It’s lovely to give at Christmas, but we can all sometimes struggle in the ideas department.
Tim Relf provides some suggestions for inspiration when it comes to gifts with a farming theme for family, friends and colleagues.
The Curiosity Club is the new initiative from Cure & Simple, which sells hand-cured, air-dried bacon – delivered through the post to your home.
Managing director Charlie Pyper’s farming roots inspired this Hertfordshire-based enterprise which sells a range of artisan products online featuring “perfect pork from Great British farms”.
Join The Curiosity Club and, on the last Friday of every month, you or your bacon-loving loved one will receive a specially developed pack of bacon with a recipe idea.
All 12 flavour profiles – including Indian Curried Bacon and sticky American Bourbon Bacon – are created by the firm’s in-house chef.
Limited to 1,000 customers, the concept will be a “gourmand’s adventure from every corner of the globe”.
The welcome pack, which will be delivered on 19 December, will give a description of the curing process and the 12 flavour profiles.
Price: A year’s membership costs £70
No more wet dog
OK, so farm dogs can usually cope with having to dry off outside, but occasionally a drying coat can be a huge help to avoid having to rub that hound down with soggy towels or get shake-off on carpets or sofas.
Family business Ruff And Tumble sells “robes” made from double-thickness, soft cotton towelling which are simple to put on and take off, and work wonders in minutes.
The majestic Lab pictured is wearing a design from luxury Country range which, sized large, is priced at £49.
Price: Size and style dependent, starting at £26
Send a card with a distinctly dairy feel – a picture of “Moodolph” the Christmas cow.
It’s the handiwork of Helen Thompstone who, after growing up on a Staffordshire dairy farm, studied a degree in Fine Art in London before returning to her rural roots.
While working alongside her family on the farm, she set up her studio and by 2010 had created her first card designs.
Since then the business, called A Farmer’s Daughter, has added stationery and giftware products to its range.
Price: A pack of five cards costs £5
Burmese beef curry, New York veal parmigiana, smoked brisket and bone marrow dumplings are among the 150 beef recipes in Richard H Turner’s book Prime.
Having previously penned the bestselling Hog, the chef and butcher has produced an “ode to all things beef”.
Covering cuts, styles of preparation and recipes from around the world – plus features on breeds, butchering and buying meat – Prime would appeal to carnivores everywhere.
It’s published in hardback by Octopus.
Know someone who likes a reliable, no-fuss handset? The CAT B35 is a rugged 4G feature phone that’s waterproof to 1.2m for up to 35 minutes, has been drop-tested from 1.8m on to concrete, is dust-proof and can withstand extreme temperatures.
The makers say the B35 is ideal for those looking to reduce their on-screen time but who still need access to fast internet browsing and essential apps.
The battery will give you 12 hours’ talk time and 30 days’ standby.
Alternatively, for someone who likes a phone with more bells and whistles – and has an adventurous spirit – consider the Land Rover Explore.
Designed in collaboration with the vehicle maker, it has a long battery life, withstands drops and extremes in temperature, and is waterproof.
An adventure pack add-on is included, with a built-in GPS antenna and topographical mapping for navigation plus an additional battery.
It’s a date
Support one of your favourite charities, The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi), with one of its 2019 calendars.
Rabi changes lives for the better by offering financial support to farming people in hardship of all ages in England and Wales (a sister charity, RSABI, operates in Scotland).
Its annual “Farming in Focus” calendar, supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, helps to raise awareness of its work as well as funds to keep it operating.
Professional agricultural photographers have donated the images – including this cover shot by Anthony Mosley.
Price: The calendar is available in two formats – a wall calendar which costs £7.50 and a desk calendar costing £4.
This depiction of a curious child – and equally curious collie – has proved popular with parents and grandparents, according to Northumberland-based artist Kate Simpson.
“There is an abundance of inspiration in this most beautiful of England’s counties,” she says.
Although being “a little bit obsessed” with horses, she also enjoys painting livestock, pets and a range of wildlife – everything from puffins to pandas.
“I love the challenge of unusual subjects, as well as trying to the capture the unique personality that every animal has,” she says.
Price: Titled “The Morning Check”, a giclee print of the original mixed-media painting, sized 38.1 x 27.94cm, is priced at £30.
Located in Wiltshire and part of Ramsbury Estates, the Ramsbury Brewery began making beer in 2004 and has since added gin and vodka to its offering.
“Each year we select a single field on the estate to harvest and supply the distillery with enough wheat for a full year’s production,” it says.
“We have total control over the process and can tell you which field grew the wheat in any particular bottle.
“We have selected Horatio as the variety of wheat we distil with; we found it gave the best flavour when combined with our state-of-the-art distillery.”
Price: a 700ml bottle of gin is priced at £35
“I took over my family farm from my grandfather when I was younger. We’ve always had to try to create new things to make the farm pay because we’re only small – and the fireballs fitted in perfectly,” says Andy Gage, who set up the The Firepit Company.
The artist makes these beautiful spherical objects which work as patio heaters or garden sculptures.
The Suffolk farmer’s diversification has grown rapidly and, as well as a standard collection with themes such as “The English Country Ball” and “The Equestrian Ball”, Andy creates custom-commissioned items.
Price: A 900mm standard collection fireball costs £1,449.
Fancy a coffee?
Created by American Alan Adler, the AeroPress is a “revolutionary” way of making a single cup of coffee.
The genesis of the idea was a conversation he once had about how, when you tried to make a single cup of coffee in a drip machine, it came out watery.
Fast-forward more than a decade and this portable and simple-to-use device is now sold in more than 60 countries.
Devotees say the AeroPress, which uses gentle air pressure and has a brew time of less than 30 seconds, gives a delicious flavour.
Price: Buy it on Amazon for about £25
Tractor Travels is the newest book in the “Farmer Christmas” series.
Follow the new adventure as Farmer Christmas visits farms around the globe on Christmas Eve, delivering presents with his trusty tractor and trailer.
Fun and educational, it’s written by Catherine Baddeley, who lives on the family farm with her husband and two young boys, and is illustrated by Sophie Baugh-Jones.
Catherine, who was inspired to write by her own childhood growing up in rural Devon, is passionate about getting children to read and promoting the importance of education in teaching children about the countryside, farming and food production.
For the budding farmer
Farm Toys Online was launched by Julia Lowe, whose three kids all loved farm toys but who found she was “getting in a tangle” going from shop to shop and site to site trying to hunt down their favourite items.
So she founded the business in 2008 and it now sells a range of international brands, as well as smaller British ones.
“Designed for little hands”, this Bruder model of a Schaffer loader is made from strong plastic and is suitable for indoors and outdoors play.
A 1:16 scale model, it measures about 29 x 21 x 12cm and includes figure and accessories.
Originally specialising in agricultural photography, Anthea Kitching has branched out by launching the Kitchy & Co range of cards and gifts featuring country images.
North Yorkshire-based Anthea now makes a range of products featuring her images and has customers as far afield as Canada, the US and Australia.
One item especially for children – and featuring some of her best, fun farm animal images – is the set of 16 colouring pages.
These come in a folder to keep them neat and tidy. Each sheet can be coloured in and shared with family and friends or displayed on a wall.
Get a year’s subscription to Farmers Weekly magazine, the digital edition and unlimited access to FWi.co.uk for just £138.
All print subscribers now get the digital edition included free of charge, available to download on your tablet or mobile to read at your convenience.
YFC members get 35% off subscription prices and, if you are a student, we will give you 50% off. Just head over to our student subscriptions page for more details.
Prices: Farmers Weekly magazine: £138, or web+: £100*.
*Prices exclusive of VAT
Whether you buy one for yourself or as a gift, the 2019 Farmers Weekly diary will more than earn its keep.
Bound in top-quality, hard-wearing grained Green Balacron with special Farmers Weekly gold blocking, gilt edge pages and useful ribbon marker, it looks the business.
It’s super handy too, with column entry for each day, including appointment times, notes and address pages. You can plan ahead with the year planners, three-year calendars, list of special dates and general info pages. There’s also 16 pages of full-colour maps covering the whole of the British Isles.
Buy online or call 01372 320036 to place your order.
Price: £24.99 including postage