Lord Newborough's Blog - November 2016
November got off to a flying start in more ways than one!!!! Below you will see the elite in Pilates well into another weekly session, from far left to right you will see Janice Dale, Louise, Joan Redmond, and Fran and Gareth Jones. Susan is our lovely Pilates teacher and we are now well into our second year of Pilates classes and the hard work is starting to pay off.
A lot has been going on at Rhug this month, including bringing the cattle into the yard for the winter, hedge cutting, changing the colour of the crayons on the paddles on the rams so you can see what and when they have been up to with the ewes, tidying up the yard, making sure the turkeys and geese are fit and ready for Christmas, farm visits and lots more!!
At last the work being done to the Hall is coming to end just in time for guests that are coming to stay. It was touch and go but in the eleventh hour we had two newly created bedrooms and bathrooms in the roof space and a new leak-proof roof that will hopefully last for another 50 years!! Everyone forgets about the dust that work like this creates and also all the bits and pieces like door knobs, light switches and things like should power points be USB, 13 amp or 5 amp. etc.…. these are what makes a house a home and it’s all good fun!!!!
The girls in the sales office are still recovering from the visit by Marcus Wareing and thrilled that the cakes they baked for the office bake-off were scored so highly by him…(thank goodness!!!) Marcus will be serving Rhug Tureys and Geese this Christmas at his restaurant and at his own dinner table. We are truly honoured.
We love having visitors to the farm because although we are just a working organic farm without frills, it gives the team a chance to express their passion for what they do and proudly show off their individual sections and themselves.
PS. the Ferrari was on loan!!
This month we have had a number of school visits and interested parties. Andy Charman who owns the famous London chain of Delis, Bailey and Sage, has been a valued customer of Rhug for many years and we loved having him over on the Farm. It is quite the journey for people to come and see us from London so we really do appreciate them coming.
During the month Joan Redmond (sales manager) and I had a couple of visits to London to promote the brand and meet potential new customers as well as catching up with existing customers. It is always a pleasure to meet the chefs on a face to face basis and run through everything we do. Another thing I enjoy is the amount of walking we do and with an early start to the day I always hope for a walk through one of the parks whilst the leaves are still wearing their wonderful colours and create beautiful designs as they fall to the ground. Below is early morning in St James park
At Rhug we are so lucky to be able to offer our customers a full range of organic meat including; Beef, lamb, Salt Marsh Lamb, Chickens, Pork as well as Wild Game, and venison, oh and not forgetting Organic Turkeys and Geese.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things for us at the moment is to see our beef sales increasing thanks to the amazing results we are getting from having the Himalayan Salt wall in our dry-ageing room. This process dry-ages the meat from the inside out giving better flavour and tenderness. The feedback from our customers has been fantastic and although we were initially uncertain of the return on this investment, we are now convinced it has been a quantum leap forward. The next step will be to enlarge our dry-ageing room and start dry-ageing lamb as well. We would like to thank our customers for giving us invaluable feedback because the only way we can improve what we do is by listening to those who influence our business the most.
The dry-ageing room and the blocks of Himalayan Salt – it looks fantastic with the light shining from behind - interior decorators take-note!
Proof of the pudding is always in the eating -
We would like to say a big congratulations to all of our customers who have received recognition in the form of another Michelin star in the latest awards as well as all of you who have retained theirs. These awards don't just celebrate great food. They are also a tribute to the hard work and endless dedication by the whole team from the chefs to the waiters.
A few of us attended a charity dinner in aid of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust at Ruthin Castle last month. The trust does great work to support and promote life in the rural community and country sport pursuits. We were honored to be invited to support such a good cause like this one and we had such a fun time.
Amy Coleman (accounts) and David Finlay (assistant general Manager of Rhug Ltd)
The whole merry team, crossing all departments from Rhug. It was a rare opportunity to get dolled-up and everyone made a great effort. Some of the girls bid for and got a night for 6 in a yurt,
In terms of birthdays, Ron Crimp was 21 again, whilst Philip Hughes discreetly made himself scarce on his birthday.
Joan’s birthday was accompanied by lots of “I am so old”, “I can’t do half of what I used to” and lots of “I’m too old for this and I’m too old for that!!!!” All birthdays are celebrated in the office with a glass of Prosecco, some cake and a very costly ‘down-tools’ for 30 minutes.
During the month I attended two conferences of merit. The first was the annual general meeting of Hybu Cig Cymru who do a brilliant job promoting Welsh lamb in this country and abroad. It was a difficult meeting because the reality of the fact that 70% of Welsh lamb ends up in Europe and after Brexit this market is unlikely to exist anymore. Furthermore, the demand for smaller Welsh lamb is dwindling due to customers demand for bigger cuts - a grim picture and the thought than unless producers change what they do to address customer demand the Welsh Lamb industry could suffer dramatically!
We are blessed with a brilliant minister for the environment and rural affairs who found the time in his busy schedule to attend the conference and address the packed room. Lesley Griffiths (minister) picture below with the outgoing Chief Executive Gwyn Howells, has a listening ear and has proved quick to pick up on the important issues effecting the rural community of Wales.
We are very lucky to be so well represented.
The second conference I attended was the Sustainable Farming Conference to discuss The Role of Livestock in Future Farming Systems - From Theory to Practice was held at Hill Barn, Fir Farm, Lower Swell, and Gloucestershire and also attended by HRH the Prince of Wales. This was an interesting debate about matters that will affect the future for our Children and Grandchildren…. Carbon sequestration will affect the planet and the more we can do to arrest and even reverse the harmful effects of global warming by using responsible farming methods the better. Joel Salatin was the key speaker and he stimulated our thought process by demonstrating his success in obtaining a high indexation score by using a simple mob farming method. The event was sponsored by The Rothschild Foundation, Farmcare, Daylesford and other generous supporters and hosted by Lady Parker and brilliantly organised by Patrick Holden.
Then came a fun weekend at Rhug with a full house of friends staying for two nights. The wives did pilates and shopping in the farm shop whilst the (boys) did their shooting. We were blessed with wonderful weather and the countryside looking its best with a wonderful array of autumn colours.
Elliot head chef and his team did a brilliant job at presenting wonderful food to eat and Amy, Elin, Eliana and Sharee provided great waitressing.
The month finished with our first icy blast of winter with very cold frosty mornings followed by lovely sunny days. It has been a wonderful warm year to date so no complaining.
Well it is nearly another year on and our Turkeys and Geese will very soon be on their way to their final destination. My thanks must go to Gareth Williams our poultry manager who has cared for these birds since they were a day old to the fine birds they are today. These birds will be the pride of Christmas and will appear on the menus of some of the best restaurants in the world. Our Dee Valley Turkeys will be enjoyed far and wide. They have been so popular this year that we sold out in the middle of November. Charlotte and Elin have done a brilliant job managing sales and my thanks go to all of those involved.
Truffles my dog continues to make sure that home comfort come first!!! She has an amazing way of recognizing the important things in life… for a dog that is.
Well, another year nearly over and this will be my last chance to wish you, your families, and all of our customers and suppliers a …..
VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and the HAPPIEST of NEW YEARS.
PS…It is not too late for your last minute shop at Rhug, mail order, gifts and gift vouchers, hampers so hurry along.