Round Oak Farm can be found on the edge of the village of Mercaston near the historic market town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire. We purchased the small farm (originally 7 acres of land and stables being used as a stud for the breeding of welsh cobs) in March 2020 having fallen instantly under the spell of the stunning views over the surrounding countryside and the glorious oak tree that dominates the horizon on the top field. There was no house, no services (not even water!) but we loved it instantly and our dream began.......
As self confessed newcomers to farming we are on a steep learning curve but our passion for animals together with a vision of breeding rare breeds and farming sustainably underpins EVERYTHING we do and ALL the decisions we make.
To farm using traditional farming methods
To respect and conserve the environment
To establish a sustainable rare breed breeding program
To maintain the highest possible animal welfare standards
To produce high quality, home reared, free range meat products
To provide excellent customer experience and service
Round Oak pigs are at the heart of our business from breeding and raising them outdoors traditionally on the farm to selling the pork produce in our online shop and local farm shops. Our pork has complete traceability and our care for animal welfare, food values and provenance will hopefully assure our customers that excellent quality and service is paramount to us.
"I knew I wanted to keep rare breed pigs; not only to help protect the breeds but also because of the superior pork and bacon they would produce" .....Chris
We currently have Tamworth, Gloucester Old Spot, Mangaliza, Pietrain and Duroc pigs..... and they are certainly keeping us busy!
Believing passionately that only the best will do our rare breed pigs live outdoors and have free range to the green fields and woods which supports their natural foraging behaviour.
Slow grown to maturity, they have a varied diet grazing on grass and foraging for plant fodder and acorns. We supplement this with food waste from local businesses (pommice from a cider maker, bread from a bakery, milk from a dairy) and their favourite treats - water melon and sprouts.
Our free range bronze turkeys are naturally slow growing. During the day they roam freely and feed naturally scratching and foraging in the fields on our farm and at night they have access to a secure warm straw pen with feed and water.
We started small with a flock of 100 turkeys initially but are planning to rear 500 in our second year.
Our First Year
We are living our dream....every single day!
Yes, its incredibly hard work and we've made mistakes but we are dedicated and learning quickly and our small farm has had a successful first year.
Whilst we are still living in a caravan we have built a stable block and outdoor equestrian area and our horses have moved in and are thriving.
Drainage on the farm has proved to be an issue so we have been kept busy digging trenches and laying pipes to alleviate the problem, the pigs however have certainly enjoyed wallowing in the mud.
We have purchased more land and a wood for the pigs as we have realised that Tamworth Pigs are actually a plough on legs!
With a commitment to working with the environment and conserving natural habitats for wildlife, we have improved the hedges and grass margins around the farm to provide feeding areas for owls and other wildlife and introduced wildflowers to encourage and support insects.
We have dug our own water well which now services the caravan, stables and paddocks and we harvest rain water from the buildings that is reused around the farm.
We launched our meat produce into the market in September 2020, selling to friends and family in the first instance and now have a growing customer base via our online shop, we also ship meat boxes nationally.
Working with other small businesses to provide quality produce to the local community is important to us and we have forged partnerships with a local butcher and three local farm shops who now stock our produce; their support and advice has been invaluable and very much appreciated in our first year.
We want to stay true to our values and farm traditionally and to this end the pig herd on our farm will remain relatively small. However, our breeding programme will continue to develop and as we grow our rare breed herd we will be looking for ways to sustain our programme with other farmers.
We will also be actively seeking other like minded local businesses and farmers who would be interested in working in partnership with us to provide quality products and service to our local community and beyond.
We are hoping to attend local Farmers Markets so that we can not only sell our produce but also meet our consumers to talk about our farm and produce, plus gather valuable feedback and suggestions for future development.
As we develop our farm we will be aiming to use sustainable energy sources to keep our carbon footprint low.