Struggling to find the perfect present for Christmas?
Getting a great gift for a member of a farming family is never easy and, if the Covid-19 pandemic curtails high-street trips, shopping this year could be harder than usual.
For a flash of inspiration, check out our suggestions. We’ve selected some of the brilliant gifts made or sold by farmers as part of diversifications, to highlight the vital role such enterprises play across the UK.
Fifth-generation cattle farmer Hayley Hanson uses hides from her own and other local farms to create unique leather artisan products.
Based in Brecon, where she keeps pedigree British Blue and Aberdeen Angus cattle, she’s been making luxury bags, accessories and homeware in her studio on the farm since 2011.
“It’s the only luxury brand in the world using leather from Wales,” says Hayley.
The round pumpkin handbag is the latest addition to the collection. Crafted from soft tan leather, it features cross-hatched stitching on the reverse.
Roomy enough for everyday use (23cm diameter and 8cm depth), the bag has a top handle and removable cross-body strap, so it is smart enough for the evening, too.
it comes in a choice of two zip finishes: gold or silver tone, and a metal chain strap is available as an optional extra.
The price is £225 with the leather strap, and £265 with the metal chain strap.
For more details, visit hayleyhanson.co.uk
West Country Premium Venison
Cornish farmers Matt and Pip Smith launched West Country Premium Venison to tap into the rising demand for British venison.
They established a deer enterprise in 2016 to complement their sheep flock, near Bodmin.
Alongside all their usual products, they’re offering three festive treats: The Luxury Christmas Box, The Premium Christmas Box and The Indulgence Christmas Box.
All include items from their festive recipe selection, plus delicious Cornish treats to complement your Christmas cooking plans.
The rolled loin with festive winter fruit pork-and-venison stuffing (pictured) is the showstopper of the Indulgence box, accompanied by festive sausagemeat, special recipes sausages, traditional venison and lamb sausages. award-winning steak cuts, diced venison for winter stews.
it also includes a selection of Cornish goodies, such as Padstow Coffee and Trenance Chocolates, along with a branded beech-wood chopping board and cooking utensil.
The Luxury, Premium and Indulgence Christmas boxes are priced at £80, £140 and £195, respectively.
For more details, visit westcountrypremiumvenison.co.uk
Raw sheep’s milk soap
Made with raw sheep’s milk and a blend of pure essential oils, these traditional chunky soaps restore a healthy balance to the skin, says Caroline Scott.
Somerset-based Caroline had the idea for turning sheep’s milk into soaps after realising that the reason her hard-working farming hands never needed special rescue remedies was because of the restorative qualities in the milk she was handling.
Her research showed that milk had been a beauty product for thousands of years, revered for its revitalising and soothing qualities.
Ewe’s milk is the ideal raw material, she says. It’s naturally homogenised, rich in butterfat and proteins, with almost double the amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in other milks.
After teaming up with UK soap makers to create her range, her New Ewe Spa diversification was born.
Made from 100% natural ingredients with fragrances to suit all the family, these soaps leave skin refreshed and moisturised.
A pack of three 155g soaps is £21.
For more details, visit newewespa.com
Fancy some delicious cheese at Christmas while also supporting young farmers?
The British Food Box – founded by two members of Netherseal Young Farmers’ Club in Leicestershire – is offering this YFC-branded cheese box for £20, with £4 from each one sold going to the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.
Purchases will support young entrepreneurs John Davies and Hannah Kinston, plus give a boost to the YFC movement which, like so many charities, has experienced a marked decline in income as a result of the Covid pandemic.
“We’ve always loved YFC and have gained so much from being members that this felt like a way we could give something back,” says Hannah.
The box consists of four 200g truckles – a strong cheddar; a vintage Red Leicester; a Red Leicester with mango chutney; and a chilli smoked cheddar.
For more details, visit britishfoodbox.co.uk
The idea for tableware featuring farm animals came to Di Dawes when she was finding it hard to buy a plate, bowl and cup set that would suit her two young children.
Fast-forward quite a few years and the family are now selling such sets across the UK, in tandem with running a Romney Sheep, Lincoln Red Beef and Pygmy Goat farm, near Kinross, East Scotland.
Based on real-life animal characters from their family farm, the rural designs depict Jessica the Jersey Cow and her best friends, Pip and Squeak the Piglets, on either the plate, bowl or cup. Fenella the Friendly Fox can also be found hiding on each piece.
Sure to bring a touch of fun to any mealtime, this three-piece set is made from top-quality melamine and is dishwasher safe. The price is £11.
For more details, visit dawesfarming.bigcartel.com
This sparkling white wine is made with seyval and madeleine angevine grapes grown at Little Wold Vineyard in Yorkshire – one of the finalists in the diversification category of the Farmers Weekly Awards 2020.
Made using the traditional double fermentation method, Tom’s Cuvee 2018 is described as “crisp, with notes of green apple, gooseberry and citrus fruits”.
It is named after Tom Wilson, who is a third-generation member of the family working at the East Riding business.
The family say planting their first vines in 2012 was “perhaps our most ambitious project to date”, with a four-year wait for the first harvest. The venture has gone from strength to strength and is now run in tandem with a range of other enterprises.
A WineGB 2020 Bronze Medal winner, Tom’s Cuvee is £25 a bottle.
For more details, visit littlewoldvineyard.co.uk
Laura Brewer has turned her love of painted nails into a business. Before launching Pink Wellies Nails, she worked for a farm and food software company, but opted not to go back after maternity leave.
The former-Harper Adams University student, whose husband Pete and his family run a Duchy farm in Herefordshire, retrained as a nail technician. She had been offering manicures pre-Covid, but is focusing on selling custom-made press-on nails online to the farming community.
As well as farm-themed nails, Laura has launched these designs for Christmas (pictured). Prices are £10/set (with a 50p/nail supplement for any featuring additional art).
For more details, contact Laura via facebook.com/pinkwelliesnails
Real farming read
Farmers Weekly columnist Charlie Flindt chronicled his daily life in 2015 and Sweet Home Hinton Ampner: The Tenant Farmer’s Diary is the result.
The book is an account of life on a 380ha heavy land farm at Hinton Ampner in Hampshire. It’s not, he says, about “cuddly bunny farming or agriculture as the BBC or The Guardian wish it to be – but a proper record of real farming”.
You’ll find musings on the weather, farming activities, family life, trips to the pub, plus “assorted disgusting illnesses”. A positive insight into conventional farming, told in Charlie’s trademark wry style.
Published by Tricorn Books, it is available for £11.99 on Amazon and eBay.
Highland cow children’s leggings
These cosy leggings featuring a colourful Highland cow provide perfect comfort for your little one.
They’re available from A Love and a Kiss – an online toy and clothes store run by Nicola Craven from her family farm in East Yorkshire.
Nicola launched the business on the pig and arable farm seven years ago after a career in retail – keen to provide durable, multi-function toys at a reasonable price with a business that also fitted around the farming calendar.
“I wanted to share the joy, the learning experiences and, of course, the moments of blissful peace that some toys can provide,” explains Nicola.
“All the toys and clothes we sell have experienced the most extreme testing and faced a very strict panel of judges – my two kids, Phoebe and Stanley!”
The leggings come in sizes 6-12 months, 1-2 years and 2-3 years and cost £10.
For more details, visit aloveandakiss.co.uk
A Farmers Weekly subscription!
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If you know someone who wants to read news, views and advice on diversification – and indeed any other farming topic – then a Farmers Weekly gift subscription is the perfect pressie.
It’s available as a six- or 12-month subscription, with 25% off and the bumper Christmas issued delivered to you so you can give it all wrapped up as a present.
To order your subscription online or call 0330 333 9694 and quote code XMAS25.