May 2019 at Wark Farm
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At the farm, new life has arrived. Cows are calving and sheep are lambing. Blossom and flowers bloom, touches of colours in a green landscape. And birds pick up their song, celebrating the lengthening of days. To our holiday guests staying in the Hayloft, coming from abroad but just as well local people seeking a peaceful getaway, it’s an idyllic time to stay at the farm. Yet, behind the scenes, it’s a pretty intensive period.
Spring for a farmer is a time of continuous monitoring; in a certain way it’s the start of a new year and if you can get the start right, you’ve got a head start, something really needed in a life where following the right values does not always come with the right pay off, leaving you subjected to the need for a minimum of luck and external support. It’s a period where Laurel is constantly ‘doing her rounds’, watching over the cattle and sheep, making sure they’re okay. Her eye catches each need, which untrained eyes would never have noticed. If most sheep seem to be lambing easily, this is only due to the fact that she gave extra feed to those who needed it in the months leading to the lambing. If some weak lambs make it through an unexpected harsh and cold spring, it’s because she knew to stomach feed them and to give extra care to their mother. And if some births don’t go as they should, Laurel is there to help the birthing process, involving her pushing lambs in the right birth position and pulling them out softly.
But besides watching 300 sheep and 100 Belted Galloway Cows, there’s the rest of the farm to keep running as well: The land itself needs to keep maintained, among which the wetlands which are our safeplace for wildlife. The land needs to be prepared for a new season of growth, being plowed and sewn in. And income needs to be earned to keep the farm running in a sustainable way, keeping the place a safe haven for animals and people.
Spring is a time of growth, slowly forcing winter further and further away and allowing us to shed things we need to leave behind. Because growth also means shedding off those things that dragged us down. We came out of the fire and went through some rocky times, but this spring is special to us, as the sense of re-inventing ourselves is more present than it has ever been. This also means that the past months have been filled with questions: what do we stand for, which are our core values and where do we want to move to. In order to be re-born, one needs to go through a rebirthing process, which can be pretty painful and confronting. But luckily we never had to do this alone. We’ve had support of family and friends, support of government entities, and of course of our loyal and new customers, many of them who have visited the farm in the past. And if you’ve not, we invite you to come over one Sunday on delivery days and come and see our place for yourself. I can tell you that you will love it. A visit says more than a thousand pictures…..
Moving further into the year, we hope to soon have our rebuild of the butchery ready, including a larger experience space where we’ll be able to host you and start offering our experience days again. Expanding on our popular butchery workshops where you can try your hand at rolling your own lamb shoulder, we’re also looking at offering pie making workshops where you’ll get to make your own personalised pies. Since we’re still in the process of investigating, we would love to hear about any interest you may have. The more positive response we get, the more likely the pie making workshops will happen. We may even adjust our ideas to any suggestions you make!
Next week we’ll be having our monthly open days. This month we have our freshly cut Belted Galloway Beef and Hebridean Lamb, but also a limited supply of wild Wark Farm venison. Bacon is back on the menu as well this month. As everything is freshly cut, we try to accommodate everyone’s requests, but cannot guarantee it. We will also treat your orders in order of reception, meaning the sooner you get your order in, the more likelihood there is that you will be able to get your full order.
Orders need to be submitted by Tuesday 14th May, 5pm. Orders can either be picked up at Banchory Farmers Market on Saturday 18th May or at the farm on Sunday 19th May between 10am to 1pm. Visitors to the farm will be treated with one of our delicious pies, maybe even a special edition one. Delivery at home is also possible and is free of charge for deliveries of £35 or higher. Please don’t forget to input your address even if you already did so in the past. If lower than £35, a delivery charge of £5 will be added to your invoice.