Hi everyone! We are all very sad not to be seeing many of you like we would have loved, but it is so important for our country to remain closed. However, as you know the farmers must continue to look after their animals and provide food for the nation. One of those farms who are busy working the land is Higher Biddacott Farm and we will be focusing on them this week for our ‘What’s on at the Farm’ series.
Who is Higher Biddacott Farm
Higher Biddacott Farm is located in the North Devon countryside on the outskirts of a little village called Chittlehampton. The farm is owned by Fiona and Jonathon who live in their 16th-century farmhouse Bed and Breakfast. At Higher Biddacott they farm organically and sustainably with their Shire horses, a very impressive sight indeed. On the land and with the help of their Shire horses, they grow Wheat and Oats. They also fatten some cattle and keep a few pigs and poultry during the summer to produce sausages, bacon and eggs for their Bed and Breakfast and glamping business. You could not get much lower food miles than that! Jonathon and Fiona are keen horsemen/women and love to work the land with their Shire horses. Their two main Shire horses are called Sampson and President. Working the land with the horses includes harrowing it to move the ground around, drilling the Wheat and Oats (planting the seed), muck spreading to fertilise the ground and more.
As well as using their skills to work the land with their Shire horses, Jonathon runs a successful business in training horses. His clients range from ponies to Shire horses and everything in between. From the photos, you can see additional Shire horses and a Percheron in training.
We asked Fiona how the last few months have been and she told us, ‘After months of rain this winter and keeping our horses and cattle in we have finally managed to turn them out on some grass and start working the ground down to drill the spring corn. It has been a long, wet winter so it was lovely to see some sunshine. The good news is that the ground has worked down beautifully and the Spring wheat is drilled. We have purchased a new machine from the Amish which allows us to produce a seedbed in one pass after ploughing. It has revolutionised this work’.
Fiona and Jonathon have just launched their organic wholemeal flour product and will be producing porridge oats later in the year. The demand for their flour has soared which has helped them get through the first few weeks of the pandemic but as Fiona wisely said, ‘Just like any farming year, who knows what lies ahead’. Next up for Fiona and Jonathon is to produce the organic porridge oats by horsepower from the oats they grow. According to Fiona, ‘It will be a challenge to get it all processed but we are on the case’.
What else have they been up to
As well as working on the farm, Fiona and Jonathon are working hard to improve their vegetable garden and continue to train young horses to drive and do fieldwork. A final note from Fiona to our readers, ‘Hopefully, we will be able to welcome guests back before the end of the Summer to share the beautiful North Devon countryside and our farming life. We look forward to seeing you all soon. Meanwhile, keep safe and look after our wonderful NHS’.
We hope you have enjoyed learning about Higher Biddacott Farm and what they have been doing over the past few weeks. Although you cannot visit them now it could be a destination to put on your wishlist for when we can welcome you back with open arms. If that is the case, then be sure to take a look at our website and learn even more about Higher Biddacott Farm.