The Royal Highland Show…

The annual Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh runs from Thursday until Sunday and the only day we were free to go was today (Saturday). Reports that heavy rain and flooding was so bad on the Thursday and Friday that some events were cancelled and hundreds of cars were stuck in the car park/ muddy field awaiting a tow out by tractor was enough to make us agree that had we not already paid for our tickets we’d probably not have bothered going. We chose sensible, warm and waterproof outfits and packed some snacks for us and water and a bowl for the dogs and by the time we reached the showground at 11am the weather was dry but chilly.

Once inside it was rather like de ja vous…all the same stands in the same places as the last time we went 3 years ago which was a little disappointing, but on the plus side it made it easier to navigate around it. We tried to avoid the temptation of the countrywear stands as despite their “special offer” signs we reckoned we could still go ‘online’ and buy cheaper (how mean do we sound???) The dogs had a great time straining to make new friends (human and dog) much to the pain of our shoulders which were constantly being yanked out of joint! They also enjoyed the Quack Commando display of sheepdogs rounding up ducks and leading them around an obstacle course…’our two’ recognised most of the commands and Emma in particular was watching everything going on (Moss was far too busy dotting my jeans with muddy paw prints!)

We saw the pole climbers scale massive poles in 17-18 seconds….those poles seemed pretty slippy and more than a few lost their footing. Right beside this were a couple of chaps carving logs in to an array of owls, thistles and hawks with a chainsaw as their only tool….pretty amazing! Also in this countryside area was a large heavy horse demonstrating log pulling.

We wandered around and came across a pipe band and some “ladies of a certain age” who, having been introduced to steel drums, were battering away fantastic rhythms & beats….it would have been quite comedic had they not been so good! We made our way through the food area where cookery demonstrations were taking place and samples being given out….we tried a LOT of samples (as did the dogs!) and it was so refreshing to see a theme emerge that most companies were really pushing the local produce message. The dogs were also spotted by a chap manning a pet food stall and after posing for photographs they were rewarded with a complementary bag of feed each!

We didn’t make the same mistake we made last time we were at the show by getting caught up in either the car or agriculture sections….both areas are massive and after you’ve seen one huge tractor, you’ve seen them all…although a little green number which was reasonably priced did catch our eye…we’re seriously tempted by it!!!

We caught up with AA McIntyre Poultry from West Lothian as we are in the market for four large(r) chicken and duck houses and we’re still trying to source hatching eggs or day-old turkeys for this years Christmas market.

A quick refreshment for us and the dogs at one of the many bars while listening to bands on the stage nearby and it was one last lap around our favourite bits and back to the car where having a 4×4 really proved to be THE only country wear accessory needed! Off we went winding through the car park littered with BMWs, Mercedes and Audis all waiting their turn for the tractor:-)

Market day!…

David was at Killearn Market this morning at it’s new location in the Church Hall. I think it must have been a combination of the new location and different date (a week late due to the Easter weekend) which resulted in a rather poor turnout – it’s usually such a busy little market. David still enjoyed all the tea and cake on offer though 😀

Back at the farm ewe #6 had twin female lambs and #7 had a large single female – all well with both lambs and mums. This year the ewes are delivering all of their lambs unassisted a huge difference on last year when we had to help all but one sheep. We had malpresentations, breech births and lambs too big to come out…all exciting and terrifying at the same time!

We delivered Bette & Fergie (the two Tamworths) to the lovely Gary & Andy who are extremely excited by their growing brood of animals – sheep next I believe? The boys put a fantastic clip of the pigs on facebook (I must try to put it on here!) – they were skidding about playing with each other and their new owner and I’m convinced they were barking rather than grunting…are they really pigs or just puppies with curly tails? 😀

FRESh at Fintry!

Well, it was a bit of a rush getting there (mornings are our busiest time of day!) and we arrived 5 minutes after it had started but once we were set up we had a lovely few hours talking to some of the most enthusiastic supporters of sustainable enterprises I have ever met.

FRESh has been running for a few years but this was the first time they had included a local market. We were there along with some of Killearn Market’s regulars and several local craft producers. There was such a great atmosphere and the organisers (Fintry Development Trust) couldn’t have done more to make sure everyone had what they needed and were enjoying the event!

We were situated near the entrance and had a lot of interest and questions from people wanting to know more about who we are, what we do and what we sell. This is one of the main reasons we attend these local markets, to let people know we are out there and that there is an alternative to supermarket pork! We never take produce to these events, mainly because our pigs are killed to order and our business model is to mostly sell 1/2 and 1/4 pigs, but it’s also due to environmental health legislation….I personally don’t think it is good practice to sell fresh meat (vac-packed or not) in a basket with a couple of ice blocks underneath it. I don’t think that reassures buyers that you have their welfare in mind! I’m therefore on the look out for an electric table top chiller and only then will we start to bring along packs of sausages to sell. All food retailers have a duty to protect their customers and we take that responsibility very seriously!

Oops…went off on a rant there!

We also had interest from a couple of people looking for Hog Roasts for a house warming party and a School event so hopefully that will lead to new sales.

The organisers asked if we’d be interested in attending a regular monthly market and seeing what a good turnout there was in supporting today’s event we had to say yes! Fintry should be congratulated for all the hard work they are putting in to not only educating the local community but also putting sustainable and renewable initiatives in to practice.

FRESh at Fintry

Do join us at FRESh in Fintry on Saturday March 10th. We’ll have a stall along with many other local producers. We’ll also be going along as visitors to the events planned for Friday March 9th. A lot of work has been put in to this by the organisers and what they are trying to achieve (promotion of local businesses and renewable energy) should be supported.

Find out more here…http://www.fintrydt.org.uk/index.php?page=fresh-2012

Killearn’s Monthly Market

There was a good turnout at Killearn’s Wee Green Market today. As well as the usual stallholders selling arts & crafts, jewellery, cards and lavender products,
there were also a few organisations promoting a greener way of life. We were there promoting our new website and had a lot of interest from people wanting to buy our pork.

We also had a couple of enquiries from people who are interested in rearing their own pigs! It’s fantastic how in a few short years so many people have become more interested in where their food comes from and how it is raised. Its becoming so common to hear of families keeping their own chickens so who knows what things will be like in a few more years  for those who have a bit of land!

Here is David at our table…that pig got so much interest with people asking where we bought it (it was a gift! 🙂 ) 

 

GROWforth Event Stirling

What a fantastic day we had at GrowFORTH in Stirling! This really well organised event brought together organisations, producers, charities and local groups all with one thing in common, producing and promoting local food.

There were interactive stalls in the GrowFORTH market place, and discussion tables for people to explore food related topics and to learn from existing projects….we were asked to head a table on smallholders which was lovely. I so enjoyed meeting others thinking about smallholding and others who had recently started and were full of questions.

The event featured local food prepared by Forth Valley College’s ‘catering@thecampus’ which was a lovely treat. There was a Kids’ Corner so that children had an opportunity to share their ideas about food, as well as a Funders Corner so that participants could learn about potential funding sources for food projects.

We were surveyed by a chap promoting local orchards who seemed genuinely interested in our desire to source fallen apples to feed to pigs…hopefully that will come to something!

All in all it was a great day. At our stall we got the opportunity to promote our business and David took the chance to network with as many people as possible. Here’s hoping this will become a regular event!