Redwoods Farm - Visited by Fraser
I have written my personal experience upon visiting Redwoods farm to show how I believe they can be trusted to produce top quality produce in a regeneratively farmed way.
Many farms can't supply the level of care and attention animals need simply because they are too big and factory orientated, or they don't have the level of care with the animals. Redwoods farm is a smaller family run farm which uses regenerative farming methods and I can visually see proof of it's success on the farmland. It is a family run farm by Mark and Pauline and their daughter Amy.
I am invited to have a tour of their farm...
They start by leading me over to the Chickens, a Hubbard hybrid broiler, a slow growing breed which allows them to perform well on a pasture based system.
Mark explains to me with exact detail about the chicken production, he tells me how chickens graze more often than is commonly thought, and I could see very clearly the chickens ripping up stalks of the fertile grass.
To produce chicken with local feeds, the insects, and grass off the pasture is extremely impressive. Mostly the fact they avoid soya, a crop nearly always used raising chickens due to it's high protein content, with a light background in poultry myself I understand (knowing the incredible speed at which ducks, chickens and geese can grow) what a challenge it can be to have chickens grow correctly without a well managed diet, so it made me see the dedication and intelligent science that had gone into this.
Everything Mark said he did, I could tell was with reason and had a point to their farming system. The chickens followed the cows in their pens scratching and spreading the manure left by the cows, eating a natural diet. The livestock worked with each other to improve the land, each animal on the farm had purpose, locking in together like a jigsaw, and running like a finely tuned engine fuelled with nothing but nature.
Mark, I believe, seemed satisfied with how it was working but I felt a slight impression he is always looking for ways to improve the system, to perfect it to something greater. As I look upon the chickens you can see their enclosures leave them feeling relaxed as they group in one corner where they feel safe in numbers, with cover from the sky due to the cover sheeting relaxing them without fear of aerial predators.
Mark to me breaks the stereotype of a farmer stuck in old fashioned traditional ways and comes across very open minded in trialling new agricultural techniques. The proof is in the pudding shown in the successful Soya free, Chicken production in Redwoods Farm, farmed with a cause.
Amy takes me to see the pigs, on the way I note a Hornet fly past, they show diversity in the land as they like a variety of other insects to hunt, and are useful at controlling pests such as caterpillar's and greenfly, a good sign already.
Upon reaching the pigs, I see one of them tosses a large metal trough as though it is nothing more than a cardboard box and I think to myself of the difficulties a farmer might face pig farming. I expect a lot of work is needed. A mixture of pig breeds wander around, rooting through the ground appearing content in their foraging and don't appear bored in the slightest.
A brief walk and Amy shows me the beginnings of a variety of plants thrown in by herself as seeds in previous years. The soil had been turned and rooted by the pigs acting as a natural plough. A little input from the farmer and I see how the land can work itself using the animals.
The bio-diversity of the area is now vast, the pasture displays a fertile and varied choice of plants for the pigs to choose from, and later on in the year, in future meat collections, only then do I see the full might and array of brightly coloured plants buzzing with insects and life in the September haze, impressive from a distance. A stunning observational example of regenerative agriculture in its full majesty, visual proof of its credibility. It keeps the pigs very busy with the variety of plants to forage and wander through. I can imagine it will be extremely hard pressed to find pigs farmed in this way elsewhere.
Amy shows dedication and a genuine passion in caring for every single pig. Knowing each individual very well, not anything a larger farm could ever offer.
This is someone who truly cares and we can trust to create great produce, all farmed with respect to the livestock, the land and with a benefit to the environment.
Upon departure, I was left with confidence to work with a farm like this.