One of the biggest benefits of buying your meat from a butchers is knowing exactly where your meat comes from. So, with that in mind, we visited Crib House Farm to take some photos and give you more information about their pork and lamb. When we visited, lambing season had just ended and due to the cold weather we’ve been having recently the animals were inside. During the warmer months the animals graze out on the paddock; we can’t wait to go back and see them outside in the Spring.
Initially a dairy farm, Roy Christopher took over Crib House Farm in 1958. Fast forward three generations and the farm has seen a lot of changes; in 2011, Roy’s son Vernon and his wife Heather sold the dairy and made the move to beef, sheep, pigs and arable farming. He’s now joined by his son Tom and they farm over 140 acres of wheat, barley and maize as well as looking after their livestock enterprise. Over the past decade, Vernon and Tom have perfected their own feed mix made from the crops they grow on their farm. The feed is a blend of wheat, barley, flaked maize and molasses, specially selected to enhance the flavour of the meat.
Crib House Farm have one Landrace boar, which is bred with 10 sows to produce their pork. The sows are a mix of Saddlebacks and Large Whites and will farrow three times a year -
First imported from Sweden in the 50s, the British Landrace pig is now one of the UK’s most popular breeds due to it’s versatility. They have both a high lean meat content and plenty of fleshy bits, which make them ideal for fresh pork and bacon production.
Saddlebacks were hugely popular during the second world war, making up almost 50% of pedigree pigs across the UK. Their popularity has continued, largely due to their renowned mothering ability. They are a hardy breed whose grazing capability makes them perfect for outdoor and organic farming.
The Large White has also proved itself as a rugged and hardy breed that can withstand variations in climate and other environmental factors. Their ability to cross with and improve other breeds has given them a leading role in commercial pig production and breeding around the world.
Crib House Farm also have 6 Abermax rams which breed with 300 ewes. The ewes are a mix of Suffolk Cross Mules, North Country Mules and Scotch Half breeds and they lamb once a year.
Abermax rams are perfect for outdoor farming. They are a cross of Charollais and Texel to produce a sheep that combines the great meat genetics of both breeds, resulting in top quality lamb with a high meat-to-bone ratio.
Suffolks have been established in the UK since the Regency era. Originating in Eastern England, the Suffolk is the most used native sire breed today. Their ewe’s high milk output makes them perfect for producing fast growing lambs.
Perfect for lowland farming, the North Country Mule is a top class mother of prime meat lambs due to the physical strength and good health it gains from being a Mule, its ability to breed in its first year and renown for production of quality lambs.
A North Country Cheviot ewe crossed with a Border Leicester ram produces a Scotch Half breed. Known as the “Queen of Ewes”, they’re great mothers who milk well to grow top quality lambs.