Michael and Jayne Duveen started farming at Hophurst in 2004. The farm then had been left to set-a-side for six years having been a dairy farm. Michael set about converting the farm, firstly to organic status and then to biodynamic. Before bringing stock onto the farm all the land had to be fenced and a barn put up.
The farm had the advantage of always being a traditional farm and therefore the fields were already parcelled up in small lots which made it easy to begin the mixed farming system that Michael and Jayne were so keen to start. The fertility of the land has been built up over the eight years by rotating crops, growing green manures and applying farmyard manure and biodynamic soil preparations. The farm has successfully produced oats, wheat, linseed, fodder beet and hay; all feed for the animals that the farm supports.
A short background to the winning product
Michael and Jayne decided to choose native and rare breeds to stock the farm, believing that they would produce optimum flavour. They were also keen to husband breeds that were hardy and able to flourish with little intervention, given the right environment to live in. They chose to bring to the farm Sussex beef, Rommey sheep and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs.
The herds and flock have been built up slowly over the years and all the animals sold for meat are now born and raised on the farm and fed on what the farm can provide.
In order to support the viability of a small, mixed farming enterprise such as this Michael and Jayne felt the need to start a butchery in London which supports other farmers that produce to the same standards as themselves. They therefore started Jacob’s Ladder Farms, Jacob’s Ladder now sells organic and biodynamic produce from five other farms located in Sussex and Kent.
What does organic mean to you?
Being sensitive to the land and farming in a way that allows it to flourish naturally along with the animals that it supports.
To find out more visit www.jacobsladderfarms.co.uk
Runners up in the pork category