September is usually a relatively quiet month here on the farm, the calm before the storm that is Christmas festivities. However, in between the moments of calm, there’s been a few exciting events to keep us on our toes.
The start of the partridge shooting season this month has brought with it a plethora of local shoots surrounding the farm, so it is not been hard to get hold of these flighty little birds. There are two varieties of Partridges: the French (Red legged) Partridge and the English (Grey legged) Partridge. Shoots tend to rear the French variety (as they are not as adventurous as their English relatives) and are also slightly plumper bird for the table; this is unfortunate as the English birds, despite their smaller size, in our opinion pack a punchier flavour.
As one season starts another closes, September saw us visit our last show of the season – Westmorland County where we definitely finished on a high! We took two of our new show team recruits: Raincliffe Joan and Raincliffe Jubilee Queen and ended up getting a fantastic 1st and a 2nd respectively in the junior heifer class. However, this was not the end of the day’s achievements, the top two contestants from each class (bull any age, cow in milk/ in calf, female born in 2011 and heifer born in 2012) then went against each other, bovine head to bovine head, to be crowned Longhorn Champion and Reserve Champion. Tim and Raincliffe Joan were ecstatic when the announcement came that they had managed to scoop the Reserve Champion title, an incredible way to end the show season, especially as Joan was up against bulls weighing staggeringly over a tonne each! Well done Tim, Hayley, Raincliffe Joan and Raincliffe Jubilee Queen.
This month we were lucky enough to meet with the Secretary of State for DEFRA this month, keen to take a look at a farming business thriving in a moorland area. Way back in 2003 we received a grant in order to improve the butchery and bakery facilities at Grange Farm, and without this help we’d have undoubtedly not been able to grow in quite the same way. We spoke about matters that concern us both, from labelling meat to ensure full traceability to beef exports to Russia. You can read their report on us here.
As the proverbial storm of Christmas approaches, we can’t help getting a little excited and have started to prepare our sweet mincemeat (already? we hear you say). Our mincemeat elves Sue and Sandra, have been busy for a few days in the kitchen making copious amounts of this boozy concoction (hic). Les, our head baker, will then use this to fill the pastry casings a little nearer to Christmas, we can’t wait!
Before it’s time to tuck in to festive treats, we have remind ourselves there is still lots to do beforehand, with the end of daylight saving hours this means approaching dark nights and fewer daylight hours to get jobs done on the farm so it’s all hands on deck. We just hope that the weather will hold off and that we manage to get by without it being too cold, soggy, or even worse, snowed in.