Farming

Farming Philosophy

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The farm has a history dating back at least 1,000 years. Organic since 1984, the farm attained biodynamic status in 2006, in line with the owners’ belief that the farm be viewed as one organism rather than a series of separate enterprises.
We are a mixed farm growing fruits, vegetables, and grains. We also produce small scale, grass fed, meat animals that are raised with the utmost care, dignity and respect. The farm operates as a closed system wherever possible; our goal is to provide for our own needs rather than buying in. Therefore, we make our own hay and silage for the cattle’s Winter feed. From time to time, we buy in new bulls and rams to replenish the bloodlines and ensure healthy livestock.

The cattle and sheep are reared on permanent pastures that are untreated by either fertilisers or chemicals. Animal welfare is a high priority. The livestock benefit from good observation and timely application of homeopathic remedies. All ailments, apart from the most acute, are treated in this way with a belief that prevention is better than cure. We believe that grass fed animals are a healthier option, both in their own health and in the foods they produce. Our livestock spend as much time at grass as possible and when they do come indoors for Winter, great care is taken to ensure they have an indoor-outdoor space, with good ventilation and ample room to move around. Both our beef and lamb is 100% grass fed.

Our farming philosophy recognises the elements of long-term stewardship of a very precious natural resource – the soil. Through diligent use of biodynamic preparations and the grazing of the livestock, we aim to increase soil fertility and improve the structure of the soil, thereby safeguarding our land and crops against the increasingly unpredictable weather. Strip gazing concentrates the grazing pattern of the herd into a particular area of the field, ensuring a more even coverage of manure and encouraging animals to eat some of the less palatable or tougher grasses before they are allowed to move on.

Trampling of the grasses improves carbon uptake. Other areas have time to rest until it is their turn in the grazing rotation. Electric fencing is used to create the desired space, providing ease of movement everyday or two as the farmer deems fit. Cattle and pig manure from the Winter bedding is collected and used in combination with homemade composts, mulches and compost teas to bring fertility to the gardens and arable fields.

Farm projects

The farm currently has three projects underway

Ancient Grains

In 2019, the farm conducted trials in growing ancient varieties of grain for flour milling: spelt, einkorn, emmer, khorasan and a blend from the Organic Research Centre. Now in our third season of growing ancient grains, we are impressed with their ability to cope with both flood and drought, and the quality of flour produced. As production increases, our long term plan is to offer the flour for sale in the Farm Shop, as well as in the baked goods for the tearoom.
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honeybees

In 2018, the farm moved to a new management system for honeybees, swapping the traditional WBC hives for log hives placed high off the ground in trees or on tall tripods. In 2020, we also incorporated two golden hives to allow a small honey harvest to be taken each year.
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working oxen

In 2013, the decision was made to break in two of the young steers to harness and train them as working oxen. The goal was to create a working animal which would be able to help with simple farm tasks, replacing the quad bike, for hauling livestock feed, wood and fencing supplies around the farm. A future goal was for fieldwork, ploughing and harrowing to be added to the repertoire. Since then, three pairs of working oxen have been broken to harness: Klondike and Perditzo, Dun and Dusted, and Mpevu and Jamludi.

Visit our farm shop

Fresh produce from June through to December

Deliciously different, our biodynamic and organic ethos means that everything you buy will have been produced here at Waltham without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
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