|Spring on our farm
Well it really has been a good summer with the weather being excellent for sunbathing and harvesting our winter cereal crops. The winter barley has come off quite dry at 16% moisture which is good. Often the corn has to be harvested at 19% which then means we have to dry the grain using gas for fuel which can be expensive. The yields are reasonable so far ranging from 2 ton to the acre in my worst field and up to 3 tons in the best. We bale and carry the straw (cereal stems) which we store in our farmyard and use as winter bedding for the cattle.
This summer is the 100th commemoration of the start of the First World War. Although I personally was not around at the time I have heard many tales from my family as to how farming was managed in those difficult times. A huge number of farm horses, shires and others were requisitioned and sent off to be used pulling artillery and supplies. I can only imagine the deprivation that these animals suffered in the battle fields; such a contrast from the idyllic but hard life on a working farm ploughing and pulling carts. These horses were loved and cared for by the farmers and their role as the primary muscle on the farm was massive. The bond between the horseman and horse would have been immense as these animals were working with their owner most days of the week over a period of 20 years or more. The tale I can remember hearing most was that they came and took away the horses and it was always the best horse that had to go and they didn't come back!
It is interesting to note a few production facts that illustrate how British farming has changed with less acres available but more produced:
SELF SUFFICIENCY figures - source: National Farmers Union.
....... 1914 2013
Wheat. 19% 83%
Beef. 68% 83%
Sugar Beet. 0% 60%
Mutton & Lamb. 60% 100%
Eggs. 50% 87%
These figures are impressive enough but due to production increases the totals produced now are hugely increased, for example:
Production figures - source: National Farmers Union.
....... 1914 2013
Milk. 4 million litres 13.5
Potatoes. 2.8 million tonnes 5.7
Wheat. 1.7 million tonnes 11.9
Eggs. 55,000 tonnes 1.7 million tonnes
The arrival of the hot summer days is the time to get out and have yourself a picnic. I know it can be a struggle to get it all packed up so why not come to Lobbs Farm Shop and get your delicatessen delights, pies and quiches, salads, cheese, crisps, fruit and a drink. If you would like to take a photograph of your picnic spread with the view in the background of your special spot then please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may include it in next year's calendar. We received several last year but we would like to include more photographs taken by you, our customers, of our local area. It could be a photograph of the seaside from St Mawes or Fowey, it could be a country scene or event such as a barbecue or party, fete or just an image taken on your favourite walk. We give £50 to a charity of the photographer’s choice for every chosen photograph that we include in the calendar. It really is a great and fun way to raise money for your charity and may give other people pleasure when the calendar is seen next year. Those of you that have this year’s calendar will be able to see what wonderful pictures we have of our local countryside.
Blue blue and blue - we have a choice of blue cheeses at the moment.
Helford Blue is a soft, creamy full of flavour pasteurised cheese made on a farm near Helston.
Devon Blue is another cheese made on the farm in Devon next to the river Dart. It is moist and slightly crumbly.
Beenleigh Blue is a ewe’s milk cheese made on the same farm as Devon Blue.
Cropwell Bishop is a world famous stilton cheese of medium strength and quite crumbly.
Cornish Blue is a tremendous sweet and mild creamy cheese that won the 2010 Champion World Cheese Award.
We are often being asked what we have specifically suitable for vegetarians. In the freezer section we have a macaroni and leek cheese dish with a seasoning of nutmeg. There is also a frozen puy lentil and vegetable pie which I can confirm is very tasty. On the delicatessen we have the vegetable feta puffs which contain sliced courgettes, red onion and tomatoes flavoured with basil, garlic and a coating of poppy seeds - very delicious. We also have our popular and tasty homity pies available by the slice and occasionally we stock a spinach feta and sun dried tomato with garlic turnover. There are normally vegetarian quiches and the frittata which is also gluten free. I am a committed meat eater but I must say these vegetarian delights are very tasty and I recommend you to try them soon.
The butchers have been very busy this summer producing our own burgers and sausages which both have high meat content and do not contain any reconstituted meat, only real beef, pork or lamb. We have a choice of steaks on offer which are in my opinion some of the best in Cornwall. There is the chilly willy flavoured top rump steak. These are cheaper than the normal rump steaks as the meat comes from the very top of the rump which is then tenderised and marinated with a sweet chilly sauce. Our rump steaks are the ones I normally choose as I believe they are very good value with great eating characteristics; tender and tasty. The sirloin steaks are the classic steaks and are extremely popular whilst the fillet steaks are just great with the melt in the mouth tenderness of quality meat.
We have our minted lamb steaks - excellent quality with superb flavour and a fantastic aroma. In the counter there are also lamb chump steaks which are the lamb equivalent of a beef rump. Similarly there are pork chump steaks. The chump steaks are good value as they are both boneless steaks. Please do try our beef and lamb steaks as they are truly excellent, derived from animals cared for on our own farms with the meat being well hung in our own cold rooms and professionally prepared by our experienced butchery team.