- What made your father and you feel so passionately about producing meat with a transparent supply chain?
- Fundamentally, the mechanics of the beef industry are such that beef sold by wholesale butchers has usually lost all traceability by the time it gets to a restaurant, so most of the time one has no idea what breed they’re eating or more importantly, how long- or short-lived the animal was.
- With age comes flavour, so the more mature the animal, the deeper the flavour. That said, commercially produced beef supplied by even the most reputable catering butchers in London is killed under 30 months old so it cannot compete with the flavour of Lyons Hill Farm’s Aurox® Beef, the label under which they sell their meticulously selected beef.
- Aurox® Beef is from animals that have lived long lives on a grass diet in their natural environment, and even though it’s not cost-efficient to maintain stringent traceability, in order to optimise consistency of excellence, Lyons Hill Farm provides full traceability for every cut, from nose to tail.
- What’s your best-selling product and why?
- We lead with excellent beef, but the game changer has been our chickens. Commercial chickens are slaughtered at around 35 days, are fed a high protein diet and bred to put on weight as fast as possible; some battery farm reared chickens can’t even stand up properly due to their weight as the muscles aren’t sufficiently developed. The result is chicken with absolutely no flavour. We partnered with a local chicken farmer, who’s chickens are outdoor reared with large roosting and feeding sheds. Our ‘Somerset Saxon’ chicken is a commercial chicken, but done to the very highest standard that a chicken can be grown, while keeping it competitively priced.
- Whereas a Waitrose Organic chicken is around 54 days old, Somerset Saxon chickens are killed at around 90 days. Somerset Saxon chickens get to run around and chase insects over organic flower meadows. They grow slowly such that they develop fine fibres in their meat and a flavour that other commercially-produced chickens simply can’t beat.
- How many cattle do you have on your farm at one time?
- We have a 380 acre farm, and half of it is woodland, where the pigs run about. We farm in a traditional, 1950’s style, with no fertilizer, and therefore cut hay only once a year.
- Over the winter, when the cattle are sheltering in the barns, we feed them on silage produced from hay we cut on the farm. We never want to be in a position where we are buying in extra silage for them so we only keep 50 or so White Park cattle at a time. White Park is the rarest, oldest breed in Britain.
- Could you tell us a little more about your regenerative farming practices?
- Our pigs are Iron Age, a cross between a Tamworth and a Wild Boar. When weened at 12 weeks, they are moved to our woods to live long and happy lives, rootling for insects, running around with many friends. These forest reared pigs are genuinely happy animals. They have a diet heavy on reject vegetables, i.e, potatoes and artichokes that aren’t sellable but the pigs love it. Whey from cheese is popular with them too. This is to minimise their reliance on protein cake, which is not a sustainably produced food source.
- We don’t fertilize our fields, apart from using manure from the cattle. To promote and improve biodiversity, we’ve planted 14,000 trees and shrubs. We run the farm on solar power and use biomass from fallen trees for our heating.
- Our chickens are seasonal chickens, and at 180 days are the longest lived commercially produced chickens in the country, we call them Cornish Celtic cockerels and hens. These are fully free range, no fences at all, and live in retired horse trailers. Our cattle eat 100% grass from the farm. Our sheep are called Portland sheep, one of the rarest things we have on the farm. They are from Dorset and are sold as Hogget, so they get 2 summers on the grass, rather than one, and live up to 18 months, rather than 5/6 like the British lamb eaten at Easter.
- We’re all about promoting rare breeds and generating a market for them, we want to get people the recognition they deserve.
- How do you like your burger cooked?
- Always medium rare, everything should be medium rare to optimize the eating experience. When cooked rare, the fat doesn’t melt, and you need the intramuscular fat to melt to maximise succulence and flavour.
Our Badger Burger is available to enjoy now at £14. Get yourself over to TFB for a sustainable burger with a zero waste slaw!
Check it out on our menu here.