Model Farm is a family run farming and retailing business that started seriously in 1988 when Simon took the Tenancy of Model Farm from Herefordshire Council.
It is Model Farm because of the Victorian Buildings that would give a soldier returning from the Crimean war, a degree of self-sufficiency. There are similar Model Farms all over the country.
How it Started
We started doing deliveries for the family of a hypo-allergic child, whose parents were driving up from St Albans. We said that if they got a group together, we would take it to them. Her consultant was very interested in how we farmed and monitored her responses to various inputs and packaging.
Whilst always farming to organic principles, we have been formally organic since 1999 and the Biodynamic Association certifies our organic farm, our on- farm processing and our 100% Pasture Fed credentials.
I became a Founder member of the 100% Pasture Fed Livestock Association once it became so obvious that there were huge benefits to humans, the animals and the environment by cutting out grain and soya.
It is our aim to supply the most tasty, pure and healthy meats as Nature intended.
We have 110 pedigree Hereford organic cows looked after by Simon and son Jonty. The cows live outside all year and calve either in March/April or August/September and have enough space to find a quiet space to calve just as nature intended. The calves suckle their mothers for 10 months when they are weaned in order for the cow to have a rest and build up nutritious colostrum ready for her new calf.
The cows live on 550 acres of wildflower meadows and we make hay to feed them over the winter.
The weaned calves thrive on silage made from grass, clover and Lucerne. The clover and Lucerne are rich in protein and so we do not need to buy Soya.
The pastures are full of herbs and by grazing them, the cattle self-medicate themselves and so we don’t need to use vaccines, wormers or anti-biotics except when absolutely necessary.
Simon and Jonty lamb about 300 ewes and 50 ewe lambs of the Easycare breed. This is a cross between the Welsh Mountain and Wiltshire horn that does not need shearing. The sheep shed their short fleece naturally in the Spring. They lamb outside with very little help and are resistant to worms, foot rot and, because of the lack of fleece, have little problem with fly strike.
The only protein they get is from red clover silage and antibiotics and wormers are only used if absolutely necessary.
We keep about 10 Hampshire sows and a boar at Model Farm living outside, but we do bring them in to farrow and when it is very hot.
We chose the Hampshire because of its meat quality and its ability to thrive from waste products. They regularly get apples, potatoes and bread and so do not need regular growth promoters or antibiotics.
Occasionally we have multiple births that mum cannot cope with so these are reared by Sue ably assisted by Grandchildren Ethan and Noah.
Led by son George who looks after customers and administration, we have Richard and Andrew who are the Master butchers and they are helped out at busy times by Toby and Debbie.
All the meat is dry hung in a traditional way and butchered by traditional methods. Sausage and burgers have no artificial preservatives or gluten content.
We are happy to cater specifically for individual requirements.
Deliveries are done by Jonty, Keith and Simon.
As things have progressed, it has become obvious that the way we farm has huge benefits to nature. It starts with the soil becoming fully alive and able to sequester at least 350Tonnes of Carbon per year. The healthy soil feeds lots of insects, which in turn support myriads of birdlife. The cows have wagtail “groupies” that feed on insects disturbed by them grazing!
We grow 4 acres of crops specifically for wild bird food and pollinators and it is wonderful in the evening seeing all the bats coming to feed there.
To that end we have been lucky enough to be awarded Natural England’s conservation award 2018 and also Compassion In World Farming’s Sustainable Food and Farming award 2019.
We take certification very seriously as we have always realised that customers are making buying decisions for their family’s health or particular allergy problems.
We are proud to be a family farm and are equally proud to hold Organic Certification with the Biodynamic Association, the 100% Pasture for Life Certification and Red Tractor Certification.
We have been direct selling long enough that it is easy to talk about grass fed and tell a story, but all the people who are actually doing it properly are certified as they are proud of what they are doing. You will find products described as grass fed that, when pushed, transpires that the animals are fed “just a bit” of grain or soya. We realise that with even “just a bit” of grain the fats and omega 3/6 balance become much less healthy.
If we get supplies from local farmers, we expect them to hold the same certification as us and then we can use the Pasture Tracks QR code for total product traceability.
Why buy intensively farmed salmon when 100% Pasture Fed beef and lamb has the same omega 3 benefits and no artificial chemicals?
There are now many books and research on the subject but Andre Voisin’s Soil Grass and Cancer, and Weston A Price saw the light in the 1950s, but their work was buried by big business interests!