Why keep rare breeds?
To produce meat of the absolute highest standard, you need to keep only the finest breeds and make sure they lead happy, healthy lives in the great outdoors. This philosophy is at the heart of our sustainable rare breed farm – and it’s why our meat tastes as good as it does.
While the trend in modern farming has been to use imported breeds – animals which grow very large and very fast – we keep breeds that grow slowly, producing meat with a much deeper, more intense flavour and a superior texture.
Because our breeds are native to the British Isles, they’re also perfectly suited to our farm’s climate and landscape. This means they can be kept outside all winter, tucking into an all-natural diet of pasture grass and wildflowers.
Tamworth Pigs and Badger Face Sheep
Currently, the rare breeds we keep at The Orangery farm are Tamworth Pigs and Badger Face Sheep.
Tamworths are recognised across Britain and beyond for the extraordinary quality of their meat. In fact, you’ll find Tamworth pork on the menu in dozens of Michelin starred restaurants.
Badger Face Sheep, so called because of their black and white faces, can either be Torddu or Torwen. The Torwen are mostly black with white markings while the Torddu are white with black marks. They produce succulent lamb with a distinctive sweetness.
Thanks to our show-quality rams, we have an extremely high-quality flock. This breed, along with our Badger Face Mules, are also fantastic grazers, helping improve the quality of our pastures.
Putting nature first
‘Nature first’ is a new movement in sustainable farming. Combining traditional methods with modern technology, this approach is all about caring for the whole natural ecosystem by integrating the natural biological cycles of the land and animals.
Among other things, putting nature first has lead us to plant new hedgerows that encourage bees and other wildlife to flourish, regularly moving our animals so they don’t overgraze the grasslands, and avoiding unnatural chemical compounds.
Our other animals
Wander through the estate and you’re likely to spot a few other animals along the way. Our flock of sheep are protected by a team of alpaca, who fend off foxes and other predators. And our pet dog, Maia, is one of about 70 South African Mastiffs left in the world – a rare breed herself.
You might also see some of the area’s native wildlife including deer, herons, kestrels and even a family of wild minks.
Farming the future
For us, farming sustainably is simply common sense. Not only does it mean we’re able to produce higher quality meat today, but our family will be able to keep farming this plot of land for generations to come.
By championing nature first farming, we hope to inspire and educate more farms and smallholdings to take a more sustainable approach.