Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Bands!

Daisy Jaks

As it is only 3 days to go until our Beer & Music Festival, we thought we should acquaint you with the bands that are on the line up. Whether you’re into rock, blues, funk or folk, there’s something for everyone. If you haven’t yet, why not get tickets for the family? There’s still time to book, its only £10 in advance (£12 on the door) and under 14s go free!  Camping is also available for only £5 a pitch.
Heidi and the Brownies

The Daisy Jaks will be kick-starting the day with their folk/pop sound, a perfect way to get you in the festival mood. Next up, Pre Sleep Monologue will take to the stage and continue the vibe with their original acoustic rock, paving the way for Heidi and the Brownies and their quirky pop sound.

Tap the Keg
If blues is more your thing, then Blues Boy Dan might well be your cup of tea (or pint of beer)! Tap the Keg will get your toes tapping with some fantastic dancing tunes.   The Moonshine Runners (previously Beyond the Bangg) will keep the party going – I’ve been told they come complete with banjo player! Rob Jones & Ed Crowley, will play an acoustic set of solos and duets with some great classics as well as self-penned tunes. Then get ready to get your funk on when The Relix come on stage, warming the crowd up for our headliners The Del Ray Rockets who will bring the festival to a close with their lively rock ‘n’ roll and high octane rock-a-billy!

Blues Boy Dan
Be sure to check out the times for the line-up and also the real ale line-up on the website There will be local cider and local wine also available for non-beer fans, and soft drinks for the kids and tee-totallers. 

To book your tickets call 01630 638696

It’s going to be a fun-packed day, we can’t wait!

See you there,

Will Panter

Monday, August 20, 2012

Arthur Hollins back to open new Restaurant!

Ben Hollins, Chris Eldon Lee, Connie Hollins, Allan Price (as Arthur), Steve Glover, Charlotte Hollins cutting the bale twine!
Last Wednesday evening saw Fordhall Organic Farm in Market Drayton launch our brand new eatery; 20 years after Arthur Hollins shut the doors on the Fordhall Farmhouse restaurant, he returned to open the doors at ‘Arthur’s’ – the new evening restaurant at Fordhall Farm.

The sun shone down on guests as they arrived for the launch celebration, with the strum of an acoustic guitar in the background and the chiminea alight, they gathered in the Fordhall Farm courtyard awaiting the grand opening. 

Chris Eldon Lee, our chairman of the board of trustees of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI) welcomed the fifty VIPs to the event with a heart-warming speech, praising the Fordhall enterprise for how far we have come from the days of the campaign back in 2005, he said “It’s a momentous occasion for us all…”

“Arthur's restaurant embodies the whole philosophy of Fordhall Farm because we can now serve sustainably produced, locally grown, organic food in a sustainably produced building; just as Arthur Hollins envisaged. And all the profits will be fed back into our vital community and educational work"

Chris went on to introduce our special guest of the evening, Arthur Hollins, played by local actor, Allan Price.  Now that was a surreal moment!

Whilst ‘Arthur’ gave the opening speech and cut the baler twine to declare the restaurant open, our honoured guests and local dignitaries toasted with a shot of “yogtail”, one of the many inventions of the real Arthur Hollins back in the 1960’s. This is a curious mix of yoghurt and alcohol, which was quickly downed in one by our guests.

“They’re alcoholic and good for you; a rare combination.”

We believe we can claim Arthur’s to be Shropshire’s greenest eatery, with the distance the produce has travelled measured not in food-miles but food-yards.

Guests were treated to local Wroxeter sparkling wine, with a selection of canapés, giving them a chance to sample our restaurant’s menu including: pea and Shropshire Blue risotto, roast Fordhall sirloin steak with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream, lovage polenta cake with rocket pesto, and strawberry pavlova, just a few of the delights coming out of the kitchen run by our fantastic chef Barney Richardson. He creates ‘real’ food with elegance; sourcing all their main ingredients locally or organically - of course.

Bryan and Hannah enjoying the canape's
The evening was a great success. We were delighted that Allan agreed to play Arthur for the opening, he had him down to a tee, including the fluffy grey hair. It was particularly heartening that the name for the restaurant was not chosen by us but by our customers. And the icing on the cake was Barney’s exquisite selection of canapé’s, demonstrating the very best of seasonal local food.

An enormous thank you must go to everyone who made the evening a success.

One of the many accolades of the evening came from the Mayor of Market Drayton, Steve Glover. He said “I last came to Fordhall Farm five years ago with a young man undergoing work experience. I can remember their small offices squeezed into portacabins and the run down buildings. It is wonderful to see what has risen from the ashes five years later. It can only continue to get better and better.”

Our chef, Barney, with mother of Fordhall, Connie
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the evening, the food actually tastes! It takes me back to my time in Africa when everything you ate was fresh from the land around you. There is nothing better. These are the best canapé's I have ever eaten. I wish the team at Arthur’s Restaurant the best of luck, I am sure it will be a great success.”
Chris Eldon Lee wrapped up the night’s festivities “I especially love” he says “the fact that we can enjoy such fantastic food, knowing that all the profits are going back into the community – everyone wins.”

We would like to say thank you to everyone who attended and to all the wonderful Fordhall staff, especially Katie and Becca, who worked extremely hard to ensure the evening went smoothly.

Arthur’s Restaurant is open on Friday evenings from 7pm, booking is essential.
Call 01630 638696 to reserve your table. We can also cater for group functions or private parties - try us out :-)

PLUS Don't forget it our Beer and Music Festival in just over one weeks time - have you got your ticket yet??

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

William Panter: 8 Weeks at Fordhall [Part Two]

Hello again :)

Three weeks ago, I told you of how I’ve settled in to the office here at the Fordhall Community Land Initiative; three weeks later, I can confidently give you a rundown of what’s been going on around me recently.

First of all, our 3rd annual Music & Beer Festival is just around the corner, and we’ve been doing all sorts to spread the word. Posters, flyers and huge banners are now in place in the local area, and we’re feeling excited. What’s more, this Friday, Becca will be blogging the official band line-up. We hope to see you there, and remember: with our marquee, it’s a rain or shine event!

Beth’s Wildlife Activities on a Thursday have also been going down a treat! This Thursday (the 16th) will be Pond Dipping, and there will be activities going on until the end of the month, so you’ve still got chance to get the kids out and about and interested in the great outdoors this summer! We have lots of events going on; just visit to find out what’s happening.

So far, I feel I have picked up a lot of skills and improved existing ones. My communication skills have been enriched with consistent use of emails and using the phone. I’ve also had a chance to be creative, making various posters and flyers to different things. Another thing I have grown accustomed to is Fordhall’s house style, such as colours and designs used on promotional material.

I will blog again on my last week to let you all know about the experience as a whole. Until then, make the most of the summer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who ate all the pies?

Since October 2011, the boys down in the butchery and farm shop have been creating some mouth-wateringly delicious pies, pasties and sausage rolls.  They started off with a plain pork pie and soon started being a bit creative. They now bake a Pork and Stilton, Pork and Pickle, Ploughman’s, Chicken & Stuffing and a Turkey pie! My favourite is the Ploughman’s by far – but all of our customers seem to be going for the plain as their top choice. 

The pies are created by our lovely butcher Charlie and lovely baker Wally.  
Wally told me that it takes FOUR days from start to finish...

On Monday, Wally makes the pastry; he uses a Pastry-Break which works like a giant rolling pin.  Charlie will cut the meat and mix it in the giant mixer with different seasonings to create the perfect fillings to go in the pies.  
On Tuesday, they will press the pies with a Pressing Machine.  This is how they make the pie shape and fill it with the tasty fillings.
On Wednesday the pies are cooked in a giant oven, during this process, the meat filling will shrink, so once they’ve cooled down the bakers will jelly them.  This is when they fill up the empty space inside the pie with a savoury jelly which not only adds to the tastiness, it also gives them a longer shelf life.
On Thursday, Wally loads the van up with the pies and delivers them to 8 local shops and delicatessens.  
Phew – 800 pies done and dusted until next week!

Pastry Breaker... works like a giant rolling pin!
Cut sections for pie bases
Freshly Baked Pies!
Every Wednesday when the pies are cooking, the smell wafts up to the office here and my mouth starts watering…luckily, I can pop downstairs to the Farm Shop and buy one.  
If you fancy tasting one, but can’t get to Fordhall then you can find our pies at Brown & Green’s Trentham, Derby and Newant, Maynards Farm Shop, Green Fields Donnington and Priors Lee and at the Drayton Deli in Market Drayton.
Mmmmm, delish!
The finished product, Ploughmans Pies.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Real Ale at our Beer and Music Festival

Ale: A fermented alcoholic beverage containing malt and hops, similar to but heavier than beer.

25 days to go and counting until our Beer and Music Festival – Im so excited! There is still a lot to do, but I have got all the beers ordered now…

Joules Brewery in Market Drayton is supporting the event for the second year running.  We have a great partnership with them throughout the year, they supply our Gloucester Old Spot pigs with dried brewer’s grain and the pub next to the brewery, The Red Lion, serve Fordhall Sausages on the bar – happy pigs, happy customers!

Happy Pig!
Here is the list of beers that will be available at the upcoming beer and music festival.  I'm not a real ale connoisseur myself, but I have been assured that these ales are delicious and will go down a treat.
Come and try them out and let me know if it’s true….£1 a half pint, can’t be bad!

Slumbering Monk
Pale Ale
Shropshire Lad
Shropshire Lass
Three Tuns
Golden Dale
Dale Ale
Salopian Brewing Co.
Darwin's Origin
Twisted Spire
Town Crier
Plumb Porter

If, like me, you are not a real ale fan then fear not!  We also have a very tasty medium sparkling cider from South Shropshire’s Mahorall Farm and a selection of wines from Wroxeter Roman Vineyard.  For the drivers, children and tee-totallers amongst you, there will be a variety of soft drinks available too.

Keep an eye on the blog for the band this space!

Saturday 1st September 11am-11pm
Advance tickets £10 (on the door £12) Camping is available £5 per pitch. 
Under 14’s Free.
To book your tickets call 01630 638696

Friday, August 03, 2012

Fordhall Farm Beer and Music Festival!!

There is less than a month to go until the 3rd annual Beer and Music Festival! It will be held on Saturday 1st September, 11am-11pm.  We will have 17 different ales from 8 local breweries and live music from 9 local bands, with local food served up by Ben and his catering team.  It is a family friendly festival, with games and face painting for the kids (or grown-ups!) and under 14’s get in free.

Skeletor and Isis

We’re busy ordering in the drinks and confirming all the time slots for the bands at the moment.  If you aren't a big fan of real ale, not to worry, we will also be serving locally produced wines and cider, as well as soft drinks for the designated drivers amongst you. Joules Brewery are supporting the event, their Pale Ale, Blonde and Slumbering Monk will be available alongside a selection of other ales to tickle your taste buds.

For the music enthusiasts out there, we have an array of different sounds from our bands, from blues to rockabilly, funk to rock and a hint of reggae mixed with acoustic vibes, there should be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Toby from Pre-Sleep Monologue
The beer and band line-up will be available on the website soon, so keep your eyes peeled

Tickets are £10 in advance (£12 on the door), under 14’s get in free and there is camping available at £5 a pitch.  To book your tickets call us on 01630 638696…Oh, and did I mention it’s only £1 a half pint!

See you at the bar…