Touring Northfield Farm
Arriving at Northfield Farms, we were greeted with biscuits, tea, and coffee. Jan introduced to us the development of his farm. He started off as a banker with an intent to start raising horses. However, the horses destroyed the grassland, so he began to look into to cattle after reading many old farm books. He settled on Dexter cattle because of their dual purpose and high meat qualities. His first Dexter cow was bought when he saw an advertisement in the local newspaper. He continued to purchase Dexters until his herd grew to about 250 head when the moved to their current location in 1994. At this time, there was a large outbreak in the BSE crisis, which came from crushed sheep feed matter, but the Dexter breed was not affected due to their separation from dairy. The business on the farm continued to be slow, but just enough revenue came in for the farm to continue until it was promoted to the public. The public became more aware of his farm due to the radio. A man from the radio came to visit with Jan on the farm for an interview and tried a few samples of meat from the shop. The man was pleasantly surprised and aired the interview on the radio, promoting the farm. Two or three days after the interview was aired, the phone would not stop ringing and customers wanted to purchase Jan’s products. Another major step in promoting their product was their appearance at the Boroughs Market, which is a high-end farmers market in London that has been around for many years. The idea of making and selling burgers on site became a first for the Boroughs Market.
Northfield farm is a family business consisting of the farm, butcher shop, food truck, Air B & B, and a small business in London. The farm now consists of White Parks, Shorthorns, Aberdeen Angus, Wagyu, and Charolais because the Dexter’s were not commercial, and costs were high. The White Park was brought to the farm because Jan was very passionate about this old British breed. The Wagyu has been used to breed to many Angus heifers because of the Wagyu’s fine marbling qualities. Currently, Jan has about 100 head of cattle in his herd along with about 80 ewes, chickens, and pigs for the variety of products in this shop. The major part of Jan’s work with cattle includes his crosses with the White Park and Angus breeds. An interesting fact Jan informed us of was that White Parks are immune to ringworm. The cattle are mainly fed haylage which they make about 450 wrapped bales every year. This past year, they wrapped the bales in pink to represent breast cancer. The bull calves are castrated at a young age, but they still look intact. At about 6-12 months of age, the cattle are scanned for marbling. We ended the tour with a BBQ provided by Northfield which consisted of burgers and chips.
English Word(s) of the day:
Cade lambs: bottle lambs
-Ramsey & Macie