WTM Newsletter No 60 ........ready for the BBQ season.
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Next fresh beef : Thursday 5th May

Orders in by 6pm on Monday 2nd May please.

It is an Angus cross beast which was born and reared at Garr House Farm, grass fed and will have hung for 21 days.

Orders taken for individual joints or a mini beef box.

Mini Beef Box -  made to your requirements but usually contains 2 joints ( from a choice of Topside, Silverside, rolled rib, brisket, rib on the bone ), 2 steaks ( from a choice of fillet, T-bone, minute, rib eye or rump ), 2 x mince ( normal or 'best' which is minced Silverside , 2 x casserole packs ( shin, stewing, braising or skirt ) with an option on sausages and burgers. Basically spend over £50 on individually priced beef items and get 10% off.

Beef sausages are packed in 4's, burgers are 4oz packed in 2's. Gluten free available if ordered.

Choice of flavours : plain, onion and black pepper. sweet chili, horseradish.

We also supply pigs for a hog roast or lambs / mutton for a spit roast and can recommend chefs to cook these for your special occasion.

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A brief introduction to Garr House Farm and Wigborough Traditional Meats

We are a family run farm having moved here in 1971 when Kate's parents bought the farm having sold their starter farm of 5 acres for building development in Wivenhoe. All the land is down to permanent pasture and we breed our own sheep, cattle and pigs for retail through Wigborough Traditional Meats ( WTM ) and local butchers.  Bobby, Kate's mother aged 86 still works on the farm feeding the farrowing houses twice a day. Phil 1 ( married to Kate ) is the main brains and labour around the farm with Kate involved on the farm and with WTM. We have three children  Rosie, Harry and Toby who have been known to help on the farm and in the shop. Son in law David runs Abbott's Autocare, hence the van often to be found parked at the farm gate. Phone him on 077 888 58481 for any car repair or MOT needs.

Regular staff members include our stockman Bob who also grows the veg which will be available through the shop when in season. Sarah who does the Thursday delivery round as well as being an excellent dressmaker and does garment alterations ( 01206 331313 ) plus Jinny who often is found on shop duty and is newsletter proof reader. Since January we have had a second full time member of the farm staff; Phil 2 who has greatly eased the load on the over 50's.



BBQ BOXES -  available now until the end of summer.
£25 worth of mixed grill meats for £20.
Boxes include 8 burgers, 16 sausages in a variety of flavours. After that the selection could include ribs, steaks, chops or pork belly strips. Frozen boxes will have greater variety and are available from stock, fresh boxes need to be ordered and are available from Thursdays ready for the w/e.
We have a good stock of organically cured, washable, lambskins.
All are a large size with the white ones priced at £37,  rare breed at £47 and Jacob skins at £50. They make wonderful presents for any age - perfect for a new baby or someone getting on in years.

The photo is of a double skin ordered by a customer. The skins are expertly stitched together either side by side as shown or end to end at no extra cost.

There will be another delivery hopefully by the end of May if anyone would like to order a specific colour or a double.



Shop opening times :

Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 5:00pm
On Thursdays from 11am when we are labelling up the fresh meat and processing orders for FREE DELIVERY in our refrigerated van.
It does not have to be a large order; some customers just have half a dozen eggs - if we are passing, we are happy to drop an order off.



Most Fridays and Saturdays there is a chance for you to collect your own eggs - they will have been laid that morning, you can't get fresher than that. If you would like to come on another day please let us know before 10am when the regular collection happens. As the ground gets muddy it is best to turn up wearing wellies or similar.


Bob's garden .
Bob has been busy preparing the soil and planting out a few things - the sweet peas are established and so are some lettuce which hopefully will thrive if the pigeons can be deterred.
RHUBARB will be ready from this weekend. please say if you would like any and it will be picked to order.

OK, this one isn't farm or shop news but something I came across before letting the hens out one morning and have never witnessed before. The mating of earthworms and their segment alignment shouldbring back memories of biology lessons to anyone who attended a girl's grammar school in the 1970's. Such wasthe extent of our sex education. Things have moved on a bit !
April has been its usual blur of sleep deprivation due to the arrival of lambs and calves. This year we also threw a week of farm tours into the mix instead of the usual Good Friday open farm day. We aim to start the ruminant birthing season on March 25th with the intention that Spring will have sprung by the time the lambs and calves are ready to go outside. A big fail on the weather front this year as the ewes and lambs were only turned out 10 days ago. The suckler beef herd are still indoors requiring continual bedding down and a regular supply of forage from the diminishing reserves.

We still have three cows left to calve, presumably in calf. The chap who usually does the pregnancy testing excelled himself in his usual lateness by not appearing at all this year. It would have been interesting to see if he had spotted the two sets of twin calves. It is the first time we have had twins. Statistically 1 in 100 live births produce twins so we were overdue having had the herd since 2007. It was pleasing to see a successful natural birth for the cow who had a cesarian section last year.

The calves are getting very cocky with being indoors and exploring where they really shouldn't be - on top of the forage feeder. Lets hope the ground dries out soon so they can be turned outside.

The sheep flock have so far had a good year currently rearing 112 from 65 ewes put to the tup. One ewe we had intended to cull due to mastitis has managed a temporary reprieve as she produced twins who appear to be thriving whilst sharing her good side. Lambs aren't usually very good at sharing.
If you go to the Wigborough Traditional Meats Facebook Page there is a video of the lambs running indoors. The ewes are hanging around the trough waiting to be fed, hence the bleating but this gives the lambs more play space.

It is great to see them outside now and to enjoy the good patch before the effects of the lush grass on their digestive systems encourages fly strike in the warmer weather and the worm burden increases. Oh, the joys of sheep keeping.

Spring jobs on the grassland mainly involve fertiliser spreading, rolling and fencing. There are rules governing when you can cut a hedge with a tractor driven machine with the intention of protecting nesting birds. ( I shan't get onto whether they are EU rules, UK rules or UK gold plated EU rules else we shall be onto the BREXIT topic; suffice to say votes in our household will currently cancel each other out ).  Last year the cutting window of opportunity was reduced from between August 1st and March 1st to September 1st and March 1st. This in effect means hedge cutting contractors are flat out on arable land from September until it gets too wet, by which time it is also likely to be too wet to go on grassland without making ruts. The result is a lot of hand strimming and the use of a pole saw to trim back growth which would otherwise stop the electric fencing from working efficiently and a husband coming in for lunch complaining he has 'just walked miles' . Hopefully all is set for when the cattle are turned out as the first thing they do is lollop round the boundaries checking their limits.

A job still on the waiting list is the carting of the muck which the pigs, sheep and cattle have been diligently producing over the winter. All our animals are housed on straw based systems so vast quantities are produced. We have a muck for straw swap arrangement with a local arable farmer but he cannot take the muck if the ground is too wet. A plus side to spreading the farm tours out over a week rather than concentrating on one day as the muck pad doubles up as the car park and in a wet year is not available.

Phil has continued constructing things in the workshop in the evenings. On the right is a fence post holder, currently upside down as it was being painted. Apparently it is really annoying to purchase a bundle of posts which come neatly strapped up then in order to extract a post, the straps need cutting and the posts collapse everywhere; not now. The posts will be neatly contained and stored in their designated box until picked up on the forks attached to the telescopic loader and taken wherever needed. If only such enthusiasm for tidiness could have been utilised round the home in the last 30 years .............. Infront is the pole saw in transport / carry position. On the left is part of the implement which will have spikes attached to move bales. The holes were cut by a specialist machine at a local steel fabricators.

Another new toy appearing in the workshop recently under the premise that Abbot's Autocare will also find it useful, is a plasma cutter. I was called over to 'come and see my holes'. Having recently purchased a mini digger I was preparing to admire some sort of recently dug heffalump trap but no,

two almost perfect circles had been cut into what will be the part which fits the spike attachment onto the telescopic loader.
The finished article.
If only such enthusiasm could have been directed towards home improvements over the last 30 years........

 Please visit our web site              www.garrhousefarm.co.uk
Or contact us on 01206 735 694  or 07790 095 052

Kate Gladwin        Garr House Farm, Layer Road, Gt. Wigborough, Colchester Essex CO5 7RR

This email was sent to kate.gladwin@btinternet.com
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Wigborough Traditional Meats · Garr House Farm · Gt.Wigborough · Colchester, Essex CO5 7RR · United Kingdom

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