Hampton Estate Naturally Reared Produce Newsletter April 2017

Our wonderfully yellow daffodils are being buffeted by the spring breeze here in the park but the sunshine is winning and the grass is beginning to grow which will make the Hampton pedigree cattle even happier.

Our April beef day is on FRIDAY 28th APRIL and orders are now being taken. Orders for joints and cuts of prime beef, orders for minced and diced beef, orders for pies and sausages, orders for barbeques (beef burgers and sausage combo) and orders for mouth-watering venison.

We still have our popular 10kg and smaller 4kg beef bags available, featuring steaks, joints, mince and braising, as well as our delicious barbeque bags, holding beef burgers, steaks and sausages. All you need is some charcoal and a dust down of the Webber (make of barbeque) some good matches and a supply of delicious beer, which we can advise on too!

Our Hampton wild venison supplies are good at the moment , and infact a venison barbeque springs to mind which would be stunningly delicious and a little out of the ordinary. How about a haunch of venison, marinated overnight and popped onto a hot barbeque where charcoal is mixed with seasoned oak just to give a bit of extra flavour? It all sounds extremely promising, and add some Hampton Herby sausages or beef bangers, some whole skewered peppers drizzled with rape seed oil and the taste buds will be delighted.

My last newsletter in March anticipated the 2017 calving season and I’m delighted to report that healthy calves have been born almost every day since. Our record was six in 24 hours which coincided with the sunniest day in March and I think lulled the mums into a false sense of security. Little did they know that the next day would be driving wind and rain but by then we had cows and calves under cover enjoying some well-deserved hay and special cow cake. We expect the cows to calve outdoors in the maternity field, which is an extremely hygienic and natural environment, and 48 hours after calving we will ear tag each calf for identification, de horn them for safety, and castrate the boys, for obvious reasons. It’s a hard life! Each calf then stays with his or her mother for the rest of the summer, drinking milk and becoming accustomed to grazing. It’s all a wonderfully natural process.

At the other end of the farm the new hop gardens are really taking shape. We have such a limited time span between being able to get onto the hop gardens with machinery after the winter and the hop plants growing away too fast. This year we have had hop poles and wirework to put up, hooks to be secured to the wires, and then the usual stringing of the garden which ensures that each plant has a structure to adhere to as it grows skywards. To make sure that they grow skyward the young shoots need training or twiddling in a clockwise direction to start them on their climb and this will be done by casual labour at the end of the month or early May depending on temperature. By midsummer’s day we expect them to be at the top of the wires, 16 feet off the ground.

And talking of next month do put the ever popular Ride in the Park into your diary for SUNDAY 21st MAY, 2pm to 5pm here at Hampton with the garden open and the drives closed to all but pedal power traffic. It’s an opportunity for everyone learning to ride a bike, scooter, skateboard or roller-skates to use the private drives in safety, to enjoy the garden and an ice cream, and return to Myrtles Courtyard for a reviving cup of tea and cake. Parking is at Myrtles Courtyard and every one of every age is more than welcome. All proceeds from the day will go to the United Parish Funds.

On Bank Holiday Monday 29th May at Stoke Park in Guildford there is the Surrey County Agricultural Show, the biggest one day show in the country, full of superb livestock, horses, food and everything a good agricultural show should provide. Visit www.surreycountyshow.co.uk and see just what is on offer, book your tickets with discount on line, and enjoy a rare rural day in the middle of Guildford. Hampton Estate has long been a supporter of the show and Bridget and I plus most of the wider family will be there on the day.

Do remember to place your order for beef, sausages, and venison as soon as possible and we will have freshly brewed coffee and cake, biscuits and sausage tasters ready for on FRIDAY 28th APRIL from 10.30am.

This will be a perfect opportunity to restock after Easter.

Very best wishes

Bill and Bridget

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