The Garthwaite family farming enterprise includes three farms that supply the majority of the beef, lamb and pork for the farm shop butchery. John, Mary and Matthew also work with other local farmers to ensure a consistent quality supply of locally reared beef, lamb and pork for the shop.
Our herd of cattle is a mixture of well bred Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Belgian Blue and Limousin cattle. We find that crossing our home traditional breeds with a continental bull produces healthy offspring with the desired conformity and level of finish required by the shop.
All the animals have a well balanced, nutritionally calculated diet. During the winter months, when the animals are housed, as pictured above, we use large mechanical feeders to automatically calculate and mix quantities of home grown cereals and forage crops, ensuring a highly nutritious feed. We do not use routine antibiotics, as we believe that this is a drastic preventative measure to take. We tend towards the more traditional approach and provide the animals with the suitable living conditions they require to maintain a clean bill of health.
We also rear pigs providing all the fresh pork for the shop. We buy weaner pigs from a local farmer, who breeds them for us, ensuring a consistent and high quality supply. We then rear these pigs on a nutritionally balanced diet providing a distinctive flavour of pork, which differs to many others we have tried. The fat has a buttery texture with the meat a beautiful creamy colour and full in flavour.
We tend to concentrate on conformity rather than volume when it comes to farming our animals. We choose to cross Texel ewes with Beltex tups to produce consistently well shaped lambs. This is not common practice in modern farming as these are less economical to rear than lower maintenance breeds with high lamb yields. It is true to say that in this instance quality certainly prevails over quantity.