Monday, 23 May 2016

Daylesford Farm

This weekend I tagged along with Rich to Daylesford Farm Festival. He was making a film for Daylesford Farm and I came along to carry his tripod (hence the less than awesome pictures, which were taken when I had a free hand with my iPhone!)

I'd heard about this place from Rich's previous trips, but it's nothing to actually seeing it. Not only is it absolutely enormous, it's 100% completely organic - from its dairy and meat production to its skincare range. Now, that's saying something.

I feel like I learnt a lot on this trip and I have to admit that I feel somewhat overwhelmed by the information that was available. So let's start at the beginning...

Daylesford Farm is owned by the Bamford family, who turned their estate over to sustainable farming practices over thirty years ago. Nowadays, the entire farm is run on organic and sustainable methods and has grown to include clothing and skincare as well as food. To say it's impressive is an understatement - their commitment to goodness drives everything they do.

My favourite part of the day was the farm tour with Farm Manager Richard Smith, who seems to know everything there possibly is to know about farming. Hearing about how they raise their animals was eye-opening. Organic costs more than non-organic and we certainly don't buy 100% organic. But when you are looking at animals that are raised well, you can really make the connection between the certification and the cost.

Daylesford animals live longer, happier lives. Babies are kept with their mothers, they are left to roam and the bulk of their diet is naturally foraged. The food - meat or dairy - that is then created from them is miles better than anything battery farmed.

'Free range', I also discovered, is not always an accurate term. You have to earn an 'organic' classification through stringent audits and when you buy organic, you know for absolute certain what that means. Free range is a much woolier term.

If you ever get the chance to visit Daylesford, I would say go. Seeing an organic farm in action is incredibly inspiring. Rich and I are changing our buying habits based on what we learned this weekend - less meat and all of it organic from now on.

On Sunday, we ate a delicious breakfast of crumpet bread and poached blue Legbar eggs, treats that I picked up in the farm shop before we headed home. A good and simple meal, that was made tastier by the knowledge that it was all good stuff, raised well and handmade. What could be better than that?

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