Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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Rural Care Market Stall

The NHC students have been busy refurbishing the market stall at Rural Care.  NHC students prepared the stall for painting by giving it a big scrub to get all the dirt off.  We gave it fresh new paint all over.

We went on a treasure hunt around the farm for interesting things to decorate it with.  We are busy making signs, potting up plants and painting pebbles to sell.  With lots more exciting things to come!

So, next time you’re at Church Farm, don’t forget to visit our lovely market stall next to Home Field and pick up some treats!

NHC student, Kelly

 

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Interns at Church Farm

Did you know that Church farm provides intern placements for people from all around the world? For instance,  if you go to the farm shop you may notice a funny accent from our cashiers it may be because they come from France and Spain. To know a bit more about them, let us introduce you to Shirley.  She comes from La France, born in Normandy and studying in Burgundy. She has a Bachelors Degree in German and French literature, and is currently in a Masters Degree of International Business and Trade applied to the Food Industry, in Dijon (city of the best mustard in the whole world).

Our other lovely cashier is Irene. She comes from the South of Spain, and surprisingly, she claims that she loves the British weather. Also, she has lived in Germany for four years and finished her Bachelors degree in International Business Management. She is at Church Farm as a gap half-year before returning to Germany. She is in love with the cinema and reading. Coming from a big city, she appreciates the green Church Farm area where she can go for long walks and meditate.

Shirley and Irene

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Shirley, Charlie (UK), Irene,
Martine (The Netherlands)

 


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From the Farmer

  • We are way behind in planting this year and the ground is a real challenge, having baked hard on top, it is wet underneath still.
  • Cows finally went out on 18th April a month later than last year. So far we have 9 male calves and 1 female born. Thirty to come !
  • Cattle can be viewed from the footpaths around the farm and rotate across 4 fields moving about every 3 weeks.
  • Pig pens to move to new ground as soon as we can. Then we plant mustard, then plough that in and grow vegetables, as it acts as green manure and stops nitrogen leaching out of the soil.
  • 25 white leghorn (white birds, white eggs), 25 Cuckoo Marans (Speckeldy very dark brown eggs), and 25 Light Sussex (White bird, brown eggs) have joined the flock in the Walnut Orchard.

 —Tim

 


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New Chef, New Menus

Have you had a meal in the pub recently?  At the end of April I sat down with Aaron Clarke, the new executive chef for Church Farm, including the Jolly Waggoner, Café and Shop.  He was born and raised in Milton Keynes and came to us not long ago, and has brought along a team he has worked with for the past couple years.  He is producing menus for the pub and café, and producing food for the shop.

chef Aaron

His training has been on-the-job, including time with Michelin star chef Clive Dixon in Cookham at the White Oak and at the “best pub in England,” the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, and also told me that his brother, Shane, has been a huge influence on his career in catering. Aaron held a Rosette at the Deddington Arms in Oxfordshire.  He has been a chef for 10 years and has produced menus for seven years and comes to us with experience, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic.

Aaron is confident that you will notice improvements at the Jolly Waggoner in the coming months, and would love to speak with you when you are in the pub.  His focus is the customer’s experience, and he wants you to have a good one.  He is committed to growth and improvement.

He wants everyone to know that the pub menu features produce from the farm and is the best it can be.  The quality of the ingredients in all our kitchens is assured, because we can see it all growing and grazing.  You will find a varied menu at the pub, with vegetarian and gluten free choices. He tells me there will be a new menu in the café soon, as well.

Perhaps I can tempt you with a sampling of items from the current pub menu:

Nibbles:  Lamb Scrumpets and Crispy Pork Bites

Starters:  Gin Cured Salmon and Cauliflower and Worcestershire Fritters

Traditional Classics:  Fish and Chips, and Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Mains:  Beetroot Rissoto, and Church Farm Loin of Lamb

Gin cured salmon

Gin Cured Salmon

 

Aimee

 


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Lambing 2018

There has been lots of activity down in the lambing sheds this year with 106 lambs being born! We officially finished the season on Saturday 21st of April with a lovely set of Suffolk triplets. It is always bittersweet when lambing finishes as there is no longer the anticipation, surprise and excitement of new arrivals each morning. But there is also relief as the long nights waiting and worrying about ewes in labour and newborn lamb troubles are over for another year.

Our public lamb bottle feeding activity has been as popular as ever again! Our Co-Farmers have really enjoyed feeding the lambs that were not fed during the public sessions, with many taking responsibility to make up the milk and making sure the bottles were cleaned after every use.

As we are a working farm it is never a good idea to have favourite animals but it is very difficult sometimes! A huge staff favourite this year is Swede. He was the first lamb to be born on our site this year and also the first Church Farm lamb who needed to be bottle fed! Swede’s mum was a first time mum, who can often have difficulties delivering and bonding with their lambs. She had delivered the lamb all by herself but another pregnant ewe came over and started cleaning him up. This caused Swede’s mum to become very confused and reject him! We tried all the tricks like rubbing Swede with straw, rubbing the afterbirth and fluids back on him but Mum still didn’t want to know. She ended up becoming aggressive towards Swede and the decision was made for us to remove him. He is now 7 weeks old and is the leader of all the bottle fed lambs! As you can see by the pictures he is growing into a big lad!

lamb photos for may

We now have the mammoth task of looking after 106 rapidly growing and ever exploring lambs! It is a good job we have the help of the Co-Farmers to assist us with this! At times it is very hard work and often stressful but when the sun is shining and 106 lambs are running and jumping around the field we look around and think—it wasn’t that bad, roll on next year!

Kelly

 


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He Did It!

Yes, he did it, and we are all very proud.  Tony Hopkins completed the hottest London Marathon on record with a respectable time and collected over £3000 for Rural Care.  Both achievements are very impressive.  Thank you, Tony!

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In Tony’s Words

I ran my fourth London Marathon on the 22 April, although the last one was 5 years ago!! I have been training throughout the winter and three weeks ago we even had snow, and yet it was predicted to be a hot one. As the big weekend approached, it look at if it was cooling down for the Marathon. However, in the morning the sun was out, with not a sign of any clouds, and it reached 24.2° C—the hottest London Marathon on record.

We were warned not to try beat any PB (personal best times) and take plenty of water.  There was extra showers put around the course and we were told to revaluate our race.

The race was started by the Queen and soon we were on our way.  Immediately there were people looking hot and complaining about the weather.  The sun brought the crowds out and I had the most amazing time being cheered on by the thousands of people lining the streets from mile one to the end.

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I was feeling strong and took the advice of water and didn’t even look at my time, however I was surprised I completed half by 2 hours 11 minutes. By the 18th mile there seemed to be people falling all over the place.  I witnessed 4 people lying on the ground with medical staff around them with oxygen which is scary to see, and then people being sick and people stopping as you were trying to run. This immediately had a negative effect on my mind set and although I was trying to stop those thoughts, I found myself starting to walk at this point. The crowds were fantastic and I managed to see many of my family and friends around the course which got me over the finishing line in under 5 hours.  Although I was, admittedly, a little disappointed with the time, I was proud of myself completing it and reflected on the money I had raised for Rural Care and how I felt so much in a better in myself physically and mentally.

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