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An evening of Racing and Cheese!

On Thursday 5th May, Sophie and I jumped into the van and set off for Wincanton Racecourse. The sun was shining, the horses were gleaming and the ground was perfect. What better way to spend a glorious evening...but what has this got to do with cheese I hear you say..?? 

During the evening meeting, as well as top quality racing and a live jazz band we were part of the Mini Cheese Festival. Wincanton racecourse is  located in the heart of Somerset, home of the cheddar cheese. Our fellow stall holders boasted some of the countrys favour cheddars, Godminster, Lykes, and Barbers. But we flew the flag (and our new banner!) for our fantastic cheeses from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. 

The Brinkworth Blue was our best seller, but the Somerset racegoers were delighted by the selection of cheeses from another county. Between each race, we had a flurry of customers, some lucky enough to have won on the sucessful horse and jockey and eager to buy cheese - much less of a gamble and garenteed deliciousness! 

As the evening drew to a close at 9pm, we loaded the van and began our journey home. Now dark, we could no longer see the stunning Somerset countryside. 2 hours later, and a mile from home the AFF van began to tire. The engine light came on. Pitch black, Roger (potential rescuer) in London, the van juddered. "COME ON VAN" Sophie and I both cheered. More spluttering from the van. We crawled to the junction, now less than 200m to home. We debated abandoning the van and walking home, but another rev and we rallied a bit further. The van was really not feeling well and collapsed across the driveway. Thank goodness we were home after our exhausting journey. A cup of tea and a nibble of cheese, the van could wait until tomorrow...

Is Spring around the corner?

The weather dictates farming life so much that there’s huge relief when the warm, sunny days of spring finally arrive. Although Spring is just around the corner, it’s a lovely time of year with crisp mornings and day light hours lasting that little bit longer. With the considerably mild but extremely wet conditions over the last few months, the land is saturated but the grass on top looks long overdue a haircut. The British seasons have felt topsy turvey and the natural cycle of has created a confused season. Snowdrops and even a few daffodils have emerged already this year and we are not quite yet in March.

January was a fairly quiet month for AFF which gave us time to work on our marketing and also made time to visit potential new customers with our small sample packages. Look out for your favourites in some new locations! 

I visited my family on the Isle of Wight during the February half term, and I took with me 2 cheeses as gifts to my parents – both huge lovers of cheese – for them, this is the best job I have ever had!

My mother loves goats cheese, so was delighted when I handed over a Cerney Mini Pepper. The fresh goats cheese, made to order by Julie and Avril at Cerney House is coated with rainbow pepper and is a totally delicious soft cheese.

My father became a fan of Ceri’s cheese at Christmas when I took home a selection to have on the cheese board. I took him the Royal Basset Blue, the creamy blue truckle that won a gold medal for the best cheese at Taste of the West in 2014. Its no surprise it has won so many awards, I couldn’t resist opening it before my father had a chance!

We are looking to take on a new and different cheese this year so if there is something you would like to see or taste, we would love to hear your suggestions. Please do get in touch.

Happy Christmas from AFF

December is upon us, dark nights draw in and the festive lights decorate and illuminate our local villages. Christmas markets feature mulled wine, sweets, treats and of course plenty of cheese! Also this month Sunday Hill Farm is delighted to welcome the most adorable Hereford calves.
Here in Brinkworth we are surrounded by dairy herds, producing the milk to add to our tea, pour over our cereal but also to produce cream, yogurt and cheeses. Our farmland is wet, clays and best only for pastureland for summer grazing. Further south, our neighbouring villages such as Pewsey, Avebury and Devizes boast dry chalky down land. This difference in farmland historically generated the old saying ‘ as different as chalk and cheese’.
Some of the Wiltshire diary herds are producers of the cheese supplied by Athelstan Farm Foods. One of those diaries is Woefuldane Organic Dairy at Minichinhampton.
Family farmers Melissa and Jonathon, with son Henry and daughter Olivia, run an organic dairy herd. The diary heifers are crossed with a Hereford bull to produce beef calves to provide an additional farm income.
We have purchased 12 calves to rear here at Sunday Hill Farm. 4 beautiful heifers and 8 chunky bull calves. Our small herd is just the start of a potential new enterprise. At only 4-5months, these calves have got a lot of eating and growing to do! Housed in our barn, they are looked after by our good friends and neighbouring farmer Jack Newbury and his grandparents – Geoffrey and Angela Vines.
This exchange is just a small part of what is an enormous farming community. Remember to support your support your local farmers this Christmas.
For our local followers, pick up your copy of Wiltshire Life and turn to page 48 to read a fantastic article by Simon Heptinstall – The Philosophy of the Cheese Supplier. In this wonderful article, Sophie is interviewed by the food writer and talks about the development of Athelstan Farm Foods over the last 2 years.
From us all at Sunday Hill Farm, we wish our farmers, suppliers and customers a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Its beginning to feel a little bit Autumnal

Its been a while since the last blog...in that time the farm is now beginning the colourful change from Summer to Autumn. The warmer days have meant continued grass turnout and the cows, belonging to our wonderful neighbours Geoffrey and Angela Vines, are still grazing without damaging the land. The leaves are now starting to fall, as too are the traditional english apples in the orchard. These have been collected up and professionally made into delicious Sunday Hill Farm Apple Juice - this year a bumper crop should mean we have enough to see us right through until next year. 

Cheese sales have continued to grow and some of our bigger customers, who have been catering for wedding parties, receptions and parties, have been serving our great local cheeses to more and more people. 

Although I started this blog with the Autumn changes, its only a 10 weeks until Christmas, so its time to think about ordering your Christmas cheese. If you would like to buy any of our cheese to enjoy yourself or to give as a gift, please get in touch. 

Summer has arrived!

Its the 1st August tomorrow, the sun is shining and its Friday after a busy week at Sunday Hill Farm! The new Athelstan Farm Foods van has been travelling in all directions over the last couple of weeks having had very busy start to the summer season. 

Roger, Sophie and the children enjoyed 10 days in beautiful Italy so I was in charge of Scrutopia and all its belongings. The hens, the horses and most importantly the kitchen garden! I hadn't done the full AFF route yet this week but my journey took me around the the stunning Marlborough countryside including the Pewsey Downs to the hidden treasure that is Honey Street Cafe, and also Avebury community shop, where the van decided it was tired and didnt want to go home yet. After a short break I continued on and got home safely, PHEW! 

The Chippenham route, although you visit some of the best farmshops, deli's and restuarants in town, is fine except for the numerous roundabouts which if you are accidently in the wrong lane take you in the completely wrong direction...

AFF provides quite an adventure, and it all starts on a Tuesday morning. Chefs and store managers get their orders in before noon so that we can place the orders with our suppliers. I had been to collect from the Old Cheese room at Neston Park and from Ceri just 3 miles down the road but whilst Sophie was away I had to take a visit to Karen and Roger Crudge just outside Burford and also to Avril and Julie at North Cerney. I had no idea what I was looking for, and it amazed me when I found them. Firstly Crudges produce their cheese at Kingham Green, the farm there is undergoing total renovation and the old farm yard is now offices and meeting rooms. Roger and Karen and the only agricultural business left there. Cerney Cheese is made in an old methodist church up a very narrow and wiggly hill in North Cerney. Avril and Julie are tucked away and unless you knew where to find them, you otherwise wouldnt be able to! 

The deliveries are the best part of the week, its such fun visitoring all our customers in the natural environment. My favourite delivery of the week is to Jolly Nice at Frampton Mansell. They have the most delicious ice cream!! 

I was planning to take AFF to the Heart FM Family and Food Festival at The Manor, Castle Coombe this weekend just gone. It was a chance for me to experience my first market style event with AFF but due to the down pour of rain(much needed for the Kitchen garden) the event was sadly cancelled. The next festival at The Five Alls - a producers market in September. Look out for us there....

I hope you are all enjoying your summer holidays and eating lots of cheese! 

Izzy 

New Cheese for AFF!

Laverstoke Park Farm Mozzarella & Crudges Tetbury

This week at Athelstan Farm Foods we are very excited to bring you not one but two brand new products! 

Firstly, Roger and Karen Crudge from Kingham Green in Burford are now producing 'Tetbury'. This cheese is made in a conical mould and matured for a month to give a semi-hard texture with buttery taste. It is inspired by the Spanish cheese 'Tetilla'. 

Our second new cheese is from a new supplier in Laverstoke Park Farm in Overton. Home to Englands finest Water Buffalo herd. These beasts are originally from Italy and Romania. The herd of around 1,500 produces deliciously rich and creamy milk which is used to create beautiful soft and totally scrumptious British mozzarella. AFF are stocking individual packs and also catering buckets for our pubs, restuarants and hotels. 

Both of these new products are available to buy now. Please get in touch if you would like to buy!

For our more local customers, Sophie will be at Hannington Market this Saturday (27th June) from 10-4 with the entire selection of cheeses for you to taste and buy. For further details, please do get in touch. 

Fun Thursdays - The Cheese Run!

Summer doesnt officially start until 21st June but the sun is shining here in Brinkworth and this morning Sophie and I have been out on the road, on tour, in the Athelstan Van! Windows down, sunglasses on and BBC Radio Wiltshire keeping us singing along.  

The first stop is always Brinkworth Dairy to collect the freshly made traditional cheeses made by Ceri according to historic family reciepes. Scrambling amongst the piles of cheeses, cream, butter and yoghurt we managed to load the van relatively easily. It was then time to brave the freezer to find the ice-cream for Bowood House. Obviously the warm and sunny weather has created a surge of ice cream orders.  Sophie was trying to work as quickly as possible in order not to set off the piercing alarm that sounds if the door is left open for too long. Unfortunately not fast enough, the salted caramel ice cream was hiding in the depth of the freezer and the ciren let out its awful scream...

Once our ears had recovered, we set out each order in neat wicker baskets and calculated the invoices ready for the off. Our first stop was Sherston Stores, wiggling through Malmesbury, Easton Grey and Pinkney, all beautiful Beautfortshire villages. We passed The Rattlebone Pub, and immediately turned left into a school car park. "Here we are!" said Sophie. I wasn't sure what to expect in the converted school building, but we were greeted with enormous smiles from the team at Sherston Stores. Gail, heads up the team and runs a fantastic village shop which includes a brilliant array of local produce and daily household essentials. 

Once Sophie had negoiated her way out of the extrememly tight entrance, we were on our way to Allington Farm Shop towards Chippenham. The luxury of being driven around in a van is of course you can admire the views and glorious green landscape which are seldom enjoyed when you are driving alone in your little Hyundai! 

I had never heard of Allington Farm Shop although I did know the chef was called Pierre, and he was a mad Frenchman. Sophie and I entered the deliveries door to find a busy environment which is expanding its butchery counter at the moment. We sorted Pierre with his cheese and followed our noses to the checkout. Our route, much to my delight, lead us through the entire shop. Fresh vegetables, tasty meat, a supermarket size selection of cheeses, local crafts and most importantly Tractor Ted souvenirs! Crafty marketing had put  stacks of shelves of  super tempting sweeties right next to the checkout. I will have to remember to forget my purse when I cover the deliveries or else I shall spend more than I deliver! The fudge looks so sweet, crumbly and totally scrumptious. 

Next stop was Jacks at Hartham Court, but we needed to collect the Baronet from The Old Cheese Room first. The Old Cheese Room can be found amongst the enterprising and beautiful Neston Park only a few miles down the road. Jacks was bustling with people, we had clearly arrived during their busy lunch service. 

The last stop on the Chippenham circuit was Bowood House Hotel, the perfect setting for the Antiques Roadshow in a few weeks time. Head chef Marek was still busy serving puddings as we arrived to this enorous establishment which includes a Spa, Golf course and Hotel. Bowood House was teeming with people, gentleman and their caddies walking to the next hole and ladies going for a delicious lunch after a trip to the spa. 

We wiggled back to the A4 and started heading back to Malmesbury. By the time I reached the office it was 3 o'clock and I realised why Sophie disapeared every Thursday. The cheese route covers a fairyly large area in relatively few miles. But watch this space for  Athelstan Farm Food stock in a pub or shop near you because there are plently more en route. 

Tomorrows adventure will take me around Sunday Hill Farm in preparation for Open Farm Sunday, we hope to see lots of you there...

 

Izzy 

 

Open Farm Sunday

 

 

 Open FarmSunday – 7th June 2015

Celebrate British Farming and Food

 

Join us for Open Farm Sunday at Sunday Hill Farm next weekend. We are opening the gates and welcoming visitors for what promises to be a fun and informative day for all. 

 

Sunday Hill farm, is delighted to be joining hundreds of other farms across the country in hosting events to celebrate British farming and food. Open Farm Sunday is an annual nationwide event, organised by LEAF, it’s a great chance to find out firsthand how our food is grown and produced sustainably and talk to the farmers responsible.

–            

      When:Sunday 7th June 2015

–            Where: Sunday Hill Farm, Brinkworth, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN15 5AS

–            Opening time:10am to 2pm

–            Admission cost: Free Entry

 

Author and Philosopher Roger, will give a guided walk around the farm and talk about the wildlife and conservation management used at SHF to create a sustainable rural future. 

Sophie will be offering Athelstand Farm Food locally produced cheeses such as the Wiltshire Loaf made at Brinkworth Dairy, only a few miles away. These ancient cheeses are not only rich in taste but in history and can be found in local pubs, restaurants and hotels. 

There is also a small beef herd, horses and chickens at SHF for those who are keen to meet the animals. 

To find out more about LEAF and Open Farm Sunday call 02476 413911 or visit www.farmsunday.org or www.leafuk.org

To find out more about what will be happening at Sunday Hill Farm call Izzy on 01666 510327 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OFS logo 2015

Cheese on the run!

 

The AFF Van is packed and ready to deliver to our lovely customers! 

A busy week at Sunday Hill Farm

Well its Friday and I'm sure, as I am, most of you are looking forward to the weekend. 

This week I have been holding the fort whilst Sophie has been in America with Roger. So as well as all my usual duties for Roger and Sophie, I have been out waving the AFF flag and delivering to some of our lovely customers. I had not previously visited Brinkworth Dairy but only 3 miles away from SHF, I have been several times this week to collect some of our dairy goods. For those of you that might not know, Hill End Farm is home to a relatively small herd, 95, happy freisan cows who are allowed to graze on the lushous pastures of the Dauntsey Vale, and you can see them all on the way down the bumpy drive to Brinkworth Dairy. Ceri and Chad Cryer make a range of dairy products according to recipes that date back over 100 years.

Out on my deliveries I have been out as far as Frampton Mansell to visit Jolly Nice, on the Cirencester to Stroud Road, and I can without a doubt say, it is jolly nice. This luxurious farm shop sells our cream, butter, yoghurts and a variety of cheeses. 

My next stop was the Five Alls at Filkins. I can personally recommend this pub, it is fabulous and whats more they serve the most delicious cheese from Roger and Karen Crudge at Churchill near Burford. Chef Ben was pleased that his customers would be able to enjoy this special cheese over the weekend. 

My final delivery this week was to The Three Trees Farm Shop, just off J15 of the M4 at Chiseldon. Beth and Ian McMurray, run a wonderful farm shop and cafe - they do a scrummy coronation chicken baguette for those of you that might be passing with a hungry tummy. Here I delivered a large bag of treats including Simon Weavers organic Cotswold Brie. 

As I write this blog, I am looking out of my office window watching a stunning cock pheasant, picking up the leftover seed from the bird feeder which I have remembered to fill up everyday this week. But for now thats all from me, I've got horses and 4 of the most  charismatic chickens to put to bed. I am quite certain SHF will be delighted to see Sophie home tomorrow. 

 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend... 

Izzy 

 

Athelstan Blog

Hello everyone and welcome to Athelstan Farm Foods!

I run a small, friendly business connecting the best local producers with the best local chefs - straight from the farm!

I hope you will find everthing you need on the website, although often I am too busy collecting and delivering cheese to have time to update the site! Should you have any questions or would like to make an order, please do not hesistate to call or send an email, details can be found on the contact page. 

I currently have a selection of cheese produced from three local dairys, I hope to branch out and be able to offer a bigger selection of cheeses and other dairy produce, whilst continuing to support our local dairy farmers here in Wiltshire.

Please keep a look out for the lastest news and lots more delicious dairy produce. 

Sophie

 

 

 

Athelstan Farm Foods -
Horsells Farm Enterprises
Sunday Hill Farm, Brinkworth,
Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 5AS
 
Telephone: 01666 510 327

‘Straight from the Farm’