In August several of us spent a very interesting day at Hampsthwaite village hall at a federation event called Celebrating Yorkshire. There were several interesting speakers, all of course with a Yorkshire theme.
The first speaker was from Wharfe Valley Farms in Collingham. Wharfe Valley Farms make rapeseed oil, they diversified into manufacturing in order to ensure the farm could support their son as well. They harvest the seeds using traditional methods rather than the modern method of using chemicals. They then press the seeds to extract the oil in order to preserve the natural nutritional values of the oil.They now make several types of oils and the waste product is made into briquettes for burning in a woodburner.
We then enjoyed a cookery demonstration, where despite tribulations with the sound system, we were shown five different recipes; pea & mint soup, summer baked Wensleydale chicken, fish parcels, lamb wellington and apple and bramble brad and butter pudding. Even better we all got a copy of the recipes to try at home. After all those lovely smells we were all ready for lunch.
As there was so many of us lunch was provided in picnic form, which was great, we could sit outside in the sunshine to eat our delicious packed lunch.
Our next speaker was a very entertaining gentleman from Wensleydale Creamery, he told us all about the history of the company and about the production of cheese, all whilst making cheese in front of us in a mixing bowl, just using his hands.
The highlight of the day for me was the last speaker, the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Amanda grew up in Huddersfield with absolutely no farming background but decided as a teenager that she wanted to be a shepherdess, much to the amusement of the careers officer.
She told us of her journey to get to her dream of being a shepherdess and her life at the top of Swaledale in a remote farmhouse with her husband and nine children.
Throughout her talk she had a stream of beautiful photos of the farm in all weathers, her family and her work. It was an inspiring talk of following your dream.