Old Hall Farm, Woodton, between Norwich and Bungay | www.oldhallfarm.co.uk
Rebecca Mayhew of Old Hall Farm near Bungay joins us as a columnist, writing about life on the family farm
There is a huge difference between pasture and grass. In our case, our pasture has 27 diverse species of grasses, legumes and herbs which all aid our cattle (beef and dairy) to grow in the most natural and healthy way possible, compared to those cattle grazed on a less diverse single species (monocrop) grass, which is artificially enhanced usingartificial fertilisers, whereas we don’t use any chemicals at all.
Why does it matter, and what difference does it make? Well, the answer is that it makes a huge difference!
The diverse mix is amazing for bees and other pollinators, and it allows the cattle to self-medicate for worms and any other ailments. Access to hedgerows and allowing cattle to eat plants such as Hawthorn also allows them to have a more natural diet and top up on the naturally high levels of iron and zinc that are available at this time of year. Long story short: it is better for the land, and the beasts. If you do not have a diverse pasture, none of those benefits are there and it just isn’t as good!
Why is it better for us? Well, it is all about the levels of Omega 3 available in the meat. We are what they eat after all. So, if your Sunday roast comes from an animal that has been kept largely inside and fed on a low grass, high concentrate food diet containing wheat and soya well, that is not good for us and the quality, or lack thereof, comes through in the nutritional quality of the meat, and of course the milk as well.
A recent study in scientific journal ‘Future Foods’, has now been able to prove that meat and milk from animals fed a purely 100% pasture diet for their entire lives has a far higher ratio of the goodOmega 3 fatty acids in relation to the less desirable Omega 6fatty acids, ergo, it’s better for us.
So, how do you guarantee that you are eating the best? Well, buying direct has never been easier – many farms now sell meat boxes direct which can make buying the best very affordable. Also, do ask your butcher for chemical free meat – not only is it better for your health, it is also better for the environment!
- The butchery at Old Hall Farm opens seven days a week and we are proud to supply our own Jersey and rare breed beef, rare breed pork, and lamb and chicken sourced from farmers with the same ethos. We’re based at Old Hall Farm Shop, Norwich Road, Woodton, NR35 2LP.