Autumn Newsletter 2017

Dear Customers and Friends if Partridge Hill Farm,

Warm and happy Autumn greetings to everyone. The Ash leaves have fallen, the Hazel leaves are turning yellow and the Alder leaves to brown on the farm but gratifyingly the grass is still growing green!
This last quarter has been as busy as every other on the farm, there doesn’t appear to be quiet one for me, though OK, I have managed to fit in a few nights off for some annual holiday at Sidmouth Folk Festival week and Morris Dancing at the Beautiful Days music festival in August. But those aside things have been full steam ahead on and off the farm and I’m grateful again for the closing in of the nights sending me home a little earlier each day, though my head torch and portable flood light are both back on charge.
New fencing and paddock maintenance jobs have kept the bank manager from calling this quarter and am back battling with a backlog of hedging jobs again, as is the season, all helping to keep the investments on the farm on track.
I couldn’t be happier with how things have expanded over these last 3 months I’ve just begun to take advantage of more winter grazing offered to me on neighbouring farms. This has enabled me to more than comfortably double the size of my sheep flock with still plenty of room left over for more next year, dependant on my marketing success of course. Having so much more space reduces my need for supplementary feeding over winter and helps ensure a constantly healthy and happy flock.
I spoke about my new choice of sheep breed in my last newsletter; The Beulah and now they’ve arrived I couldn’t be more pleased with them, a semi hardy breed that will thrive on unfertilised grass and lamb unassisted outdoors, and yet unlike my Badger Face mountain sheep they are almost as large as a commercial breed and they flock together when being rounded up like lowland breeds rather than scattering in all different directions which folks I can tell you is going to make a significant difference to my life. The photo attached shows both breed together, the Beulahs have the black speckled faces.
To help my quest to always be looking for ways to offer my customers better deals from Partridge Hill Farm a neighbouring farmer has offered to lend me one of his larger Charolais ram this year to produce a larger lamb from both the Badger Face and Beulah flocks next year so I’ll be able to meet demand for either the richer tasting joints of the former or the greater size of the latter. Therefore this month the ewes are making the most of the autumn flush of growth in the grass to make sure they are in top condition before they meet him in November, while this years’ lambs who were weaned in August are growing on well while being rotated around the home fields of Partridge Hill where I can keep my best eye on their development, I’m hoping some may be ready for order just after Mid-Winter.
The turkeys are growing on faster than ever, I’ve been impressed by the weight gains of the Bronze and super white Roly Poly breeds and they all seem to be enjoying the free-range life style. I’ve already had orders for half the flock so order yours sooner rather than later for Christmas if you haven’t already! I’m always looking for ways to reduce my prices for my produce as long as it doesn’t compromise my farm’s standards on welfare I calculate the greater weight gain will enable me to reduce my price to £11.50/kg so get touch!
There’s no pork available this quarter as my new batch of Berkshires are still on order and I’m looking forward to welcoming them back to their well-rested woodland enclosures as soon as possible.
Finally, I do have some Badger Face mutton and mutton sausages for sale this quarter. The sausage sale I had over the summer was such a success I now have a waiting list for more and now is the time to fulfil those orders and there’s room for more. I’ll be sending around a sale note detailing the mutton sausage varieties; mint, spicy and gluten free, sold in packs of six big sausages costing £5 each with a minimum order of 3 packs. There will also be mutton roast joints available to for £9/kg with a minimum order of £25. Delivery is expected to be ready in the first week of November, so reply to this to be I the front of the queue!
I’m looking forward to the march into Mid-Winter with the Turkey sales to complete and more fences to put up and hedges to lay down, like every season I love it and will let you know how it goes.

All the best,
Ben