recipe film may have to wait until September !
Until today I don’t think I’d ever ridden on a beach – it was a dream accomplished – one of those subconscious things I had on my list of 1000 Things to Do whilst I still can. Francis always loves going to the beach & like me, our 3 girls hadn’t ever cantered through the waves & galloped across endless sands, so with a bit of research & diary planning, we managed it today. They loved the absence of hedges to limit speed or distance & as there was almost no-one on the beach, the only thing to avoid (yes, rather critically) was sinking sands (we didn’t find any luckily!). Click here to glimpse the exhilarating fun we all had.
In the meantime, we missed the first ever Apley Dog Show at Apley Farm Shop, but I’ll share photos & news of how it went as soon as I get them tomorrow.