Hampton Estate Naturally Reared Produce News January 2018

Very Happy New Year to all our wonderful customers and it was great to see so many before Christmas when we held our first ever two day beef event, and then again in the New Year at the New Year’s Day Pop Up Restaurant. Both seemed to go down well, and the Pop Up’s combination of woodland walk and hearty beef daube saw us catering for just over 400 at Myrtle’s Courtyard and the afternoon’s blue skies made for great walking conditions. We didn’t tally up the wonderful dogs on show but numbers and breeds were very impressive and apparently all enjoyed the walk.

I am pleased to report that our first Beef Collection Day of 2018 will be FRIDAY 2nd FEBRUARY and we are taking orders now. Our 10 kg family bags contain steaks, joints, stewing steak and mince whilst our 4kg convenience bags do exactly the same but a bit less. Instead of a bag of beef just let us know the cuts and joints you really need and we will set them aside for you. It’s probably time for a good old roast to get us all through those rather grey February weekends and a double rib or a fine piece of sirloin will never disappoint. But don’t forget silverside and top rump joints which ooze flavour and can be roasted by themselves or pot roasted with carrots, parsnips a good sized onion and a splash of red. It’s all very tempting and really straight forward.

We have good supplies of prime Hampton minced beef for lasagnes, bolognaises and cottage pies, plus stewing and braising steak that will make mouth-watering casseroles and stews. I would always add a bit of shin if possible for long cooking concoctions and again that good old splash of red (having ascertained that it is up to the job with some judicious tasting). And the good news is that by the time you pick up your order it will be February therefore dry January is nicely out of the way.

Hampton Herby sausages are all the rage I’m told and lots of customers enjoyed our alternative Hampton Beef Bangers over Christmas. Just add a couple of packs to your order as they will always come in handy, and for those brave and hardy customers planning February barbeques we will always have fresh beefburgers for you made with 100% Hampton beef.

Which takes me on to offal. If you have never tried cooking offal perhaps 2018 is the year to experiment with the utterly delicious liver, kidney or even a tongue? Oxtails fly out of the door every month they are available (there should be two this month) and there are a myriad of great recipes for cooking these delicacies. Strips of liver, dusted in seasoned flour and fried in butter with a couple of rashers of bacon will make a memorable dish in about 7 minutes. Happy Days.

Out on the farm the cows are about to be visited by the foot trimmer who will do a little manicure work on their hooves. This involves moving them all into the corral from the grazing fields and they are then individually checked over by our consultant foot trimmer who is an absolute expert in bovine pedicures. It’s so important that our cows don’t go lame and by having him over twice a year we are able to keep on top of any problems. We will also be blood testing all cows later in the month to ensure that our high health herd status is maintained. This is particularly important when we sell young breeding stock to other farms who want to know that the animals they buy are of the highest quality. Otherwise the cows are happily grazing some delicious hay made last June together with fresh barley straw which makes for a good feed combo.

In the hops it’s a great time to maintain and mend our hop picking machine. There are new belts to order, pluckers to put in place, chains to tighten and grease and a long list of checks to be ticked off. All these jobs are vitally important and whilst it’s too wet to venture into the hop gardens they are excellent indoor alternatives.  All too soon it will be the hop stringing season and I would love to hear from anyone who would like to work outside from mid-February onwards in the Hampton hop gardens stringing the hops. No previous experience is necessary and all training will be given on site. It is the most rewarding of jobs and suits anyone who is reasonably fit and is looking for a couple of months work. Hours are very flexible and all equipment is provided. Do let me know.

We start on commercial timber works at the beginning of February and will be concentrating in woodlands just to the south of Seale. We will be extracting soft woods made up of Corsican and Scots pine which will go to timber mills in the UK where the wood will be processed for fencing materials. The smaller branches from the trees we will keep ourselves for chipping for our biomass boilers and there will also be material for logs for fires. All this work will be carried out by woodland contractors under the supervision of our very experienced forestry consultant and will ensure that the Hampton woodlands are maintained and nurtured in the most professional way possible.

Fresh coffee and cake will be ready for you from 10.30am on Friday 2nd February when Bridget, Helen, Will and I look forward to seeing all our customers. There will certainly be sausage tasters during the morning and if today is anything to go by the woodburner will be roaring.

Please put your order in but do not hesitate to ring or email with any beef related queries. We will try our utmost to help.

Best wishes

Bill and Bridget

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