Knowing where our food comes from and the effort that goes into producing it is paramount to us; the meat we sell in the shop is all reared here on the farm. If we don’t have the animals ready on farm, we have a select few farms all local to us that we buy from as well. We use the local abattoirs at Henfield and Heathfield who deliver the carcases back for us to butcher. We Dry Age our Beef on the bone to give a depth of flavour and tenderness like no other. You will notice our beef is a lot darker than that in the supermarkets, this is because it has been hung for a minimum of 28 days. Our Sausages and Burgers are all handmade here, we have a range of flavours including some Gluten Free. We produce all our own Poultry, from Chickens, Guinea Fowl and Ducks to Turkeys and Geese at Christmas. They are slow grown for their flavour and if you haven’t tried any of it yet you don’t know what you’re missing!
We have a mixed Beef herd with some Native breeds such as Sussex and Hereford, as well as some of the larger continental breeds like Limosin & Simmental. Our Bull is a Limosin – he’s called Roy, and he is in with the cows all year round meaning we have a constant supply of calves throughout the year. They graze the fields for as long as the British weather allows and when they are housed through the winter they are fed with our homegrown Silage and Brewers Grains. The Finishing Cattle are also supplemented with a Beef Pellet over the last 4 months which helps with fat cover and a good finish. They are slow grown and are generally finished between 19-22months of age. We select them when they are between 600-620kg liveweight which gives us a carcase weight approximately 280-300kg. We have also recently started a small traditional Pedigree Sussex Herd of which there are less than 150 breeding cows left in the world!
We have 6 breeding sows that are predominantly Large White, a traditional but rare breed with between 200-300 breeding sows left in the UK. They have litters of between 8-12 piglets although once we did have 24 from one sow! They are housed in traditional Victorian brick-built Pig Stys with an outdoor area for them to lay in and root around. We select the pigs when they average 100-110kg liveweight which is when they reach approximately 5-6months old, they give us between 75-80kg carcase weight which is just right for us in the shop.
Our sheep are predominantly Texel X Mule. They are a hardy breed, the Mule Ewe is suited to being outside all year round and make excellent mothers, they lamb in April. The Texel Ram brings great meat conformation and muscle mass into the mix. They are all grass finished apart from the occasional field of turnips that they graze. Selected when they average 45-50kg liveweight this gives us 24-28kg carcase weight. This is bigger than your average Butcher would choose but we prefer the slightly larger lambs as they have a better fat covering which allows us to age them for a minimum of 1 week in our Dry Age Fridges before we cut them. This gives us that superior Lamb flavour! We have access to each type of lamb – Spring Lamb, Hogget and Mutton.
We have a delivery of 400 day-old chicks every fortnight, they are a Hubbard strain of Chicken which is a slow growing active breed ideal for free ranging. We rear ours over 10-12 weeks as opposed to commercial barn reared birds which are only 3-5 weeks old when finished. The birds are fed on a Chick Crumb for the first 4-5 weeks of their life to ensure proper bone structure before we switch them over to a 50% Maize based diet. This gives them a distinct flavour and a slight yellow colour to the bird which gives us a Corn-Fed Chicken without added colours or feed supplements. They also scratch around and eat insects, bugs and grass. We process them weekly on site in our dedicated Poultry Processing Plant and the birds finish up at weight ranges between 1.5-2.5kg. When it comes to Christmas we also do our own Turkeys, Geese and Capons all reared to the same standard and all processed on the farm.