101 years ago today, on the 22nd April 1922, the Valuation for the sale of Bradfields Farm from Mr Thomas Rayner to Mr Richard AJ Lambert was drawn up by Messers Ramsey of Rochford.
Our great grandfather bought the farm for our grandfather to run. The valuation shows the farm growing a wide range of crops including Lucerne, Wheat, Peas, Spring Oats, Winter Oats, Winter Beans and Roots. The details show that some fields had been cultivated using a steam engine.
With the farm came a Chestnut Suffolk Punch mare called Smiler who my father remembers well, and three other horses Gispy, Jumbo and Blossom. The farm was home to 1 blue heifer, 1 white heifer, I red heifer and black polled cow, and a red and white shorthorn cow and heifer. With them there were 10 shorthorn yearlings and 11 calves.
The final animals listed as being on the farm were a sow and piglets and 68 Rhode Island Red chickens, 3 leghorn cockerels and 3 guinea fowl.
The chickens with their mobile houses about where the back of the cow shed now stands.
Somewhat delayed, this is what we were up to on the farm during the last month.
In February we cultivated the fields ready for the seed to be sown and then March was all about getting the crops in the ground.
We use a machine called a drill to literally drill the seed into the soil. Drills can be very hi tech and precise and the details of when and how to drill needs a lot of thought in order to get a good crop. The drill has a hopper where you put the seed. This is Spring Barley going into the hopper.
The drill uses a fan to separate the seeds and sends them down a series of tubes. The tubes sit by a tine (a sharp point) which creates a narrow furrow for the seed and creates neat rows of evenly drilled seeds. This will create rows of plants when the seeds germinate and grow.
helsea’s new best friend has been getting bigger. She and her friends have moved up the road to their new home with all our other calves, but not before a good groom and a cuddle.
Slippery When Wet – Strawberry Yogurt Gin Cocktail
Naughty but nice, this is a fragant refreshing strawberry gin drink originally created by New York’s Death & Co. This version of the recipe uses our product of the month, our Strawberry Probiotic Drinking Yogurt.
The recipe is :
30ml Strawberry Drinking Yogurt 10ml Lemon Juice 10ml Honey 30ml Gin or Pink Gin Combine in a cocktail shaker with 100ml ice Garnish with sliced strawberry
Something to enjoy during the warm. sunny Spring weather! Cheers!
February on the farm is all about getting ready for the spring. As a livestock farm we want to use all of our nutrient rich cow manure as natural fertiliser for crops we plan to grow but the farmers are not allowed to spread manure on the fields during the winter to prevent runoff into rivers. We can restart towards the end of February so at the end of the month we will be naturally fertilizing the fields where we plan to grow maize for the cows winter feed.
In the meantime we are getting the other fields that we started cultivating in the autumn ready to be drilled with seed. We don’t grow a lot of crops, some barley for the cows to eat but we do reseed some of our grass fields each year.
In the autumn we spread manure on to the fields and ploughed it in. Outside the dairy shop we have the old horse drawn plough that was used on the farm when my grandfather started.
Farmer Nick now uses a reversable 3 furrow plough on the tractor, our arable farming neighbours use equipment more that 3 times the size. The plough turns over the top 30cm of soil burying the manure and leaving furrow lines in the field. Our heavy clay soil bakes hard like bricks in the summer and these are left through the winter for the weather to soften.
Now we are in February, the next stage of cultivation is under way. We use a power harrow to go over the ploughed land. The power harrow has spikes/tines which rotate and break up the top layer of the soil and the a roller on the back crumbles and smooths it to create a seed bed ready to be sown.
The seagulls love following the tractor when we do cultivations as moving the soil uncovers lots of things for them to eat.
The latest addition to the Mint Family on the farm is the delightful Viennetta. Not quite as pure white as some of her wider family, but definitely a mint and Chelsea’s new baby. Viennetta is going to be halter trained so she can come out and see people and go to agricultural shows, so we will be following her journey through the year. At the moment there is nothing she likes more than a good chin rub and cuddle.
Our pouring yogurt is a stirred yogurt with a very sharp tangy taste to it. It is made with fresh whole milk and a traditional starter culture which uses 2 yogurt cultures Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
The milk and cultures are incubated overnight and then chilled before stirring to create a smooth thick but pourable natural yogurt.
Pouring Yogurt – What should I eat it with?
If you like a sharp yogurt then this can be eaten or drunk on its own.
It works particularly well with muesli, granola and fresh fruit where the sweetness balances the sharpness of the yogurt and can be also be used for cooking or stirred into curry.
Anything else about it?
On the farm we call it Orange Top because it used to have an orange cap but it is changing to White as our suppliers no longer stock the orange tops.
Want to try it? If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a sample bottle and you still want to try it sample shots will be available on request Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February.
Welcome to our first blog in some time and apologies for the very long wait from us!
When my Grandfather Reg Lambert was young, he dreamt of being a farmer. His parents decided to send him off to the Middle East to work on the telegraph (morse code) and see the world and forget farming. He returned to England with malaria and a continued desire to live his farming dream.
In spring 1922 he took on part of a small farm called Bradfields. He kept the farm going through the Depression, the Second World War and numerous other challenging times. So 2022 should have been a year of celebration for 100 years of Lamberts farming at Bradfields, but the year began with our mother’s funeral and was swiftly followed by Dad having a 7 week stay in hospital with a badly broken leg and a further 6 months of physio and recovery. So fair to say we weren’t really in a celebratory mood for our centenary.
But a new year always brings fresh start and 2023 will be our 101st birthday and that is worth celebrating too.
In the USA 101 is used as the code for a beginners education course and 101 is commonly used to mean an introduction to a topic. So in 2023 we are going to bring you the 101 to Bradfields Farm to celebrate our 101st birthday and introduce to a bit more information about what we do on the farm.
Our Plans for the Year
Blogs and Newsletters
We have been a little uncommunicative recently due to everything that has been going on with us. But we aim to get back on track with regular blogs to let you know what is happening on the farm, with an email newsletter each season for those who like a more traditional approach. Our blogs will be available on the website and links sent out via Facebook. If you want to sign up to our newsletter you can sign up to receive them via our website.
We will be restarting our “on the farm farmers markets” after Easter when the fields should be dry enough for parking (fingers crossed). Dates for the Dairy Diary
Saturday 15th April (provisional depending on the weather)
Saturday 13th May
Saturday 10th June
Saturday 15th July
Saturday 19th August
Saturday 16th September
Saturday 14th October (provisional depending on the weather)
Farm Open Day
This year we are holding our annual Farm Open Day a little early than normal so it can be our Centenary Plus One Celebration on Saturday 13th May
Farm Tours and Cheese Tastings
Once the weather improves and the farm is a little less muddy, we will be restarting our bookings for group tours and cheese tastings which we stopped doing due to Covid. So you can learn a little bit about the farm, how cheese is made and taste our different products. We also hope to set up regular family calf feeding and milk experiences this year which, we already get lots of enquiries for.
Product of the month
We also want to tell you a bit more about our products, how we make them and how you can cook with them or just what to eat with them. Starting this weekend with our crème fraiche.
Crème Fraiche – What is it?
Crème Fraiche is a sour cream with a high fat content, that means it doesn’t curdle as much as sour cream when you cook with it and it is beautifully rich and thick. We make ours using our 65% extra thick cream and little bit of milk and a probiotic starter culture which gives it a mild but lemony tang. It is kept warm for 24 hours to let the taste develop, poured warm into our pots and deep chilled to set making it thick and spoon able, but it will pour if stirred or warmed. Because we use a probiotic starter culture, it is good for the guts like yogurt but much sweeter and creamer to taste.
Crème Fraiche – What should I eat it with?
Crème Fraiche is often used to swirl into soups, it is used make salmon pates, pasta dishes, and salad dressings or anywhere you would use sour crème, but it is so versatile it can be used as a sweet addition too because it is so creamy and rich. You can uses it a straight replacement for double cream on scones, soft fruit or fruit pies and puddings.
Anything else about it?
You can turn Crème Fraiche into mascarpone by straining it and adding a little sugar.
Want to try it?
If you haven’t tried our crème fraiche yet we are giving away free mini pots this Saturday 28th January while stocks last. So why not pop done and have taste or take a sample away with you.
We had our 4th Birthday on Sunday 28th February and had our first Mini Farmers Market of the year to celebrate it. It was quite a small market to get started again in the current climate with stalls set up in and around the shop and buildings. It was popular though and Flour and Spoon’s bread and pastries were particularly fast in selling out! Thank you to everyone who came along.
Now that things are warming up, we will be having mini farmers markets here on Sundays every 4 weeks from 11.00am to 2.30pm, starting with a small one on the 2nd May. We will have some fine local producers of rare breed pork; bread pastries and other goodies; preserves and sauces. Also our own veg boxes and, of course, the freshest dairy produce that you can buy!
Now that the cows are out in the fields, we will be clearing the covered barn of the winter straw and will be having the summer markets in there giving us a bit more space for parking our visitors. All of the planned dates for these are on our Farmer’s Markets page.
While we have recently harvested our crop of barley, we (and the cows) await the new maize harvest that we normally take at the end of September. This is what the maize clamp that held last Summer’s harvest looks like now – nearly empty, all eaten up by the cows along with the barley and other silage during the winter months.
Come September this is what will happen to the fields of maize that are now vigorously growing. Harvesting and chopping up…
… and putting in the clamp.
… and covering over and storing
… to be munched by the cows
… and repeat. They don’t half eat a lot those cows!
On this misty morning it was time for the cows to go out into the fields for the first time this year. It was grey and cool first thing but the girls didn’t seem to mind as they headed out towards the fields.
Some of them get a bit carried away and prance about the fields and kick out with their legs.
… and after all the excitement it’s time to munch on some fresh grass.
The girls will be out on the grass now until the Autumn, but will stay in their covered barn at night until the temperature gets a little warmer.
We have intended to re-commence a regular blog for some time. The recent world wide events mean that there’s a lot to cover right now, so now is as good a time as any to re-start. We will try to keep it regular from now though, promise.
Many things carry on much as normal at the Farm with the daily routine of milking and feeding. The cows are, of course, oblivious and looking forward to going out very soon onto the grass for the summer. The ground is firming up nicely now that the earlier rains have reduced and there is lots of fresh grass out there in the fields.
Our Dairy Shop continues to be open to the public every day although, like all shops now, the use of it has changed in accordance with the social distancing rules explained on the notices outside. Demand had risen as more local people are using the shop of their doorstep, rather than the supermarket – one of the few positive things to come out of all of this. The same goes for all the farm shops that we deliver to as most of them are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand. We have been working flat out since the middle of the month to provide what the locals are now demanding from those shops as they make their short, essential trips. A lot of milk but Mooberry (our small van) is doing her best!
We have had a number of enquries as to whether we do local deliveries. We don’t currently do doorstep deliveries from the Farm, but are aware that some of the shops that we deliver our products to do local deliveries for those in isolation. Flour and Spoon Artisan Bakery in Leigh on Sea deliver every Friday, including our milk, to the Southend area as far as Benfleet. All orders are via their website at www.flourandspoon.com and are contactless delivery only – you need to leave your phone number. Lathcoats Farm shop in Baddow, Stockbrook farm shop in Stock and Jamie’s Fruit and Veg Box in Bicknacre also do local deliveries, now including our milk. In the Braintree area Deersbrook Farm, Littles Lane also deliver. Do contact any of the above if you are in their area.
As some of you may know we have for the last couple of years been donating any spare milk to the Chess homeless night shelter in Chelmsford when we have any available. Spare milk is somewhat of a rarity at the moment but we still trying to make sure we get a delivery to them every week and we have also started donating milk to the Benfleet community helpers food bank who are supporting the vulnerable people in isolation in the local area.
Further afield into London, we have made the decision to take a break from the London markets for at least the next week and probably beyond that. Of course, we want to keep serving our customers with their weekly essentials, but have also to be aware of the potential risks, both to them and to us. We will miss our customers at Blackheath, Parliament Hill, Pimlico and Wimbledon markets, but hope to be back there soon. It’s not just a question of safety but one of capacity too – we have had to split our small team into two separate halves to give the business some resilience and this has reduced our capacity for making all the extras we take to London.
We will post on the website and on Facebook with any updates about what we are able to do when. For now, we are massively busy trying to meet the local demand and will do our best to do so. These are truly strange times and, like everyone, we will see where it takes us.