Food and Drink from British Farmers
When we started Barbury Hill, it was with one aim. To shine a light on small farmers and producers across the British Isles creating delicious food and drink not found on the supermarket shelves. By connecting our customers with those producers and providing a platform for them to showcase and sell their products, we’re making it easier to source and shop food and drink from British farmers.
Why buy food & drink from British farmers?
The reasons to buy food & drink from British farmers and shop local are many and varied. From climate change to animal welfare, supporting small businesses to knowing the provenance of what we eat, our consumer choices are more important than ever.
Better for the environment
Buying from British farmers cuts the airmiles your food has travelled to your plate, meaning a lower carbon footprint than most imported foods. But many of Barbury Hill’s handpicked farmers and producers go even further and have been chosen specifically for their sustainable practises. From protecting the beautiful British countryside to avoiding waste by turning excess or unwanted produce into food and drink, they’re sustainability champions.
Better for the animals
British meat and dairy abides by some of the highest welfare standards in the world - so no hormones or antibiotics sneaking their way into your diet. You can be confident when you buy from a British farmer that the animals have been well looked after. But our Barbury Hill producers go even further. From Beal’s Farm’s rare breed mangalitsa pigs to Fen Farm Dairy’s Montbeliarde cows, buying British allows you full visibility of the provenance of your food.
Better for the economy
And it’s not just the producer that wins when you buy food and drink from British farmers. By keeping the whole supply chain in the UK, jobs and the economy benefit too. From the vineyard workers to the farmhands, your purchases make a difference to a local, and the wider British, economy.
Food & Drink from British Farmers on Barbury Hill
Barbury Hill works with British farmers across the country, with produce as varied as their location. From the beer of Great Newsome to the brie-de-meaux style cheese of Fen Farm Dairy and Penrhos Spirits’ gin, these farmers are producing food and drink to be proud of.
Fen Farm Dairy’s herd of Montbeliarde cows grazing on the hillsides of the Waveney Valley is quite the epitome of a bucolic British scene. For the majority of the year they roam freely around the marshes of Stow Fen, happily grazing on the lush grasses. For the winter months, their deep open-sided straw barns and homegrown hay, haylage, grass and maize silage offer an equally comfortable home. The cows aren’t forced to overproduce milk, meaning more relaxed animals who live longer, happier lives.
Alongside high animal welfare, Fen Farm Dairy have impressive eco-credentials. A 200kw solar panel system with battery storage on the roofs of their barns provides electricity. Heat from the cow poo warms their water. And in actively working to regenerate large areas of their farmland for wildlife, they’re leading the charge when it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
The Mangalitsa pigs of Beal’s Farm were once on the verge of extinction but have been reintroduced to this country and are thriving under the gentle care and high animal welfare standards supported by Beal’s Farm. This curly haired heritage breed makes a colourful sight, roaming the woodlands and pastures of their mid-Sussex farm and it comes as no surprise that they’re related to the wild boar.
Along with their free range lifestyle, the pigs are kept to high welfare standards, including no hormones or antibiotics. The meat is also cured, smoked, air dried, sliced and packed by Beal’s Farm, so road miles and travel are kept to a minimum and customers can be assured of the provenance of their meat.
While Great Newsome’s farm has been in the family for four generations, their move into brewing was a recent one and the brewery and arable farm now co-exist happily. Growing their own malting barley and using Yorkshire water, they craft bitters, ales, lagers and stouts that feature a number of award-winners.
Their beers pay homage to Yorkshire’s people and its lands. From Liquorice Lads Stout which celebrates the ancient crop’s reemergence in the farmlands of Yorkshire, to Sleek Dust which takes its name from the thirsty work of farming.
Though Langham was first farmed in 1980 by John Langham who also planted a small area of vines, it is his son, Justin, we have to thank for introducing the rest of us to the wine. In 2009 he turned his father’s small scale operation into a commercial one, planting 30 acres of vines on their farm and transforming an old barn into a winery.
Langham now produces a range of award-winning sparkling wines, with their south-facing aspect, chalk soils and a unique microclimate offering ideal conditions for classic Champagne varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Penrhos Spirits is the brainchild of two farming families who came together to grow fruit on their fields in Herefordshire. But it was an aim to minimise waste that was the catalyst for their diversification into gin. They realised that all the fruits rejected by the supermarkets for being a little too ‘wonky’ could be put to good use adding flavour and botanicals to their favourite drink.
After years of tasting, testing, and a bit more tasting, Penrhos was born. The 250-year old former cowshed was converted into a distillery, complete with a copper still named after Dickie’s grandmother who used to raise cows there.
With the company born from a desire to become more sustainable, Penrhos have been building on this ever since. A permanent apiary provides a home to the bees who buzz happily around the blossom of the fruit trees and the areas of the farm that have been turned over to wildflowers to aid biodiversity. Solar panels reduce the amount of electricity used, while biomass boilers are fuelled by recycled wood.
As with Penrhos, Black Cow Vodka was born from a desire to minimise waste from their cheddar. Hailing from a farming family with a long history of cheesemaking, founder Jason was troubled by the by-product of cheesemaking, whey. While it commonly goes to waste, he combined the ancient Mongolian tradition of making alcohol from milk with the Northern European tradition of making high proof, clear, clean vodka. The result was an innovative, and exceptional vodka, made entirely from the milk of cows.
Park Farm, the home of Bath Soft Cheese, has been farmed by the Padfield family for four generations. That’s four generations of know-how that go into the rich, meltingly creamy cheese.
Cheddar cheese was first made on the farm in 1914 by Graham Padfield’s grandmother, but it’s a recipe dating back to the 18th century that is the true star. Their eponymous Bath Soft Cheese was mentioned in a letter to Admiral Lord Nelson by his father and Graham tracked down the recipe in an old grocer’s book.
All of their milk comes directly from their small herd of 160 Holstein Friesian cows, and the cheese is made just 50 yards from the milking parlour. The farm is entirely organic, meaning no pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilisers. Manure and organic compost are used instead so the land and rivers remain uncontaminated. In working to protect the natural world and allow their cows to feel the sun on their backs, their business and its ethos epitomises that of many of Britain’s farmers and independent producers.
British food & drink from British farmers
As you explore Barbury Hill, we hope you’ll take the time to explore the stories of our producers. In ‘Meet the Makers’ you can learn more about the people behind the food and drink we feature. For many, their businesses are more than simply an income; they’re a link to the past, a way of keeping a family business and memories alive, a way of reducing waste and protecting their landscapes, or a way of building a business that works around their family and lives. By buying from British farmers and producers, you’re supporting those missions too.