Our farm is a network of small grass fields surrounded by limestone walls and blackthorn bushes. Our cattle and sheep graze these fields from spring to autumn. Every spring the blackthorn bushes turn into a carpet of brilliant white flowers as they put on their annual show. This burst of flowers signals the start of mid-spring and the grazing season.
This week we let the cattle out to graze the fields again until autumn. The flowers will bloom in the coming weeks. The grass will grow. The bushes will feed the bees in spring. Birds will build their nests in the safety of them. Our cattle will use the bushes to shelter from summer showers. In the autumn the blackthorn fruit ‘the sloe’ will feed the small birds and prepare them for winter. The cattle will leave the fields for the winter, and the land will rest as will the blackthorn.
Then we will do it all again next year.
The Blackthorn bushes are a fundamental part of our farm and they give their name to our Blackthorn Beef.