Regular visitors here and to my other blog, Everything but the Oink, will know that I have an ongoing relationship with Swillington Farm. I have been a purchaser of their organic meat and vegetables for some time and I recently sponsored one of their pigs. We have been visiting the farm every couple of weeks to visit Breakfast*, to check on his progress and pick up some treats from the farm shop. We recently got our first ever double yolker from one of their hens which had us both giddy with excitement!
We last visited Swillington on 9th June for Open Farm Sunday. As well as seeing how Breakfast was getting on, we could tour the whole farm, visiting the bees, sheep and cattle. We also wandered through the woods past Cockpit Round** and found the old Ice House. As well as the animals there was one thing that stood out on our tour of the farm.
Everywhere you looked there were signs reminding you that Swillington Farm, the walled garden, the fishing ponds, Ice House Woods, Cockpit Round, Breakfast's pen, are all scheduled for destruction. The High Speed 2 rail link to London will run right through the heart of Swillington destroying everything that Jo and her family have worked hard to create. I'm all in favour of building to boost the economy but I am yet to see a business case or argument that has convinced me that HS2 is a good idea. The fact that Swillington is affected just makes it worse.
That said, the signs of things that are not yet certain to come didn't stop us having a great day. I'm told that this was the best Open Farm Sunday that Swillington have hosted, with more visitors than ever finding out where their food comes from and how it is raised/grown. We couldn't leave the farm without visiting the shop on our way out and, for a change, we bought a pack of pigeon breasts rather than pork, beef or lamb.
We've had a whole pigeon in one of the meat boxes that we had delivered from Swillington in the past. It's one of my favourite game birds, but one pigeon does not really feed two people***. The packet of four pigeon breasts for £3.00 was a much better find for us. A simple warm salad of fried pigeon, sautéed beetroot and the first of the salad leaves from the back garden, was a perfect summer's evening meal. It was also a great way to round off a glorious weekend.
*Yes I have named my pig Breakfast, you can read all about him at Everything but the Oink.
**so named because cock fighting to place there after it was made illegal in 1863.
***not when they are as hungry as we are.