Dews Meadow Farm was born from a background of family farming and retail, working in agriculture from many generations our Mothers, Fathers, Grandfathers, and Great Grandparents working with horse-driven equipment to modern-day machinery, with Grandparent’s running a village shop and a coal business.
The marriage of Jane & Andy created a fusion of traditional and modern farming techniques and tied two different farming families together. As a farmer’s daughter growing up on a dairy farm Jane had wanted to continue farming, she had been milking the cows since leaving school, however the smaller farms needed to modernize and expand requiring large investments, unfortunately, the milk prices were unstable making the business plan unviable. The dairy herd and most of the land was sold keeping a few cattle and pigs Jane was also breading horses, then she met Andy who was from a farm working background had studied at agricultural college and worked on many different farms in England and even Denmark. After they were married and Andy had managed other farms gaining experience and modern practices, Jane had been learning accounting and gained a lot of business experience and had helped her father and brother set up their new transport company from 1979 they set up our own small farm and they were successfully rearing excellent pigs in high welfare straw-based conditions for the market and contracts
However, in 1984 the market prices became lower than the cost of production, around the same time we found out our eldest son was allergic to some antibiotics and also found we had a few sick pigs. When the vet visited he explained that the antibiotics in the pig food should help, it was at this point we started to question some of the modern farming techniques used. From this we decided to review our farming and downsized to a high health stocked herd. We did not want to use feed with antibiotics so although this meant that our pork would take longer to grow, it would be natural and have more flavor. We also kept the stress to a minimum by doing all our animal transport ourselves.
At the time we were viewed “as crackpots” within the industry and at first it was quite difficult to source the Pig feed and have it made to our specification without any growth promoters, however this was achieved in the end and around 20 years later as this crazy idea became mainstream.
This all meant we had to market our meat ourselves, from 1986 we advertised our additive-free pork selling to a few local people direct from the farm and two local Butchers who were delighted with the Pork and we were soon selling to many independent Butchers within a 30-mile radius we provided posters and delivery by ourselves direct to our customers.
By the late eighty’s to the early nineties, the independent butchers were under great pressure as the supermarkets were gaining all the business from them and most of the local butchers found it increasingly difficult to compete with the prices and imports and large-scale business’s and gradually closed down. Jane’s passion with farming and the independent retail economy became a driving force and she became involved within the Pig industry setting up “Ladies in Pigs” with many other local farmers promoting “British Pork” attending many local events and shows while Andy learned new skills of butchery and how to produce his own exceptional dry-cured bacon.
This then became the next chapter in our business converting our garage into a farm shop, learning how to cure & smoke bacon and make sausages of many varieties including additive-free and gluten-free.
From then on, our committed team began to join us- both our experienced butchers and knowledgeable staff. Since then our product range has grown to utilize our wonderful pork for cooked Hams, roast pork, black pudding, hogs pudding, and pate all homemade. In 1999 we started attending local farmers markets
At the Freshfood 2000 Exhibition specialists from across the world were given the opportunity to win international acclaim for their trade skills and their creativity by taking part in the international Freshfood competition. Our entry was awarded a gold star at the Freshfood 2000 and is the biggest international fresh food trade exhibition in the world.
These competitions are organized by SVO, the Dutch organization for expertise and training for the fresh food trade. In all the jury judged about 2.500 products, divided over 25 categories. This only serves to enhance the achievement of Dews Meadow Farm where we won the gold award for dry-cured unsmoked bacon with perfect 10s in all of the 5 categories on the judging card.
We continued to expand our range and created new home-produced products including pork pies, pasties, sausage rolls, and "Take and Bake range" of pies and pastry goods also started running run a local delivery service.
In the last 10 years James, closely followed by Harry, have joined the family business and are now aiming to keep the farm and shop running for the next generation to have the chance to learn how to mix traditional and modern farming as well as retail techniques together to continue to bring high-quality home produce directly to the public.
From 2017 we have expanded our farm where all the animals are free-range, we have some traditional and rare breed Oxford sandy & black pigs, and grass-fed shorthorn beef and Devon reds, a flock of breeding sheep Lambs and chickens.
We are always looking for new ways to improve and grow and have lots of exciting plans and ideas for the upcoming years. What with the renewed interest in local, honest produce, and with the ongoing support of our local community and loyal customer base, the future is looking bright for Dews Meadow Farm.