Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pedal Power Inspires Us All!

Last night we were lucky enough to entertain 3 remarkable young people who are cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for their chosen charities. Not only are they slightly crazy, they are also very cheerful and determined! Follow this link to read more about them and maybe even donate to keep them inspired to pedal faster!

All three riders are part of Organic Futures which was established by the Soil Association to promote and support young people entering into farming.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, Ben and volunteers sometimes pop out from the butchery to say hello whilst preparing not only for the Nantwich Show (Fri, Sat and Sun) and the Uttoxeter Farmers Market this weekend, but also for all the online shop orders that have been placed since the new serivce was launched. Follow this link for more information and to find out about the great special deals available.

Reminder: Although the Big Draw has been cancelled on Oct 14th, the farm shop is still active (Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 11-4) but unfortunately the Nature Trail is currently closed. We are very sorry for the inconvenience but we are also heartened by the huge amount of support you have all offered us. Thank you x

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Year of Food and Farming and Big Draw

What an exciting weekend! Fordhall were invited to take part in the launch of the Year of Food and Farming in Shrewsbury Square, organised by the Shropshire Rural Hub. There was liots of demonstrations going on, including sausage making and wheat grinding. The Fordhall team was cooking and selling meat and hosting an art and craft stall for young people to join in with. The theme was 'What would you miss if there were no farms?' which sparked off many intereting conversations throughout the day.
A huge thanks must go out to all the volunteers who not only helped on the day, but made some of the lovely materials we had to work with. Hidden in the photo on the right not only Alec, but also a tree which young people decorated with things they loved about nature - butterflies were the most popular with the girls!
Another thanks, needs to go to the sustainability department at Shropshire County Council who not only organised lots of art materials for us to use, but also generously donated them to the farm after the event, including paint and glitter!
We look forward to working with them again in the future.
And now, for the sadder news - the Big Draw and Farmers Market on Oct 14th has been CANCELLED due to the continual risk of Foot and Mouth. It was a difficult decision to make, especially following a rollercoaster summer of cancelled events, but we feel the risk is too great. We are very sorry for any confusion. The Nature Trail remains closed until further notice but the Farm Shop is still buzzing Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun 11-4 if you are passing.
Please think of all your local farmers and related industries in these difficult times.
From all at Fordhall x

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Spaceship Lands at Fordhall

Excitment at Fordhall Farm!

Ben's new pig feed store arrived as if a spaceship had landed.

This new peice of farm equpiment will help Ben save money by storing his GM-free vegetarian pig feed in large quanities.

Where has Ben gone?!

As he is launching is online shop, Ben is sending email updates to anyone who would like information about special offers from Fordhall Farm. If you would like more information, please email Ben on

Everything else is ticking along well. Jenny is busy keeping uptodate with the Friend renewals that are being returned and volunteers have been efficient at posting out letters to shareholders - the last of which went out today. Excellent work folks.

And to top it all - its been a beautiful day of sunshine and only very very short showers!!

Watch this space for news on future events and adventures of the Fordhall Team.

Keep warm and dry x

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chester Literature Festival Book Signing

Come and visit Charlotte and Ben at Chester's Literature Festival and buy your own signed copy of their popular new book 'The Fight For Fordhall Farm'.

"I can't read your book without choking up, I'm so moved by it all and am proud to be involved in a small way. You're truly an inspiration." R. Lewis (shareholder)

The event is taking place on Wednesday 3rd October at 7.30 pm. It will be held in Chester Guildhall, Watergate Street, Chester CH1 2LA.

Tickets are £6.50 (£5.50 concessions) and are available from the Chester Festivals Box Office 01244 304 618. For further information, please visit or telephone 01244 674020.

Both Charlotte and Ben are looking forward to having the opportunity to meet shareholders and supporters in the area and hope to see you there!

ps - shareholders continue to fight for the cause all over the country by requesting libraries to stock a copy of the book. Excellent news! Why don't you try it? Every bit helps x

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ludlow Food Festival - A Big Success

Well, all the preperations for Ludlow Food Festival paid dividends as Ben and team (courier Dave, Sophie, Yvonne, Charlotte, Oli, Maz and Denise) all trundelled to south Shropshire over the weekend.

Ben and 'Courier' Dave (there are too many Dave's at Fordhall for them all to be just called Dave!) had spent most of the week preparing the 12 lambs, 10 pigs and 1 cow, or was it 12 pigs and 10 lambs? I'm not sure, but it certainly wasn't 10 cows - although I am sure it seemed like it at the time.... Harriet and Rosie both came to volunteer as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award and spent days helping to make the 1000 burgers that were sold to many hungry visitors on the Fordhall catering stand.

New banners were purchased, as was a new gazebo, to help brighten the stall and get attention from passers by. But nothing could prepare us for the tiring and non-stop trade that the festival brought.

Burgers were sold by Ben and 'Courier' Dave from 8am beginning with the traders breakfast, Maz spent the day chopping onions, Oli and Sophie raffled half a lamb to passers by and Denise, Yvonne and me (Charlotte) sold fresh Angus beef, lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork to everyone else!

Our book 'The Fight for Fordhall Farm' was also for sale and all were given a welcome boost after I spoke to approximately 100 people in the Castle Garden marquee about the Fordhall story.

All in all, it was a successfull festival.

After calculating takings and deducting the costs of the show, we made a modest profit. However, if we had paid everyone who helped out, that profit would have all been eaten away.... Farming is not an easy business!

But Luckily, even after leaving at 5.30am friday morning and returning at 9pm on sunday evening, we enjoy it much more than the pay :-)

A big thanks must go to Beth for organising such a fantastic event and to all our customers who came over to say hello or buy a joint of meat. We hope you enjoy your dinner, its you guys that keep us in business.

Warmest from all at Fordhall ..... Online Shop - Christmas is next....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Preparations for Ludlow Food festival begin

The end of the week brings the biggest food event of the year for the Shropshire Farmer - its the famous Ludlow Food Festival held at Ludlow Castle from the 7th-9th September and Fordhall will be there in style.
Ben has booked two large stalls for the Fordhall team to sell their wares. There will be hotdogs, burgers, fresh meat and signed copies of the Fordhall book, written by Charlotte and Ben Hollins themselves.

But, to enable all this to happen there is some serious preperation work going on this week, in Bens new butchery.

10 pigs, 12 lambs and 1 cow went to market and Ben and helpers are busy now getting the produce ready for the weekends show. I went in to take some photos last night (at 10pm) and Ben said "We've got a food festival to get ready for you know", Couriers Dave reply was "I don't smile!".
So carry on they did, and they are in there again all day today. Why not go and say hello at Ludlow this weekend, I am sure the team will be happy to see you.
If your there around 3pm on Saturday, then Charlotte will be doing a talk called 'Muck, Magic and Madness' all about the story of Fordhall in the castle grounds - something not to be missed...