Discover the waste-free, organic farm rewriting the farming rulebook

How one British farm is leading the way in organic farming – showing the world that sustainability in agriculture has always been possible

Tuesday 30 November 2021 09:53

Deep in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, where lush green pastures stretch out to the horizon, Daylesford Farm – one of the pioneers of organic farming in Britain – is at the forefront of the movement around sustainable agriculture.

This story began over 40 years ago, in Wootton, Staffordshire, where Daylesford Organic’s founder, Carole Bamford, lived and worked on her family farm. Carole wished for her young children to grow up eating nutritious, healthy food produce, created without the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. So, she began implementing organic farming procedures, eventually extending the measures to Daylesford, which the family bought in the late 1980s.

A family-run farm, Daylesford, is now an industry leader in organic farming

Traceable, trustworthy and honest

Today, Daylesford is a 100 percent organic farm, with sustainability at its core. Every part of its farming story – from the rearing of livestock to the dishes served in the award-winning farm café – is managed in an environmentally-conscious way. This is no easy feat for a large farm – Daylesford encompasses over 8,000 acres of land – and the team are proud to run such a vast and sustainable initiative, showing the world that a more conscious and considerate way of farming exists.

Richard Smith says he is proud to have dedicated his life to Daylesford Farm, in the role of Farms Director

“Food production has intensified over the last few decades and there is a pressure on agriculture to produce more and more from every acre, more and more from every animal,” explains Richard Smith, Daylesford’s Farms Director. “That has had a detrimental effect on the soils, the land, the animals and – in turn – the farmer. A lot of large farms have converted to organic [practice] but only in certain areas.

“The reason I’ve given my life to Daylesford is because there’s no cheating – our farming systems are 100 percent organic at every level. Our ethos is traceability, trust, and the honest production of food. All of our ruminants [hoofed grazing mammals] have a forage-based diet. We breed animals that are beautifully suited to the environment in which they live.”

Seasonal produce, grown on-site

High quality, sustainable produce is ingrained in the foundations of Daylesford, including across its five farm shops and cafés and two restaurants, one of which is the famous Wild Rabbit inn in Kingham. Through a variety of gastronomic creations displayed on a seasonal menu, Head Chef Gaven Fuller showcases the quality of their organically-grown produce.

Daylesford’s Organic Farm Shops and Cafes, located in the Cotswolds and London, are popular with local customers and visitors

“Our food is picked at its very best,” Gaven shares. “We are fortunate to use hyper seasonal vegetables; if it wasn’t ripe to pick yesterday, [it] is ripe enough to pick today. The seasons govern our menu, and our food predominantly comes from the market garden, 100 yards away from our café.”

The farm’s zero-waste surplus store, known as the Black Barn Kitchen, sells over 30,000 pre-prepared meals each week. On-site, at the Trough Café, one of the best-selling dishes is the slow cooked beef shin, served with wild mushrooms, chargrilled tender stem broccoli, celeriac and potato mash. Meanwhile, Daylesford’s signature chicken broth – cooked from surplus cuts of the chicken and converted into a delicious Thai-style dish, infused with ginger, lime and chilli – is a hit with customers, and leaves no waste.

Gaven humbly puts the Trough Café’s 2021 award of a Green Michelin Star down to quality workmanship. He explains that is not only due to the highly-rated menu – but also the behind-the-scenes ethics of the business. After all, compostable bins, minimal packaging from third-party suppliers, harvesting rainwater, hot water from a biomass boiler, electricity from solar panels and even electric vehicle charging points, are all a part of this farm’s ethical outlook.

“We want our regular customers – and our visitors – to see that this is a carefully thought-out operation,” adds Richard, proudly. “One day, we will leave the soil and the land in better condition for the next generation – and that’s what this is all about.”

Much like Daylesford Farm, The Macallan also take great pride in high-quality British manufacturing, combining the finest ingredients and a sustainable production process to create a whisky of outstanding quality and distinctive character. The Macallan Double Cask range is available in The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop, Waitrose and other premium retailers. Find out more at themacallan.com

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