September 2020 at Stourton

With the children back at school (thank goodness!) we’ve wasted no time this month; finishing harvest, getting the ground cultivated and drilled, launching fresh venison to customers alongside delivering landscaping products and logs across the county… even squeezing in a quick business trip to Norfolk!

Launch of Fresh Venison Boxes, delivered directly to your door

Just in time for autumn and the promise of warming casseroles, roasts and comfort food we are delighted to launch our fresh venison boxes.   There are two box sizes to choose from, appropriately named after the number of antler points on a stag. A limited number of boxes are available for delivery each month. The boxes arrive beautifully presented and include some recipes to try which are true family favourites for us.

fresh venison boxThe Imperial Box weighs at least 6kg and costs £120.  Following a quick tot up we think that this box will provide just over 40 portions of delicious venison. Typically an Imperial Box contains:

  • A Prime Venison Fillet
  • A Roasting Joint (either Haunch or Sirloin)
  • A selection of Steaks including: haunch, sirloin and frying steak (10 steaks in total)
  • Burgers (at least 1 pack of 4)
  • Sausages (at least 1 pack of 6)
  • Casserole &/ Braising Steak (approx. 1kg)
  • Mince (approx. 500g)

The Royal Box weighs at least 3kg and costs just £60.  Our Royal box contains approximately 24 portions and typically includes:

  • A selection of Steaks including: haunch, sirloin and frying steak (8 steaks in total)
  • Burgers (1 pack of 4)
  • Sausages ( 1 pack of 6)
  • Casserole / Braising Steak (approx. 500g)
  • Mince (approx. 500g)

Plus to celebrate the launch we are offering customers 10% off their first order using the discount code freshveniboxintro10 at the checkout.

Delivery of the boxes is free within a 20 mile radius of the farm and after that delivery charges apply up to 30 miles. We are working on being able to courier our boxes further afield and will let you know as soon as this is possible.

Our next delivery date is 23rd October and you can place your order for delivery on this date online now.

Of course our freezers are fully stocked with freshly frozen venison too which you can order as usual.  Again we are offering free delivery on orders over £25 within a 20 miles radius of LN9 5PB.

Log Orders

We are now in full flow and are actually rather busy delivering log orders to our lovely customers across Lincolnshire!

stacked logsWe can appreciate that many of our customers are taking the opportunity to get stocked up for winter, however, rather like Tesco & toilet rolls (!) we are struggling to meet the demand for very large orders.  Therefore, in order to continue to meet all our customers’ needs we have taken the decision to limit the number of bags that can be ordered to a maximum of 2 bags at the current time.  This will ensure we can serve more customers and keep bags on the move without running low on stocks – and at the time of writing we are only in September!

If you’d like to place an order our quality kiln dried logs are super dry & graded (to remove dust, sticks etc) before being kiln dried at the farm at Baumber.

The firewood logs are sold in builders bags sized at approx 0.7 cubic metres and each log is cut to around 10 inches/25 cm.

We only use hardwood species for our kiln dried logs– mainly oak, ash and sycamore. We never blend with poorer species such as poplar or softwoods.

On the Farm

September has largely gone to plan (shock horror)! We completed our combinable crop harvest in a period of settled weather earlier in the month. The first sugar beet has been lifted and is in the process of being delivered to the factory in Newark.  Ken has been working flat out cultivating all of the land ready for planting of winter crops.

We will start putting winter barley in any time now, shortly followed by our wheat crop and our winter bean crop. When planning to drill winter crops we have a few considerations. Earlier drilling gives us a greater chance of getting everything sown into good conditions, however this needs to be balanced against soil moisture, weed burden and aphid transfer of virus.

As wheat is a grass species, grass weeds are tricky to remove when the crop is growing. The best method of reducing the grass weed burden is to delay drilling into the second half of October. This allows us to create a ‘stale seedbed’ which we then apply glyphosate to prior to drilling. In the second part of October soil moisture tends to be higher as well as soil temperature being lower. The herbicides that we apply to control broad leaved weeds as well as grass weeds have greater activity and persistency in these conditions. We consciously try to minimise the application of plant protection products on this farm, none more so than insecticides. Aphids can transfer virus into crops throughout the year but BYDV (Barley yellow dwarf virus) is the one we are particularly concerned about in cereals.

Earlier sown crops are more susceptible to infection as aphid numbers are higher in warmer conditions through September and into October. As temperatures fall, so do aphid numbers and thus virus transmission is reduced. September and early October drilled crops are most likely to need an insecticide applied to try to control aphid numbers. This year we will be using an app called BYDV assist (developed by Syngenta) to help us decide whether to spray and if so when to spray. We will input a number of parameters into the app which will give us a forecast of whether we are at high risk and if so when to apply an insecticide.

I know I promised not to mention the weather but…. we have our fingers and toes crossed that this autumn does not mirror last!  Hopefully by the time the next blog comes around the majority of our winter crops will be safely in the ground, wish us luck!!

Events News

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we are going to have to cancel our Enchanted Lights event planned for November.  We have already had a number of enquiries about this event  so we understand that this is disappointing but we feel that holding an event with a large number of people attending when we are currently restricted to 6 for social gatherings doesn’t feel like a very responsible thing to do.  On top of that restrictions keep on changing so it is very hard to plan on a day to day basis at the moment let alone a month ahead.  However we hope that this event will return for 2021 and be even bigger and better than before.

Deer Diary

Thanks to all of those visitors who have come to the Estate and been on our Private Deer Feeding Safaris on the socially distanced trailer on weekends throughout the summer.  These have been really popular and we’ve enjoyed sharing with you how we manage the deer as well as seeing your photos.  One lady and her family loved it so much they even came twice!  Unfortunately all good things come to an end and with the deer rut in full swing as well as essential deer maintenance to manage these have finished for now… however we hope to be able to run some more again soon.

As mentioned above the deer rut is now starting, we’ve even heard Winston roar.  The deer have developed their winter coats and are considerably shaggier in appearance, but this keeps them cosy through the cooler winter months.  In addition they are no longer entirely red deer and have become a rather muddy brown colour but are as happy as the proverbial pigs!

Essential supplies of mineral lick blocks, needed for continued health and vitality of the herd were sourced from a specialist supplier in Norfolk and we took the opportunity to collect these together to have a much needed short break away – even our terrier Poppy joined us for a walk on the beach!

Even with the rain, grass growth slows at this time of year and is less nutritious so we will be supplementing their diet this month with a home-grown herbal forage that we baled in the spring.  The deer love this and the stags will soon be wearing it on their antlers to try & look even more majestic – we’ll hopefully get a photo to show you next time!

 

We hope that you are staying safe and well.  We hope that we can welcome you to the estate soon.

Antony and Helen

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