By Barbara Collins
The cliché of the farmer’s spouse making ‘pin cash’ with pots of jam is a well-worn trope, however usually it might probably result in a brand new course for a household farm.
Amanda Hanna from the north coast of Antrim and her husband, Arthur, farm on a 200-year-old dairy farm with 150 grass-fed dairy cows.
Milking takes up a big chunk of their time. Amanda says the milking parlour is her “favorite place to be” the place she will “neglect about all the pieces she has to do”.
From dairy to jams
Amanda determined to remain at residence after their third youngster and that was when she began making jams, preserves and chutneys calling them Jam on the Doorstep.
That was seven years in the past. They have been bought at a honesty field on the again door. “The identify comes from that previous custom,” Amanda defined. Then as demand grew, they opened a small farm store in November 2020.
Afternoon teas got here subsequent that are held in her farmhouse kitchen the place she additionally does some occasions.
Cookery demonstrations happen infrequently at neighborhood centres and a close-by former flax mill, however what Amanda can be keen about is her puddings. The Christmas pudding and a Sticky Toffee pudding have each gained stars on the Nice Style Awards.
Work is ongoing on a brand new farm store which they hope to open later within the 12 months.
“I nonetheless assist my husband, Arthur, milk the cows twice a day, however the orders and occasions make for a very nice selection in my life” she mentioned.
Cooperation – Farm Foodies
Amanda just lately joined forces together with her buddy Wendy Dempster who owns a avenue meals truck referred to as The Lamb Van. Wendy and her husband, Alan run a 50ac sheep farm.
She makes use of their Farm High quality Assured, grass-fed lamb in avenue meals dishes like lamb sausage rolls and likewise sells recent meat bins.
Wendy has joined forces with Farmer Time to coach main faculty youngsters about lamb and how many totally different cuts there are, “other than the leg which is essentially the most well-known to them”, Wendy remarked.
Wendy and Amanda are a part of a bunch are referred to as The Farm Foodies.
“We need to deliver the flavours of Co. Antrim to locals and neighbours by way of merchandise, workshops and meals experiences. There’s additionally the comfort of supply which makes it simpler for folks to assist native and in flip assist native farms,” Wendy defined.
“The social facet is essential to us. All of us grew up with the milkman and the bread van. This can be a return to that method of buying.
“It isn’t the one method folks store. We’re not pretending that it’s, however persons are liking the return to getting various things from totally different locations and interacting extra. The sense of neighborhood is essential.
“We’re open to new native meals growers and makers becoming a member of us. We’re dedicated to gradual meals and it makes absolute sense to eat in season and assist the agri-food neighborhood. You get more energizing produce, decrease meals miles and it tastes higher, too,” Amanda added.
Jams and chutneys are additionally the aspect hustle which has grown wings for Glen Black from Peggy’s Household Farm close to Tandragee in Armagh. The household farm continues to be a working dairy farm, however he has now gone part-time to deal with demand.
The most recent addition to the farm outbuildings is the “heshed” or jam kitchen.
“I used to make them in my residence kitchen which served me nicely,” Glen defined. “However this new house was badly wanted.
“I’m now busy sufficient to have gone down to 3 days per week at my job, which is coping with insurance coverage claims at a veterinary follow.
“I do two different days rising and producing and sooner or later at a market. It’s a good work-life stability; it’s excellent with a rising household,” Glen added.
Glen grows some greens in polytunnels and a glasshouse akin to heritage tomatoes, pumpkins, onions, peppers, chard, garlic, candy potatoes and chillies.
Leftover produce is bought in seasonal vegetable bins which is a reversal of how it began. He was rising greens and herbs throughout lockdown and promoting in bins.
The preserves have been made with the glut to his granny’s recipes however quick ahead a couple of years and the unique glasshouse has been joined by two polytunnels the place chillies and crops needing extra warmth are grown.
“I’m having fun with creating new recipes with issues which have by no means been grown on the farm earlier than. My granny may solely work with conventional elements like beetroot and carrots, however I like that I can add some new herbs and spices,” Glen continued.
“What began out very small has grow to be an vital a part of our lives and our farming earnings.”