It's nearly the end of the month and here at Butterbox Farm April has passed in a blur of lambing, late nights and of course lockdown! Welcome to the Butterbox Farm blog and let me start with a quick introduction; Peter and Gavin run the farm here at Butterbox, two farmers whose passion for the health and welfare of the animals, along with the consequent meat that they produce is impeccable and inspiring. As Gavin's wife, Holly, I have had the pleasure and privilege of moving to the farm with him since we were married last December. Having been a dairy farmer in my working life, up until our son William was born 8 months ago, I am no stranger to farming life. Like the team at Butterbox Farm, I really believe in the power of rearing animals on pasture! Since hanging up my milking apron, I spend a lot of time out on the farm walking our two dogs, showing William the animals and of course doing the dutiful farmers wife bit and reporting any escaped sheep to Pete and Gavin. More recently I have taken over the farms social media and am going to be taking over the meat box admin so that when you place your orders for your fresh, grass-fed beef and lamb, its me that you will be dealing with. I look forward to chatting to you all, and hopefully meeting you properly when you collect your meat boxes.
At Butterbox farm, all of the livestock spend majority of the year outside eating nothing but the green stuff. In the winter, the cattle are housed in barns where they eat home grown silage and hay made here on the farm. No additives, no preservatives and no artificial means used to grow the animals – all natural! This pasture-based diet is really beneficial to the quality and taste of the end product but also to the happiness of the animal whilst it is on the farm. They enjoy a lazy life, grazing rolling fields, never hurried or pushed, simply allowed to finish in their own time. Our livestock are relaxed and happy. The meat that is produced is high in iron to give us energy, zinc to support our immune systems and B-vitamins to help us think straight. Grass fed meat is also lower in saturated fats and is a much healthier option for our diet.
So, a bit about the farmers that produce these quality grass-fed beef and lamb boxes here at Butterbox Farm. Peter manages the farm and has a lifetime of experience having been born and raised in the industry. He grew up on his family farm less than 20 miles away and has worked in and out of the industry his whole life. He has a wealth of knowledge. Gavin, is a Haywards Heath boy born and bred, and was employed by the farm initially to do some gardening. Gradually he was hauled in a few extra days a week to help with the cattle and the sheep and now, twelve years on he is a superb stock-man and manages more grazing than he does lawn-mowing. Peter and Gavin have had a pretty busy month recently as they are calving the pedigree herd of Dexter cows and they are also lambing their flock of 300 ewes, which have yielded around 500 lambs this year. It has been a slightly different lambing for Gavin and Pete this year as they couldn’t invite any visitors into the lambing shed. As Pete troubled over how he would miss feeding the bottle lambs with his grandchildren, and how he would have to let down the keen vet students who normally stay at the farm to help out over lambing, it was Gavin who raised the most alarming concern to face the farm yet…Would they have to go without the generous array of baked goods that the visitors who frequent the lambing shed usually provide? The answer – a cold, hard and cake-less yes! As a result of this lockdown hardship Pete is now sporting a one and a half stone weight loss, which is half a stone more than he normally shifts over a lambing season. It also transpires that Gavins mood is wholly reliant on the amount of cake he has consumed at his morning coffee break. Needless to say, it is probably for the best that he hasn’t had to interact with the public this season.
In the absence of visitors, we decided to produce a series of short, informative clips about what was going on in the lambing shed at Butterbox Farm. To our surprised delight, we received over 10,000 views in the first day. Pete has realised he has hidden potential as a farming Vlogger and Gavin has realised he says “basically” about three times in every sentence - cue many, many retakes until Gavin kept his “basicallys” to a respectable amount. By this stage we determined he was starting to behave like, basically, a bit of a diva and to restore normality we had to ditch the video camera and go back to some plain old fashioned farming. Keep an eye out for more 'life on the farm' videos on our Facebook page in the future. Not such a hardship though, being a farmer this month, because what a beautiful month it has been. The sun is shining and there’s adorable lambs frolicking on the farm. But wait, this is a farming blog and I haven't actually moaned about the weather yet...So, if only now we could get some rain so that the bloody grass will grow! (Sorry, its legit a farming blog now).
Gavin and Pete have finished lambing now and the next job is to turn all of the cattle out for the grazing season. I will endeavour to hang about enthusiastically, waiting to spring out and capture this on camera for the Facebook page. In the meantime, we are taking orders for our popular Hogget boxes, the next availability is for the end of May. A Hogget is simply a lamb, which has been kept for an extra few months grazing. This enhances the flavour of the meat and you also get a larger meat box! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or wish to place an order. Otherwise, please give us a like on our Facebook page and we can keep in touch.
We hope you are all safe and well, and we look forward to catching up when we can.
All the best, Holly and the team at Butterbox Farm