At last … the Runner Ducks are running again!

A very happy week at the farm as, after 5 months locked inside due to Avian Flu Restrictions, our Indian Runner and Cayuga Ducks were released to run around the farm and do what they were bought for – eat slugs! Beautiful and entertaining in their own right, the Runners are a key part of our new, integrated no-dig approach to farming. Ensuring the soil is always covered, whether with mulch or plants, is very important for growing the soil – increasing its fertility, moisture retention, carbon sequestration and bio-diversity. Most of our beds have been covered with.a thick layer of straw mulch over the winter and this is yielding huge dividends as this dry Spring progresses – where the bare earth is increasingly cracked and set like concrete, the soil in our raised beds is moist and friable. One risk of this approach, however, is that we are also creating ideal conditions for slugs to proliferate in the shelter of the straw. That’s where the ducks come in – as you can see in the photo above, the ducks are treading carefully between our strawberry plants and burrowing under the straw in search of slugs and their most favoured food – slug eggs!. In return for their new found freedom, they are rewarding us with an abundance of delicious eggs!

These wonderful eggs, about the same size as a large hen’s egg but with a far richer, creamier yolk, are fantastic for baking – their extra strong albumen is perfect for meringue making. Do come and buy some in the shop or sample them cooked in the restaurant where we will be serving Worton Duck Egg Shakshuka, Leek Vinaigrette with Duck Egg and Globe Artichoke with Duck Egg Hollondaise.

A slightly Seventies feel to the menu then this weekend with our delicious Braised Endive with Bayonne ham and Cheese Sauce now accompanied by Hampton Gay Beef Stroganoff. Why not finish your meal with the baked East End Cheesecake?
We look forward to welcoming you to the farm again this week, whether you come to shop, to breakfast, to lunch or, on Saturday, for dinner.