Success and news from Killearn’s Country Market…

A huge amount of effort was made to promote this month’s market by the two ladies who work so hard at organising it. With 24 stallholders, many of them first timers, it was as busy as the annual Christmas market! Customers were queuing from the moment we opened and the support from shoppers was fantastic…everyone was keen to engage with us and ask questions about who we are and what we produce.

There was a surprise visit from a very sweet environmental officer who was happy to answer our questions and offer advice….but of all the days to leave the temperature probe at home!!!! We make sure the butcher helps us comply with all regulations by vac-packing and labelling everything correctly for us. In addition everything travels in our refrigerated van where we monitor and log the temperature. Produce is brought in to the market in small quantities and kept chilled with our ice packs.

We sold out of our sausages, bacon and eggs (that’s everyone’s breakfast taken care of!!!) and we went home with just two haggis and five packs of burgers. We even had a couple of orders for our free range chicken and a large roasting joint – we really couldn’t be happier! So looking forward to June’s market and well done again to Daye and Gwenda for making this month’s such a success!

A lot of interest in piggies…

I advertise our piglets quite regularly online and sometimes we get no response but normally one or two people will get in touch. These last few days I have been absolutely inundated with emails and calls for people looking to buy weaners now, next month, even in November! I don’t know what has spurred on this sudden interest at a time of year people usually avoid keeping pigs (too much mud!!!) but great….at last, I have a waiting list 😀

Gobble Gobble…

This years turkeys are ‘cooking’ in the incubators as I type. I candled the eggs last night to see how many appeared to be viable and remove any ‘dead’ ones. To my surprise it looks like we are going to have a bumper hatch rate with around 70 hatching this weekend and as many as 90 hatching around the 30th!!!

We could keep them all to rear for Christmas but are happy to sell some to others to rear their own Christmas Dinner 🙂

I have added a new listing to our online shop if you would like to buy some “day old turkey chicks“….or you can let us do all the work and reserve your Christmas Turkey now!

Sold Out!

All pork available for delivery this and also next Friday has sold out!

We have pork available for sale every Friday….get your orders in as soon as possible, ideally on the Monday or Tuesday of the week you want it. Remember you can call us or place your order on our online shop 🙂

Thank you to all of our customers (private and commercial) for supporting what we do and helping to turn this venture in to a viable business.

Enjoy!

Business reason to go to the pub…

We had to collect and deliver some pork today and also find orders for a pig to be butchered on Tuesday. Our last delivery of the day was to a lovely rural hotel/pub who sell our pork in their restaurant. It was such a hot, sticky day that when we arrived David said he was going to pop in for a quick pint…I was muddy, smelly and glad of the chance of a nap in the van, so we were both happy.

My lovely, much needed sleep was disturbed not once but twice…first by David looking for our ‘Order Book’ and then a few minutes later by one of the locals (rather merry) wanting to see the dogs while laughing about the trade David was drumming up inside. It was the ‘munchies’ factor I think….men in a pub after a few pints – they were like putty in David’s hands….the talk of fantastic sausages, bacon and chops was just too much for them 😀

I don’t know what David was most pleased about….getting a few orders without much effort…or, now being able to say to me that he’s off down to the pub to sell some pork!?!?

Chooks away!…

We are so lucky to live just a couple of miles away from a small, friendly, family run poultry abattoir and that’s where we found ourselves yesterday collecting a couple of crates and a Food Chain Information form.

This morning we carefully loaded our 12 remaining Hubbard meat birds in to the crates for the short journey along the road to Torrance. Once there they are put through the humane automated kill system without delay -they are then plucked, gutted and have their feet and head removed before being put in a chill for us to return to collect later this afternoon. The guys at the abattoir always comment on how nice our birds are – most of the birds they see are from large commercial farms and they are only fit to be made in to chicken soup or stock 🙁

Once back at the farm it was all hands on deck to do the usual feeding, watering and mucking out. The Hubbards house was thoroughly cleaned out and a secure wire and timber run was attached to the wall with the hatch as it’s new occupants were about to ‘move in’.

The 50 (now 42) black rock/ egg laying chicks we bought from our friends at Craigievern Poultry are now 4 weeks old and for the last two weeks they have ‘shared’ a pen with our latest batch of piglets to be brought inside….don’t worry…the chooks were safetly seperated from the grunting little ‘uns who are now delighted that their playpen has been opened up for them giving them much more space to run around playing ‘tag’ by catching each other by the floppy ears 😀

The little black rocks are not at all phased by the move although after a few lovely sunny, warm days it has turned out quite wet and cold today so I think a group huddle indoors is all we can expect from them. This little house won’t be their permanent residence…we’re going to have to find something much bigger but it’ll do for the next 4-6 weeks and once they’ve got a little bigger we’ll remove the cage/ run and give them a much larger patch of ground to explore surrounded by electric netting. In around four months time these birds should start laying tiny eggs and after another month they’ll be laying eggs of a more a saleable size! These are the first egg layers we have bought in for a couple of years and as a lot of the older, original birds have started to come to the end of their natural life it was time to invest in some new blood.

Bill (our friendly farmer from Buchlyvie) delivered ten big round bales of gorgeous, golden straw for the piggies to sleep on/eat/play with/pooh on (delete where appropriate ;-D ) and he’ll be back in a few days time to fertalise the sheep fields.

Also crammed in to this busy morning was a visit from a lovely chap who had reserved our last two available weaners. The pigs were caught and popped in to their straw filled bed for their journey North, paperwork was completed and they were off…it’s sad to see them go just when your recognising their little characters coming out but I’m sure they will enjoy entertaining Tristan & Fiona for the next few months 😀

Right, back to work!!!

New sausages…

Our yummy new jumbo pork and cider apple are a HUGE hit!!!

Made using natural hog casings with pork shoulder with minimal rusk they are flavoured with cider apple, they’re low fat and low salt. David and Neil quickly set up one of the Hog Roasters to try them out 🙂

 

It’s all in the organising…

I had to work today but managed to squeeze in a couple of hours at the farm organising David for a busy day ahead…

Paperwork was done on scoteid’s website last night with movement forms printed, partly completed and put in seperate envelopes for the two batches of weaners being collected today. We gathered up the piglets being collected and popped them in to the trailer to make things easier for the new owners to collect….it was only then I realised just how much those tiny piglets had grown in just a few weeks…my goodness, what a weight they were – and strong…I came away from the task, scratched bruised and recovering from the fear I had lost a tooth when one of them flicked back their head and got me square in the face 🙁 We seperated the two lots of piglets using the trailer’s internal gates and I got to work on tagging the correct pigs the numbers to match their movement form.

One couple arrived for their two Tamworths while I was there and all went well moving the pigs from one trailer to the other. I left David with everything he needed for the other buyers who were a local group of families who get together to share the workload of rearing their own animals (a great idea!). They had arranged to collect their five weaners but David ended up delivering them – it was only a few miles along the road.

We also had some more lambs arrive: ewe #8 (one of the mules) had a lovely big male and #9 (a Lleyn cross) had a large female…we didn’t manage to catch the ewe to number her….but we know who she is 😉 ) Only 5 more ewes to go and we can get back to a normal sleep pattern!!!

Eek, Friday the 13th!…

Supersticious, us? Noooo! 🙂

We started today with a rather disappointing trip to the fruit market – usually we can buy enough apples, bananas and carrots for at least a week but looks like we’ll need to go back and top up again on Tuesday! A bit of a pain! 🙁

Looking back over the last few days Wednesday saw me royally fall out with our ‘friends’ at Boquhan Estates after they failed to deliver on their promise of rebuilding the huge field shelter BEFORE the lambs arrived! We bought it from them less than two years ago and it absolutely fell to bits during the gales in December….I think 4 months was plenty of time for them to rebuild it, don’t you?  We parted company with them promising to deliver the timber needed to complete the shelter today (and, just as well for them, it arrived!). Now I need to pay someone else to fix their mess!

Ewe #4 had a large female yesterday and #5 had a large male this morning – both big strong and healthy lambs.

Back to today and this afternoon found us running about collecting our pork from the butcher and delivering it all over Stirling I must have clocked up over 120 miles!!!

What a great life with no two days ever the same 🙂

Business as usual = busy busy busy…

I took two pigs to Dunblane abattoir whille David & Neil got on with the usual pig/sheep/chicken/duck routine and helped farmer Bill when he arrived with a lovely big delivery of 12 huge round bales of straw (that should keep the pigs happy for a few days!!!) 🙂

We also opened up all three empty pens between Muffin and Belle today…she has been in pen by herself since her last piglets were weaned a few months ago. We’ve tried everything to coax her out and return her to the herd but she’s been having none of it! She is a huge sow so what she says goeis!!! This is definately a case of taking the mountain to mohammad and hopefully once she has become used to piggy company once more then she’ll follow the others when they move….goodness I hope so!!!

More early lambs arrived this morning (ok they were due to start tomorrow so not a huge surprise 🙂 )- a large female to a LLeyn cross and two HUGE males to one of the mules (ouch!!)