Tag Archives: Sussex meat

Fairwarp and Birdineye Farm Shop

26 Mar

The run

I should have known things didn’t bode well when I immediately took a wrong turn and headed off in the opposite direction to my planned route. Once again I had chosen a route from pub strolls, loving the clarity of directions. Well, one of us must have been having an off day (could have been me?) but I didn’t seem to be able to follow the author’s instructions at all today (something to do with being able to tell your left from your right I suppose).

Fairwarp Church

Fairwarp Church

I started from the pub car park at The Forrester Inn, Fairwarp and headed off past the pretty village green, in fair but slightly chilly weather (I was glad of my hat and gloves). Headed through forest following a track past the church and along bridelways popular with riders through the Ashdown Forest. I met quite a few riders, walkers and dog walkers, all very friendly – some even complimented me on my running!

Ashdown Forest

For a while it was all going well, bridge – check, Airman’s Grave – check, car park – check. Then, somehow I didn’t cross the B2026 where I should, although it did give me a chance to check out the Duddlesworth tearooms (unfortunately closed) before once more getting lost frustratingly close to the end.

Airman's Grave

Airman’s Grave, commemorating the crew of a Wellington bomber that crashed near here in 1941

Duddlesworth Tearooms

Duddlesworth Tearooms

It had got to the point where I was fed up with this run now, I was hungry and wanted my coffee and peanut butter protein ball, so resorted to trying to chase the blue dot around the screen on the Runkeeper in order to find my way back.

Runkeeper route

Runkeeper route

I headed back to the road and ran along it for a few hundred yards until I found the place I should have come out (Spring Garden Farm) from here it was meant to be a simple matter of retracing my steps back to the start. Retrace my steps! By this point I was so confused and hungry that nothing looked familiar – thank goodness for the church being such a great landmark!

The farm

 

I headed off to the Birdineye Farm Shop just outside Uckfield, which was situated with a cluster of other businesses on a farm estate (car repairers, dog grooming etc).

Priding itself on its butchery – selling a good selection of meat both fresh and frozen, Andy the butcher talked me through his philosophy for the shop. All the meat is from the farm (with the odd exception of specialities bought in from Smithfields – duck for example)  – I even got to meet the pig farmer whose pigs live free range in the forest. It’s a pity I didn’t need any meat. He explained they try to get in what the customers want (he had just had a request for mutton and had previously got in goat for someone). He also cuts the meat in front of the customer so they can see what they are getting. I bought a cake – they are bought in from somewhere – looked delicious – what excuse do I have to buy a cake I thought? Do I need one?

Red Berry Crumble Cake

Red Berry Crumble Cake

 

 

The lunch

With just about enough time I headed back to The Forresters Arms for lunch. Surprisingly busy (mainly over 65s), the decor was with a low beamed ceiling and wooden floor, quite spartan. I ordered a light bite of Stilton and steak pie and a ginger beer. Must have a craving for pies today as I bought a Cornish pasty in the farm shop too. My lunch was kind of like a school dinner, but in a good way.

The overheard conversation: what you are planting in your garden, the parking dispute at the village shop, whatshername that used to live in Uckfield before she moved to Devon.

Stilton and steak pie

Stilton and steak pie

 

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Isfield and Holly Gap Farm Shop

19 Mar

The run

From Plumpton I drove to Isfield and parked in the car park of The Laughing Fish pub before following another of the pub strolls routes. This pub is right next door to the Lavender Line – a steam railway of about a mile long. It might be worth taking visitors or kids here, with the railway, river walk, farm shop and pub all in close proximity.

The Lavender Line, Isfield

The Lavender Line, Isfield

Again, very clear instructions taking me out of the village and alongside the River Ouse (which is the same river I ran along in Lewes a couple if weeks ago). I was concerned that this would be quite muddy, as that run was a few weeks ago, especially as the book said it was prone to flooding, however it wasn’t too bad as it has been quite dry lately. Bit of a grey day and a reasonably unremarkable walk beside the river and through fields.

River Ouse

River Ouse

There were a few warning notices about livestock and keeping dogs on leads, but it wasn’t until I walked into a field of cows and calves that I froze. I have said it before on this blog: I do not like cows! Especially when they have calves with them – I have read far too many stories in The Guardian about people being killed or injured by cows!

I was even too scared to stop and take a photo of them to show you how terrifying they were. Standing there, looking at me, slowly chewing…

Scary dinosuar

Here is a picture of a scary dinosaur instead

I decided to keep to the river bank as that would be my escape route in the extremely unlikely event they would charge me, but as I got closer I realised I would have to get very close to them indeed to get by that way, and so diverted right across to the opposite side of the field, where my escape route was an extremely thick hedge with barbed wire in the middle – cow proof, I thought. Edged around the field, walking, not running all the time feeling their eyes upon me. ‘I’m sorry I eat you’ I thought ‘don’t kill me’. Now with my back to them I can see my escape route in the far corner of the field, a gap leading into another field. However this was blocked by a flock of sheep. I am not scared of sheep though (not bigger than me) so headed towards the gap, daring not to look round or speed up. As I approached, the flock of sheep moved as one into the other field and allowed me safe passage through.

From there I passed under a disused railway line and continued following the river as far as the Anchor Inn, which would make a good halfway point if walking with children or less fit persons. You can also hire boats there to take on the river in the summer months, I believe.

Railway bridge

Railway bridge

Just before the bridge to the pub (it is on the other side of The Ouse) I doubled back along a high hedge (please not back to the cows, I thought) and crossed a couple of footbridges over waterways, before heading across a field and rejoining the road into the village.

I passed Boathouse Farm on the way in and looked in at some sheep and lambs in the barn. I made the connection between Boathouse Farm and Boathouse Organics (a failed trip on a previous outing), had a look at the Lavender Line before heading back to the car for coffee and New Zealand bird seed cake (made by my daughter). find the recipe here.

New Zealand Bird Seed Cake

New Zealand Bird Seed Cake – not for the birds!

The farm

Holly Gap Farm Shop

Holly Gap Farm Shop

Just along the road from The Laughing Fish and in the village is this farm shop (no trouble finding it this week!) I was greeted by a very friendly lady and a butcher who welcomed me to the shop, gave me a brief explanation of their business – primarily a butchers, but with an expanding product range. The meat counter looked good – not massive but with chicken, sausages, bacon, mince, steak, chops etc. They also had a small selection of seasonal vegetables (not the freshest), some freshly baked brown and white bread, preserves, a cheese counter (again a good but not exciting selection), a freezer with homemade pies – I was tempted by those, but as my freezer is out of action at the moment, I couldn’t really indulge. Preserves, salad dressings, marinades, juices, Montezumos and Divine chocolate and a selection of cards. I bought one of the cards and the lady explained that she is a local woman who works in the shop in the afternoons. I also bought bread, beetroot and apple juice and some salad dressing.

Janet Orpwood

“A Good Read’ by Janet Orpwood

The lunch

After parking in their car park all morning, it only seemed fair to patronise the pub at lunchtime. Bit shabby inside (could do with jooshing up a bit) but a good menu and craft beers on offer (not that I could have one of those, being the designated driver of the day!). Soft drinks: Owlets fruit juices and Fentimans. They also seem to have a lot of events planned including a Lebanese food night and the ‘Tommy Trot’ beer race, in which participants walk through the village on Easter Monday trying not to spill their half pint of beer! There is also an egg hunt for children – maybe I should check it out?

Nothing immediately grabbed me on the menu, although there was a good choice of daily specials including curry, fish, a vegetarian option and pies. However in the end I decided to try the Holly Gap farm burger as I hadn’t bought any of their meat. It tasted like a proper homemade burger, with very hot onions and chips, slightly greasy. Be warned the burger doesn’t come with anything extra unless you order it! I had onions, you could have gherkins, salad, cheese, bacon etc but it all costs a bit extra. Basic burger costs £8.50 extras 25-75p each.

Holly Gap Farm burger

Holly Gap Farm burger

The overheard conversation: the disappointing weather, where to let the greyhound sleep, crumble, the price of a pint in Hove…

Barcombe and Holmansbridge Farm Shop

13 Nov

The run

A beautiful, sunny, slightly frosty day after two days of heavy rain. I parked on the High Street at Barcombe which consisted of a couple of shops and a pub, with the intention of following a route I’d found on Walk Jog Run – of course that’s if you have an internet connection *sigh* why didn’t I print the map off (“the old ways are the true ways”). Decided to have a quick reccie of the village as I never seem to be able to follow other people’s routes anyway so seeing the route probably wouldn’t make much difference. Looked at a couple of noticeboards to see whether any walks or routes were advertised but it was only the usual notices about playgroups and filling shoeboxes to send to Romania. Had a wander round the village taking in the village hall and the yummy mummies arriving for playgroup. The school and recreation ground. Decided to take a lap of the recreation ground which led me on to a few allotments and the Barcombe wild project.

Wild about Barcombe

Wild about Barcombe

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It looked like an imaginative project to keep the local youth engaged featuring dens, tyre obstacles, walkways and balancing boards. Ran round a couple of times trying out all the various obstacles before heading down the field crossing a bridge and heading along a very muddy track following the telegraph poles.

Barcombe

Met a few dog walkers and everyone was very chatty and friendly – no scary thoughts today. Followed the track onwards through some very boggy bits – that feeling when water flows into your trainers and suddenly you’re running, your feet squelching in wet socks. (Note to self: bring spare socks!)

Wet socks

White socks were not a good idea

The path didn’t run out before I wanted to turn back so I decided to investigate every path, stile and bridge on the return journey. The first I saw was a very muddy path leading down into some woods, I followed it and immediately met a man of the huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ brigade walking his dog. I asked him if I could get back to the village via the woods and he gave me good directions. Lovely run through the woods, following a field round and hopping over a few stiles back to the village. 

The farm

Holmansbridge Farm Shop

A large turkey made out of a hay bail greeted me at the entrance to Holmansbridge Farm Shop and I was met by a friendly black and white spaniel as I got out of the car. On entering the farm shop I was immediately attended to though I just wanted to look around. The shop consisted of mainly a large meat counter, which looked like very good quality produce, especially the cuts of beef, venison and unusual sausages such as Thai flavoured. Apart from the meat they make pies, scotch eggs and sausage rolls. A few homemade cakes, bottled soft drinks and Bay Tree sauces and chutneys. Not much to browse and with the husband’s words ringing in my ears ‘Buy cheese!’ as he thrust a £20 note in my hand, I selected a green gammon, several varieties of cheese and a seeded loaf. My overall impression was the shop seemed quite high-end, mainly a butchers with a good, professional service. Orders were being taken for Christmas turkeys. 

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IMG_3334

The lunch

On to the Rainbow Inn at the junction leading to Barcombe. I have passed this pub a few times on my travels around this area and it never looked up to much from the outside. The menu outside looked quite posh and quite expensive (£11-18 for a main). Not masses of choice on the menu which I always think is a good sign. I chose roast fillet of sea bass nicoise style with fine beans and a poached egg (£17).

Sea Bass at the Rainbow Inn

Very attentive service and a crackling fire awaited me inside. The dining room was properly set up with all the tables laid although it was early and very quiet. In fact aside from myself and the staff, the only people in were a group of tweed jacketed chaps having a meeting and I got the impression they may have just taken the place over. The food was very nice and well presented though the green olives were perhaps a bit overwhelming. I felt slightly intimidated when I realised I had used the wrong knife and fork and managed to squirt my top with exploding roast cherry tomato! Overheard one of the waiting staff saying they had new owners, so I was right. The staff need a bit more training so they don’t serve the same table twice (first one, then the other, asked me about dessert and I heard it happen at another table too – better than being ignored though!) finished the meal with a pot of lemon verbena tea. (It reminded me of pregnancy yoga classes.) Oh dear, while I was drinking my tea, the couple at the adjacent table had to send back their fish and chips for being uncooked in the middle – they said the batter was nice though! I think for the price I would go for the Half Moon at Plumpton, though this would be worth trying again in a few months once the new owners have settled in.

Lemon verbena tea

Tasted like the tea we used to get at pregnancy yoga