Laverstoke Park, Hampshire
Jody Scheckter came to Laverstoke Park in 1996 with the aim of farming organically to produce the healthiest, best-tasting food without compromise. Initially this was to be for himself and his family, but he soon realised he could make the same food available to the public. In 2002, the neighbouring farms were added and Laverstoke Park is now 2500 acres and the food is available through the farm shop and box scheme.
Our Water Buffalo originally descend from Asian Buffalo, like those in India and Pakistan. They are called Water Buffalo as in the wild they inhabit swampy wet areas. Our animals were actually imported from Romania in Eastern Europe where they are still a very important farm animal and are used to pull carts and ploughs. Their milk is very rich and creamy. It makes beautiful cheese and cream.
Pigs, wild boar and sheep
The farm has Saddleback, Middle White and Kune Kune pigs on the farm. The wild boar herd is based on animals of Polish descent. They have a good shape for meat production and a good temperament. We are crossing the boar with some of our traditional pig breeds to produce special quality, slow growing natural meat. The boars have their own wooded area where they can enjoy expressing their natural behaviour. Three breeds of sheep are kept - Lleyns which are a Welsh breed, Hebrideans which are a hardy Scottish breed and the English Polled Dorset.
The poultry enterprise is in the early stages and is based on traditional breeds for meat and eggs. We are trying a wide selection of different chicken, ducks - all year, geese and turkey - seasonally, as well as game such as wild pigeon and pheasant from time to time.
Laverstoke House was designed by Joseph Bonomi and was built for the Portal family in 1780. In 1727, the Portal family had secured a contract to manufacture The Bank of England's pound notes. This was mainly due to the beautifully clear chalk-stream waters of the River Test being uniquely suited to making crisp notes. Now situated in a Grade II listed park of approximately 275 rolling acres which include the upper reaches of the River Test. The original estate comprised in excess of 12,000 acres. However, much of the acreage was sold off in the last century and by 1996 only 500 acres remained with the house.
Vegetable box scheme
In the Walled Garden at Laverstoke Park the team lovingly grow a wide variety of organic fruit, vegetables and herbs. Our aim is to sell only what we produce although we are investing in glasshouses and learning from cool climate experts so we can enjoy our own produce all year round. Each day the team harvest the best of our vegetables as and when they come into season.
Laverstoke Park has its own Butcher's Shop which is open to the Public and the catering trade. We only sell meat that we produce on the farm, including beef, water buffalo, pork, wild boar, lamb, poultry and local game. From top quality cuts of meat to sausages, pates, pies and other delicious produce. We have a quality range of our farm-made chutneys, relishes and jams. We also have organic cheeses from selected suppliers. Soon, we hope to be producing our own cheese and dairy products.
Visits and open days
The farm is keen to help school children discover where their food comes from and show them how an organic farm works. Please contact the estate to book a visit. Additionally, the farm hosts special open days for the public - check out the website for the latest dates.
How to get there
By bike: Find your route on the Sustrans website