Hampton Newsletter February 2016

Feb-16

Spring is on its way……….

As promised our next beef collection day will be on FRIDAY 18th MARCH. This is slightly out of kilter but the reason is that Easter is the following weekend and we want to give as many as possible the chance to be eating Hampton produce over the long weekend. Possibly an Easter roast, or an Easter lasagne, or for the brave an Easter barbeque, not to mention sausages ready for breakfast and Hampton venison prepared for a special dinner, the possibilities are endless.

We have lots of beef ready to be ordered from 10kg family bags with a variety of steaks, joints and cuts, to our bespoke ordering service where you can order just as little or as much as you like. We regularly take orders for simply a kilo of mince and a small roasting joint, and they are as important to us as an order for 10 kilos of mince, 5 kilos of braising steak and a rib roast to feed 12. Or try and fox us with an order for feather steak, shin and short ribs.  We will also have lots of Hampton Herby sausages and Hampton Beef Bangers and Hampton 100% beef burgers are also important in the mix. Venison supplies are reasonably good and a recent success in the kitchen has been venison cassoulet using shoulder of venison cooked slowly with loads of herbs, tomatoes and haricot beans. Our recipe books will be out and ready for inspection all day.

I’m delighted to report that Hampton Special Beef Pies are on the menu for Easter so please put in your order as soon as possible to ensure everything is ready for you on collection day.

Fresh coffee will be brewing from 10.30am and Bridget’s homemade cakes and biscuits will be on the table as always, so that everyone is well fed and topped up with enthusiasm for some excellent cooking.

The cow calving season is almost upon us, with the first calving scheduled for the second week in March. This means more cow checks, increasing from one to three times a day, to keep an eye on things in the field, although if possible we leave the cow to calve itself rather than help out too early in the process. Nature needs to be left alone and the skill from our end is knowing for how long.

Cow and calf will spend the next six months together, always outside, with the calf suckling on a very regular basis, and our breed of Sussex cows make excellent mothers who seem to take their responsibilities very seriously.

Two weeks ago we had our two year TB test, where all breeding stock was tested over a four day period for TB. It’s a concerning time (as Adam Hanson is very good at explaining on Countryfile) because the last thing any farm wants is a cow or several cows which show a positive reaction, as the implications are enormous. Im pleased to report that we had a clean bill of health, and we also took the opportunity to blood test all the stock so that we know we have the highest possible health status.

Calving may be a few days away but our resident pair of Egyptian geese have stolen a march by hatching five goslings and proudly taking them on a walk across the drive and over the cattle grid. No mean feat. We also have a pair of Red Kite’s making a nest close by on the edge of Puttenham Common. They seem to be able to take large amounts of timber in their beaks to prodigious heights and Bridget I know is very concerned that they might see our Norwich terrier, Ivy, as a tasty lunch.

Thank you to everyone who took so much interest in my hop stringing job request earlier in February. Three excellent hop stringers are working away in the garden and have brought with them some great sunny and relatively still conditions, perfect for perfecting their new found skills. We managed to grab the few frosty mornings to drive onto the gardens and carry out repairs to poles and wires and we are now waiting for the hop garden building team to return to erect the rest of the new gardens in the field heading out of Puttenham towards Seale.

Please send over, email or telephone your order for beef, sausages, venison and pies and Bridget and I really look forward to seeing everyone on Friday March 18th or our next day April 29th.

Best wishes

Bill and Bridget

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