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BARTLEY MILL FARM
Local food, pasture-fed beef, regenerative agriculture
- ABOUT US -
Bartley Mill Farm was established in 2009 by Rhys and Juanita Rogers, just outside Lamberhurst off the B2169 on the Kent/East Sussex border.
We first came here in 1997, and spent some time renovating the Mill and the Farmhouse. At first, we mostly let out our fields for grazing for local farmers' stock under Organic management registered with the Soil Association. When TB became an issue locally because of our proximity to the Kent/Sussex county border, we decided to have our own stock here on our land, and to put into practice what we'd learnt about permaculture, organic farming and carbon sequestration through regenerative agriculture. The internet has opened up many opportunities for people like Joel Salatin, Richard Perkins, Greg Judy, Justin Rhodes, Charles Dowding, Geoff Lawton and more to educate us about real, sustainable, good food. See Links for further information.
We practice regenerative farming, and aim to feed all of our animals purely on grass or hay during the winter. We are certified with the Pasture For Life Association. All of our cattle and sheep are grass-fed exclusively during the spring, summer and autumn months when they are outside. We still adhere to organic principles and do not use pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on the farm. We follow and usually exceed organic guidelines here but have come to disagree with the principle that we should pay to grow the best produce we can. We'd rather put our fees towards operating an open-farm-door policy and inviting our customers to visit the farm and see how we produce their food. Please contact us if you would like information about our open farm days.
Our farming practices are designed to work with nature, as well as sustain our animals and provide a profit from farming on our small farm. We follow a Holistic Management plan based on work by Alan Savory. The mob-grazing we use for our cattle, for example:
increases the efficiency of our grass use from around 70% to 90% through paddock rotation
avoids use of herbicides by the non-selective grazing of our animals
builds and sequesters up to 10 tons per acre per year of soil carbon, for every 1% increase in organic matter in the soil
adds up to 25,000 gallons extra of water-holding capacity per acre per 1% increase of soil organic matter in our soils, thus helping to prevent downstream flooding
ensures an even cover of animal inputs from manure (and by increasing organic matter in the soil by 1%, we can make up to 40lbs of Nitrogen per acre per year available for plant use, thus avoiding use of artificial fertilisers)
maintains a low level of parasitic burden in our animals through paddock rotation, so avoiding routine use of anthelminthics and other veterinary medicines
and builds a prolific insect and bird population on our land helped by our ban of unnecessary chemicals throughout the farm.
We believe building healthy soil should be at the heart of our farming practices. In the UK, on average we eat 450 - 500 kg of food per year, but modern intensive agriculture degrades around 10 tons of soil to produce that amount of food. We can't see how that is sustainable. With our grazing and farming practices we try to do our bit to re-build the soils we are stewards of here.
We stock rare-breed, native Sussex cattle, Manx Loaghtan sheep, hogget and lambs, British Saddleback pigs, Aylesbury ducks, Cornish Cross chickens and Embden geese. We operate on a supply and demand basis, because of this we ask that orders are placed a few weeks in advance. Some meat is seasonal, so it may not all be available all year round. Should you wish to pre-order any products which are not in stock, please contact us to place an order.
All of our meat is vacuum packed and may be safely frozen on the day of purchase.
Our family beef boxes, for example, are made up of 1/3 mince, 1/3 joints and 1/3 steaks or the equivalent.
This not only helps us reduce waste but it also ensures that we can supply the freshest, highest quality meat. Occasionally we have frozen meat available. Please ask if you want any non-standard cuts of meat as we try to eat 'nose-to-tail' and can often spare unusual cuts such as heart, tongue etc.
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