Broom House Farm Newsletter
Hello Everyone and a very
Happy New Year to you all!
The festive season is over and again we have so far escaped any quantity of the dreaded snow over the busy Christmas period, life on the farm and in the shop is much easier to organise without that white stuff, although like you I'm sure, we are all sick of rain and mud. Let's hope for a Happy, Healthy and VERY dry and sunny 2016 here on the farm and wherever you are reading our news - whether you're in Durham, Dunedin or Dresden! It's been lovely to see so many of you up here this year - perhaps you use the Coffee Shop, The Farm Shop or Forest Adventure, or maybe you've just been to collect a turkey. Please keep coming and tell your friends - a Farm Shop is not just for Christmas!
This month sees the return of the annual marmalade making competition as well as Farmhouse Breakfast week (from 18th January) - we'll have lots of yummy breakfasty ideas for you to try in the Coffee Shop and buy in the Farm Shop- including our very own homemade black pudding - the new superfood! Following on from that prepare for a Burns night celebration with a McSweens haggis and our famous haggis and whisky sausages.
This miserable weather is due to continue but you'll always get a warm welcome up here.
Broom House Farming News
It is so wet and plodgy around the farm that the aim this week has been to get as much of the livestock off the land as possible. The lower fields next to the River Browney are flooded, this is not unusual, but even the fields up here on top of the hill are saturated and ditches have turned into raging rivers, great if you're a duck or a labrador, but not so much fun for the rest of us. Ex opencast land is never very good for out-wintering stock, this pasture has no strength to the sward structure, but luckily there is a plentiful supply of silage after last summer's bumper yields and the calves and young stock are munching contentedly in their winter accommodation.
Born in March/April and weaned in November, the calves will stay inside until the fields dry out and the weather is warm enough for the grass to grow. Whilst inside they are fed ad-lib (which means there is always food available to them) grass/clover/oat silage; this is chopped into small pieces and blown along the feed barrier at the front of their shed, using our big red feeder/bedder machine. The feed barriers stop the feed getting mixed with the muck. Notice how the barrier is slanted diagonally; this lets the calves stick their heads through for food without being able to walk out. Straw is blown into the cleaner, drier rear of the shed every morning using the same machine, with the pipe set at a different angle; the calves love it when the straw lands on their backs - it means playtime and also that breakfast is coming next. Heifers (girls) and steers (castrated boys) are kept in separate groups and are weighed at the start and end of the "housing" period in order to record which calves do the best...in June it will be decided which of the heifers will be joining the herd, these will then run with the bull, calving when they are 2 years old. This year the calf weights ranged from 200kg-380kg in November, quite an increase from their birth weights of around 45kg. Martin weighed the calves at birth for the first time, it has been really interesting to compare these weights. Most calves have grown about 1kg a day, with the very best calves putting on an average of 1.5kg a day.
Having farmed organically for 10 years now, the soil fertility and grassland productivity has gradually increased and more livestock is now required to keep on top of the pasture during the summer months - the downside of this is the need for more indoor space in the winter.
In December work started on extensions to the steel framed barns; calculating the angles for the slope of the roof seemed like a major trigonometrical task, especially when we attempted to use one of the children's scientific calculators. Luckily a calculation tool was found online - and amazingly it got the same answer as our long handed geometry and logarithms! The steel was ordered and soon arrived and then there was doom and gloom as it looked as though the angles were wrong - but this turned out to be an optical illusion!
The early lambers are in their barns, they were scanned just before Christmas - plenty of twins again, so that was good news. The remaining ewes are now being housed in the polytunnels and sheds around the farm, so that they are off the soggy pastures and on hand ready for scanning and shearing. Ideally the ewes need to be reasonably dry before we bring them inside. As usual we are hoping for an improvement in the scanning figures this year.
The pig and hen enterprises are very much smaller than those of the cattle and sheep, but they add interest - and visitors love to stand and watch the piglets playing and the hens pecking....not to mention Eddie and his duck friends. It's always fun to see what colours the piglets turn out to be. Just enough pigs and hens (25 sows and 200 hens) are kept to supply the shop with pork and eggs, they are certainly the smelliest enterprises on the farm, but then again, all that lovely muck certainly comes in handy!
Broom House Butchery News
January is just the time of year for getting out the recipe books and making something warming and creative with the cheaper cuts of meat. This is just as well as we always have an imbalance of mince and casseroling cuts after the excesses of Christmas and the Festive season. There's so much you can do with mince - make the family happy with dumplings or a bowl of chilli, a plate of lasagne or a shepherd's pie.
January's offer in the Farm Shop for Aberdeen Angus diced stewing steak and beef mince is well worth calling up for
- buy 2kg of either product and get 500g extra FREE!
In addition to our minced and diced beef you'll find a great selection of unusual cuts ranging from blade steak and skirt steak to shin and short ribs, all of which can be used to make delicious casseroles and braises - one of our favourites is
Mary Berry's Beef & Horseradish Casserole
or try the Hairy Bikers' recipe for
low fat minced beef pie
January is also a quieter time of year, ideal for making plans to catch up with friends over some delicious food and a glass of wine. It's all too easy to arrange to meet out at a restaurant, but so often even the simplest home-cooked casserole or slow cooked roast will be much tastier - and cheaper! So don't delay, make it your resolution to invite some friends around today.
To help with this we have a special offer in the Farm Shop -
buy 4 x 500g packs of fresh beef steak mince or fresh diced beef stewing steak and get a 5th pack of the same completely FREE!
We've also got another exclusive offer for newsletter readers - please find a voucher at the bottom of this newsletter.
Click here to read about our great value meat boxes, perfect to fill up the freezer with ready for winter weather.
BROOM HOUSE WINTER WARMER PACK Our Price: £40.00 Saving over £4.00
(5kg of our delicious Aberdeen Angus Beef for hearty winter meals)
2kg beef steak mince
1kg diced beef
1kg shin beef
1kg casserole steak
It's Farmer's Market in Durham on Thursday 21st January and in Sedgefield on Sunday 7th February. We'll be at the Saturday market in Durham every week... except when the market is cancelled. Please let us know if you'd like any orders bringing down or delivering to your door 0191 371 8839.
Broom House lamb is still selling well, looking and tasting amazing, try cooking a rack of lamb or a delicious slow cooked shoulder or leg this weekend.
Make the most of our great offer of £8.50/kg for half a lamb.
If you'd like to try something different, go for a cushion or rack of lamb, or ask for one of our aromatic apricot stuffed saddles.
Sundays are for roasts - try a piece of rolled topside, such a lovely soft meat.
Also in the Farm Shop this month's offer on diced Aberdeen Angus steak is not to be missed - buy 2kg and get 500g FREE! If you fancy trying something different why not try a McSween's Haggis - due in next week. If that's not enough - look out for the voucher at the foot of this newsletter!
Broom House Farm Coffee Shop News
Please note our winter opening hours 9.30am-4.30pm. The Coffee Shop is open
every day with the welcoming fire blazing at the entrance.
As well as our range of coffees t
here are all sorts of snacks on the specials board, with soups and vegetarian options alongside our best selling English Breakfasts and breakfast specials
This month sees us showcasing our local supplier Spicy Monkey sauces (available to purchase in the Farm Shop), there will be a nice spicy dish on our specials' board everyday.
Meet your friends for Weekday Lunch! Book ahead, tell us about your group and we can arrange healthy options or "granny portions" to suit you and your friends
(£19.90 for 2) is served in the Coffee Shop (please book a day or two in advance). We now have a drinks licence and so please do let us know if you'd like to celebrate with a glass of fizz.
The Sunday Roast is very popular so do ring the coffee shop 0191 371 8382 to book if you would like to be sure of enjoying our delicious roast Aberdeen Angus Beef, Saddleback pork or lamb - and do let us know if you would like a vegetarian lunch.
We do update our Broom House Farm Facebook Page with details of special events so keep an eye out for news!
Term time Monday mornings are kick started by our Little Farmer's Club at 10.00am sharp, great fun for you and your preschool sons and daughters and free of charge (as long as you stay for brunch afterwards!) - wrap up warmly.
The monthly Knitting Wednesday afternoons are held on the first Wednesday every month, all levels of knitter are welcome to come along from 1.30pm, these sessions are chatty, crafty and much cake is enjoyed!
WATERCOLOUR WORKSHOPS WITH JENNY ULYATT
Jenny will be continuing her successful watercolour painting workshops, please do
drop Jenny a line
if you'd like to join in. T
hese workshops run from
10am until 1pm and cost £25 including lunch.
Each workshop has a different theme and explores some of the techniques that Jenny uses in her painting. No experience is necessary - beginners and more experienced welcome. All artist quality materials are provided. The next workshops are:
Thursday 21st Jan
Friday 22 Jan
Thursday 25th Feb
Friday 26 Feb
Thursday 17th March
Friday 18th March
SRINGTIME CRAFTS with Abundant Earth
6th January - F
rame basket making workshop.
This is a traditional oval shaped basket with a curved base and a handle.
20th February - Learn how to transform freshly cut
branch wood into beautiful and practical spoons for everyday use
Workshops run from 10am until 4pm, the cost is £50.
This includes all materials and a delicious lunch in the cafe as well as drinks and biscuits throughout the day.
There will be further basket making workshops coming up along with living willow, garden structures, green wood working and wool workshops. here's a full list of workshops
Thank you for reading our newsletter. Please let us have your Broom House Farm news and stories, thank you to those of you who give us feedback by email and on our Facebook pages. We're looking forward to seeing you all up at the farm or down in Durham Market Place again soon.
With best wishes,
Mark, Jane and
The Broom House Farm Team
Upgrade your latte!
Show us this voucher and we'll add a free Monin syrup to your latte in our Coffee Shop when you're also buying any cake or food item. Choose from a wide range of flavours including hazelnut, caramel and gingerbread. Try something different today!
offer expires:6th February 2016
Aberdeen Angus Beef Sausages!
Spend £10 in the Farm Shop and we'll give you a totally free packet of beef sausages from our freezer with this voucher. Choose between plain beef, hot chilli beef, tomato and mushroom beef and beef with caramelised onion and cracked black pepper. Try something different today!
offer expires: 6th February 2016
Broom House Farm Events
Mondays 10am term time -
Little Farmers' Club
Saturdays 9am -1.30pm Visit our stall in Durham Market Place
Saturday 16th January Basket making workshop
Thursday 21st January Durham Farmers' Market
31st January - Marmalade competition entry deadline
Sunday 7th February Sedgefield Farmers Market
Find our more details by checking the
Broom House Farm Website
BROOM HOUSE FARM'S
product of the month
the new superfood!
Whilst we know the popularity of our delicious farm-baked black pudding, made to Head Butcher Michael's secret recipe, black pudding has now been listed as one of the foods expected to soar in popularity in 2016 because of its nutritional benefits.
Loaded with protein, potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as being practically carb free, it is
also rich in iron and zinc - two minerals frequently missing from modern diets. Iron is needed to make healthy blood cells and prevent anaemia.
BROOM HOUSE FARM
Broom House Farm Vouchers make great presents and are available in any denominations. If you'd like to be sent some vouchers please just email us and we can pop them in the post for you.
Hot Chilli Beef
This month's recipe had to be based on mince, but you can't beat a good chilli! This one is based on a Hairy Bikers's recipe
500g beef mince
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers sliced
2 sticks celery chopped
1 dried chilli
½ tbsp chilli powder to taste
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp light brown sugar
800g canned chopped tomatoes
500ml beef stock
400g can kidney beans,rinsed
400g can black-eyed beans, rinsed
freshly ground black pepper
75g good plain chocolate, chopped
half a bunch fresh coriander
ry the diced beef in a non stick pan until browned all over,
add the beef mince, frying until browned all over. Remove the mince from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside with the beef steak.
Add the white onion, red onion, pepper and celery and soften for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the chilli, chilli powder and oregano until well combined. Cook for a further two minutes.
Return the diced and minced beef to the pan, then stir in the sugar, chopped tomatoes, beef stock, kidney beans and black-eyed peas. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Cover and continue to simmer over a low heat for 2-3 hours.
Just before serving, season the chilli. Stir in the chocolate until melted, then the chopped coriander.
Serve the chilli with a bowl of steamed rice and top each serving with a dollop of soured cream. Garnish with sliced spring onions.
January wouldn't be January without our annual marmalade competition. Entries in by 31st January please.
£1 per entry (to Cancer Research). This year we would like you to use just oranges, lemons, water and sugar, with 1 extra or secret ingredient allowed.
Prize is a tremendous full English breakfast with coffee/tea, toast and of course marmalade!
You won't win if you don't enter!
Sheepy shorts to add some cheer to January...
Also during the recent Wool Week a series of
four feel-good short films celebrating the
unique and natural qualities of wool were
specially made and can still
be viewed on You Tube. Search for
'No sweat', 'Sheep of the year', 'Girl at the
baaa' and 'Braaad Pitt' to watch these
shorts highlighting the benefit of wool in a