Regenerative food for you
One of our core aims is to prove that a small farm in less favoured area can produce food, financial, social and environmental profit, sequester carbon and be enjoyable to manage. If we can prove this is the case then the future of agriculture, environment, health and economy is in a very strong position!
There is a common and incorrect assumption that food production is a negative thing and that it’s our job both as producer and consumers to make it less bad, more sustainable. However regenerative agriculture and taking a holistic approach can result in food production systems that actively help with current ecological problems.
We are currently producing eggs, salad and veg, meat, wool and milk . We sell from our small farm shop and via our weekly box subscription.
MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE ONE MOO AT A TIME
We believe that holistically managed grazing can be a net sink of greenhouse gases, can produce a rich biodiverse landscape and can produce high quality, nutrient dense food.
What and how do we farm?
We grow veg, meat, eggs and milk, but on a small and sustainable human scale that will provide food and fuel for visitors to the farm and the local community.
We want to use the good and wise old ways of doing things whilst not being afraid to think how to do things better and in new ways.
We are looking a lot into traditional small scale farming methods, crofting methods and new ways such as regenerative agriculture, holistic management, renewables and permaculture. I think there is a welsh word for crofting, tyddynwyr. We'd like to know more about that, if anyone can help us?
Much of this is aspirational and ongoing work, so if you do visit please don't be disappointed that we don't have groves of mature fruit, bushels of beets and stampedes of cattle. It's all work in progress, but I have indicated by each crop where we are(ish) with them.
We have a very new and windswept veg garden here at Henbant, it's a bit of a fight, but its one that we will win. We are trying to use as many perennials and as broad a range of varieties and types of plants as we can, so hopefully there should be enough that works in any season (and weather). The polytunnel is very effective.
Our sheep are mainly Jacob, shetland and other native breeds (we believe in diversity). They help us with the grazing and provide a great deal of meat and wool each year. We want to sell this directly and don't believe in over charging so please ask if you want to order any lamb, or mutton (we love tasty mutton) for the freezer (£7/kg) Sheep skins, or wool also available at times.
We have a beautiful and eclectic mix of chickens. They follow the sheep round the pasture, and get much of their food by foraging. We sell completely free range eggs from the farm. We also raise some meat for our own freezer. We often have Point of Lay hens available for sale that are well bred and make great outdoor free range birds.
We have a Jersey cow called Alice and a Jersey/Kerry calf born in April 2018 called Betsy. We currently milk them for the family. We also have three lovely Shetland cows, they are brilliant for conservation grazing and we use them to graze the woods and campsite in winter where they seem very happy even in the worst of weather. The cattle provide beef, milk and manure.
About 97% of the UK's traditional wildflower hay meadows have been lost since WW1 and with those we lose a great biodiversity of not only plants but also insects and possibly mammals.
Welsh farms used to have a 'cae ysbyty' or hospital field, this was a meadow rich with herb species that they could turn sick animals into to feed on the herbs they may need to help them recover.
We are working to create our own flower rich hay meadows, our own 'Cae Ysbyty'. We are very lucky to be working with partners as a trial using green seeding techniques.
We need wood for building and fuel, our whole farm is heated by wood over the winter and we will soon only use wood as a cooking source as well.
One of the best ways of farming is to copy nature, she's been producing a lot of food for a lot longer than we have. We are establishing a forest garden, maybe more easily thought of as a food forest, it will have larger nut trees and shelter/fuel trees on the north side, with larger fruit trees well spaced to allow soft fruits and perenial veg and herbs between, there will also be some sheltered spots for annual veg and flowers as well, one thing we need for this is diversity, get in touch if you have an interesting plant we could have a cutting from.
Pigs play a key role on the farm recycling waste veg and milk, as well as helping us cultivate land, they are a tractor we can eat. We have used pigs to open up sections of overgrazed pasture to use for our small scale market garden.
We have planted a variety of fruit trees, nut trees, rhubarb and soft fruit. They haven't done much yet, but I'll let you know more as they do.
With all our woodland we would be mad not to make our own mushroom logs, these are green cut logs of hardwood that are seeded with delicious fungi, these will also soon be for sale.
The Wild Harvest
With all our hedgerows and rough land we want to share in nature's bounty, if it wants to grow and we can eat it then we should take our share, and we do.
Sunshine (when its not cloudy)
It may sound daft, but this is our most valuable resource here, not only does it make our grass grow but the farm is powered by solar PV panels, and our water is heated by the sun. Sunshine also recharges our lovely campers and illuminates the stunning scenery.