Our family run farm is a mixture of arable crops and livestock, based on the old Chiseldon army camp.
Our aim is to breed and raise top quality animals that produce succulent, full flavoured meat. We believe that happy, stress-free animals produce a higher quality, more tender meat. With this in mind, our animals are traditionally reared allowing a good quality of life in a low stress environment.
Our cows are a cross between Simmentals and Aberdeen Angus. The Simmental cow is a large breed which finishes well, and by crossing these with the Angus breed, we have developed more marbling in the meat. Our cattle roam the fields during the spring, summer and autumn, and come into the warm, straw filled barn for the wet winter weather. They are a bit molly-coddled and let us know when they think that it is time that they were tucked up inside for the winter by standing at the gate and bellowing at us!
We breed and rear Gloucester Old Spot cross pigs. The Old Spot is noted for producing wonderful tasting pork and bacon, and by crossing these with a commercial breed we get a slightly longer back on the animal for better bacon. They spend most of their lives with us outside, where we use them as part of a rotation to clear grass from the fields so that they are ready for reseeding with grass. Using pigs means that they fertilise the land for us at the same time as clearing the old vegetation.
Our main flock of sheep are the Lleyn breed. The breed originates from Wales and are noted as being exceptional mothers producing healthy, live lambs. We also have a few Badger Faced Welsh Mountain and Kerry Hill Sheep, which we keep mainly because they look pretty.
We have a flock of one hundred hens on the farm. They are a breed called Piggott’s Brown and lay lovely large, brown eggs. they are kept in a wooded area on the farm where they enjoy scratching about amongst the trees. Occasionally you may find a blue coloured egg that has found its way to the shop — these are from our two Cotswold Legbar chickens who we originally purchased as pets, but have ended up living with the commercial flock.
The development of the farm shop
A few years ago we started to sell our farm reared meat direct to customers in the local area and at markets. Through this we realised that there was a demand for a farm shop close to Swindon where people could buy locally sourced meat and groceries, so we decided to open one. We can now link up customers with lovely, quality products from local suppliers, plus it beats standing at a cold market stall in the middle of winter!