January 2019 at Wark Farm
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There is sustainability in our history and sometimes, a simple step backwards, a step back to a world full of artisan craft, can help us improve our world. Last week Wark Farm did a 6 hour road trip to the John Hunt factory in Bolton, a producer of pie pressing machines, established over 140 years ago and the makers of the simple pie press that has formed so many pie cases here over the last 15 years.
There wasn’t a quick online ordering of a machine, there wasn’t a digital chat box to answer any questions we had but there was an actual person at the other end of the line when we called and a sincere invitation to come down to meet and see the factory. Clearly, they weren’t just going to sell us anything; no, they were going to help us find a solution to our post-fire re-build questions - a good old fashioned meeting in person was the only way forward.
So we took some of our precious commodity, namely time, and drove down, and in return, they gave us some of their precious goods as well - time and knowledge. Danny and members of the family having worked forever for John Hunt, carefully listened to our plans on expanding our pie production, then talked and walked and discussed and brainstormed with us over 4 hours to find the perfect fit. It was clear from the start of our meeting how limited our means were, so it was a very quick no thank you to their full automatic production unit, but that didn’t rattle Danny. Instead he happily dug deep together with us. Through investigating the options to use refurbished machines instead of new machines and by tweaking the production process in clever ways, we managed to reach an affordable solution for our way of making our pies - and one that was very comforting and reassuring to us as well. Because you see, the John Hunt factory wasn’t just established 140 years ago but it also still uses many of the same principles and their machines are still built in a way to withstand time. As Danny showed us through the factory, for a moment it felt as if we literally stepped back in time, surrounded by cogs and wheels and cast iron. We saw Danny pat the machines lovingly, showing how their primarily mechanical build, with just a touch of digital added to it, creating machines as durable tools, primarily built to serve clients, not shareholders interested in built in obsolescence and the next upgrade purchase. We saw a partner that fitted Wark Farm perfectly.
Artisanal crafts are more then just pretty marketing. They often stand for a more durable way of living, a more sustainable one. They offer carefully crafted products, their creator each time having put a part of their soul in them, making for products where the attention to detail should marvel us. They aren’t made for quick consumption without awareness. They aren’t made for a thoughtless throw away culture. No, they are made to be savoured.
Our farm is an artisanal product as well. If you glance briefly, you’ll see the range of artisanal, organic products we offer, but actually, it goes way deeper than that. The mere farm by itself is an artisanal product, one that can be appreciated on multiple levels, new details unfolding itself as one looks deeper and deeper. Circular, self-sustaining food systems built into every piece of meat sold. Carefully constructed ecosystems designed in such a way to bring back diminishing wildlife such as lapwings, curlews and oystercatchers. Because Scottish wildlife is our history as well, our richness. And our history is something we need to savour. Because history and future, they’re one….
A simple straightforward selection of meat for this months open days … fresh Belted Galloway Beef, Hebridean lamb and our own Poulet de Bresse chicken.
Frozen pies are on the list too (beef, venison and pheasant) but not for delivery, collection from the farm only. We will be at open at the farm for the collection of orders and pick'n'mix shopping on Sunday the 20th from 10am - 1pm.
You can also find us at Banchory Farmers Market on the 19th January where we will be with a selection of product and orders for collection.
For delivery: We will be delivering orders to Deeside, Donside & Aberdeen on Friday 18th.
ORDERS FOR DELIVERY SHOULD BE SUBMITTED BY THURSDAY 17th JANUARY, 12 noon