Our Organic Farm and our Agroecological principles
We don’t farm our animals. We farm with them.
Committed to Agroecological farming and food production principles, here at Peelham we are both Organically and Pasture-for-Life certified. We readily accept the need to have two of the most rigorous annual inspections and audits to which farming and food businesses are subject to in the UK, by our UK approved organic certification body the Soil Association (in conjunction with our Pasture-for-Life inspection); one for the farm and another for our on-farm butchery unit.
We believe that this third-party validation is essential to our moral contract with our customers. It vouches for what we say we are and that we deliver what we promise.
The compliance with the Organic and Pasture-for-Life Standards gives you our customer the confidence that every part of our farming and food business (ie an integrated food chain), is traceable, complies with the highest standards of animal welfare, soil management, environmental sustainability, environmental health and food quality.
The food processing standards are detailed in a document of some 70 regulations covering labelling, food composition, operating standards (eg packaging, water etc), documentation and record keeping etc. The Farming standards are similarly detailed in a document of some 36 regulations covering livestock, welfare, crops, soils, biodiversity, documentation and record keeping.
We believe we go further than what the regulations specify particularly when it comes to biodiversity and wildlife.
Please contact us if you would like to see copies of our certificates.
The United Nations defintion for Agroecology can be found here: https://www.fao.org/3/i9037en/i9037en.pdf
More about provenance
We farm Beef all-year-round and Sheep seasonally here at Peelham. We also work with other Organic and Pasture-for-Life farmers to supplement our butchery throughput and satisfy the growing demand for traceable agroecologically farmed food. This also has a beneficial impact on the wider market for Organic and Pasture-for-Life products and increases the farms, animals and land managed agroecologically.
Our Beef: We have 150 Aberdeen Angus cows running with 6 Aberdeen Angus bulls. At any one-time we also have some 160-200 youngsters at varying stages of growth. Our cows are never fed any grain. They are grass-reared and grass-fed for their lives. Our Beef is Pasture-for-Life certified. If there are ever seasonal shortages we make-up with animals from other Organic & PfL certified farmers.
Our Veal comes from 7 – 10 month old calves which are not separated from their mothers at birth but stay with them and the rest of the herd until natural weaning begins to take place. They are never fed grain. In addition to veal calves from our own beef herd, we also work with The Finlays of Rainton Farm, Dumfries (The Ethical Dairy). This system of veal farming is commended by Compassion in World Farming.
Our Sheep provide both our mutton and our lamb. We no longer breed sheep on our farm and source our mutton ewes and lambs bringing them back to the farm from 4-5 other Organic sheep farmers including Thistlyhaugh, Northumberland (The Nellis’s)
Our Pork We no longer breed pigs here at Peelham. After nearly 30 years, the growing demand for our free-range pork far exceeded Peelham’s capacity to supply and was impacting on our soil health. We sourced successfully from other organic pig farms until the recent collapse of the UK pig industry which has hit the organic sector particularly severely with many pig units closing down. Our sources of organic pork were getting fewer, further away and increasingly unreliable and un-viable. Our only option involved looking over the farm fence to the grass pastures of our neighbours the Punton Family. Although non-Organic, on their farms at West Edge and Brow-of-the-Hill they farm their high welfare breeding pigs free-range, out-doors on grass pasture all-year-round. The pork is as local as it used to be when we had our own !
Our Food and Farming is:
- GOOD because our farm animals and those on farms that we share our market with, graze and forage free-range producing good nutrient-dense meat
- CLEAN because our farming is free-of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers.
- FAIR because we value our employees and their wellbeing as the most valuable part of our business, and give as much as we reasonably can to provide fulfilling jobs. Our management shares with wildlife, enhancing biodiversity and landscape while allowing our livestock to follow their foraging and grazing characteristics.
“Good, Clean & Fair” is the motto of the Slow Food Movement which has been a key-influencer of our evolving ethos over the decades.