Everything has a value. Muck from the cows gets harrowed into the fields, providing nutrients to the soil. The poultry running around aren’t just valuable for their eggs and meat, they eat the bugs and beasties that would feast on our fruit and vegetables, and they fertilise and aerate the soil. Each part works well by itself, but they all work better together.
Forty to fifty years ago, all food was produced like this, with manual labour and little in the way of chemicals. Having a varied, mixed farm means that if the carrots don’t do well, maybe you have loads of potatoes.
It’s the same with the livestock. It makes sense to avoid having a mono culture. If we only have cattle and suddenly the beef prices go down, then we’ve lost a chunk of our income. But having more than one type of animal means you’re more resilient, so if the beef price goes down, the price for lamb or pork might go up.
We sell direct to our customers, so that cancels out a lot of the problems you get selling to a market. We like the fact we sell direct to our customers. It means we know our customers and they know us. You can come and visit the farm, see the soil that your potatoes grow in, scratch the pigs and be honked at by the geese. Just please let us know in advance that you’re coming so we can show you around.
We like food. That’s the reason we got into farming and then running an organic box scheme. We like good food and we really want to grow good food for people that we know.
Farming a mixed farm is great for wildlife too. It makes it a nicer place to live to hear the birds every day. We see so many different species, there’s not a day goes by that we don’t remember how lucky we are to live here.
In ten years, we’ve seen it go from three fields full of weeds, to seeing birds all around our pond, to badgers, hares, rabbits and loads of wild flowers. Even when they’re a threat to our livestock, it’s good to see the foxes, stoats and weasels come back. We just have to work a bit harder to keep them away from our poultry.