Linnels Farm celebrates the British countryside through its varied annual calendar of 75 seasonal workshops and the importation of bulbs and flowers direct from Holland.

Autumn is the busiest period for the farm with the launch of their notable and much-loved bulb catalogue. Find out more from the team including how they find a new use for much of their Falcon on the farm each and every week.

You have been renovating Linnels for many years, how did you initially find the farm?
It was one of those chance encounters - a family cycle ride and we decided to pop into one of our favourite pubs ‘The Rat’ at Anick (their rib of beef has become a family favourite) - this involved going over Linnels Bridge and as we waited at the top of the bank we saw the For Sale sign. Simon, my husband, said ‘let’s go down the long drive and see what’s there’ - I said ‘no way we’ll get the details next week’. He departed for work in London on Monday, the details arrived on Tuesday and it was the best and final offer in 2 weeks time! We booked a viewing (along with many other people who didn’t even get out of their cars when they arrived in the very muddy farmyard). Our offer was accepted and we thought we’d manage to sell our house quickly - in fact it took over 3 years. When people used to come and see what we’d bought they’d just go quiet… it took 2 years of work before they could see why we’d fallen in love with the place.

Your 2023 bulb catalogue has recently launched, what can people expect when they order bulbs from you?
Much like a gambling addiction, I have a tulip addiction and the easiest way to fund it was by importing tulip bulbs direct from Holland. A mutual friend introduced me to Sabina Ruber, a Swiss garden photographer, who manages to capture the true personality of each tulip flower, be it buxom, peony beauties, single striped (flamed) goblets, or simply the wackiest flower forms ever, like this year’s ‘Rasta Parrot’ which Sabina describes as ‘Bonkers!’ Going direct to Holland means we can specify the size of the bulb we buy; bulbs get measured around their fattest part (if I was a tulip bulb I’d command a high price). Smaller bulbs are much cheaper but run the risk of drying out. When our bulbs were inspected by the bulb inspector last year (post Brexit things have changed dramatically) she commented on the quality of the bulbs saying it wasn’t what she normally saw when inspecting. Plus our customers send us lovely pictures of their gardens flowering in spring. We sell beautiful Flare & Flame gift collections which are devised by Sabina to flower at the same time and in colourful harmony; the best thing about those is you get thanked when you give them as a gift and then you get thanked again when they flower.

Could you tell us more about the appeal of Falcon enamelware products to you?
We live to eat at Linnels Farm. There is nearly always something in the oven in preparation for a course but it's even more enjoyable when you use a beautiful tin. Not only are they versatile for baking but they are perfect for serving too which makes life easier. The natural colours we stock in our shop sit well in our countryside setting and complement the interior space.

How do you use your Falcon within your workshops and within your home?
We run a wide range of workshops from cookery to floristry and Falcon is used on all of our courses.The colourful 3 pint jugs compliment our cut flower and tulip arranging courses and the various shaped tins are used time and time again for numerous home cooked bakes from sticky lardy cakes to Sally Lunn's buns. We use the utensil pots on all of the cookery courses and find a new use for them every week. Each Friday the jugs display homegrown flowers to welcome our guests in the holiday let.

What does Autumn/Winter look like for Linnels? 
When we first started running courses we focused on gardening so we envisaged autumn and winter getting quieter, in reality it's quite the opposite. Autumn is our busiest time taken up with packaging 100,000 bulbs to be sent out to their new homes plus running autumnal cooking courses such a Chutney and Chilli Jam; or the Pasta Masterclass using our home-grown pumpkins as a ravioli filling. Then we’re straight into our Christmas courses -we can never put enough Christmas wreath course online since people come back year after year (I’d like to say it’s our teaching but I think the Danish Glogg and Danish Kringle Cake we serve may have a lot to do with it) Then it’s full steam ahead with courses getting ready for Christmas in advance so people feel less frazzled for ‘the big day’ or have had some much-needed down time before the chaos commences. January is down-time at Linnels Farm.

Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you and the team usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
We have a monthly Farmers Market in Hexham where you can pick up a nice range of local produce. We recently discovered Stonehouses Smokery based in Cumbria who make delicious charcuterie and some Nduja which we enjoyed recently on homemade pizza. When we have a sweet tooth we head to Dream World Cakes, a family run patisserie in Newcastle's Ouseburn area.
If you ask Simon who is a creature of habit he would recommend the Beaumont in the centre of Hexham overlooking the park however we usually like to try somewhere new. It's our customers generally who recommend wonderful places to try and we have created a wish list: Barrio Comida in Durham, Ophelia in Gosforth and the recently opened gastropub the Kirkstyle Inn, Slaggyford.



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