Henrietta and James, the owners of the farm, moved to Somerset with their four children from London 14 years ago somewhat to their surprise.
We bought Stream Farm lock, stock and barrel in 2002. It had a small herd of 28 Dexter Cattle and a small flock of 26 Hampshire Down sheep. We have increased the herd to over 150 and the flock to 300 or so and in 2006 we received formal organic status and are certified by Organic Farmers & Growers.
We had no farming experience and got by on a wing and a prayer (to say the least!). Now we have moved on somewhat and maybe do not need the wing. Our lamb, beef, chicken, rainbow trout, water and apple juice have all won gold, silver or bronze at the Taste of the West Awards between 2009 and 2016. In 2014, the stand-out achievement was being awarded 3 stars for our lamb – meaning the judges deemed it to be among the very best in the country. In 2015, we entered the Great Taste awards winning yet more awards for our Devonshire Gold chickens as well as for the pedigree Dexter beef (you can see them at the foot of this page). We also won the award for Best Local Producer in Bristol that year. In the 2016 TOTW awards, both our fresh and oak-smoked rainbow trout, and our still and sparkling water, all won gold awards, with the apple juice taking silver.
Share farmers have come and gone over the years – some to continue farming enterprises elsewhere, others to pursue self-employment opportunities down other routes. At present, Matt and Claire, who arrived with their two children (now four with the arrival of Meadow and Jacob!) in May 2010, look after the Hampshire Down sheep. Will and Pip joined us in September 2012 (now, with Leo), tasked with selling Stream Farm produce in Bristol and Bath. Sam (and, later, Leticia) came on board in 2014 to help make sure all the little businesses are humming, to run the apple orchards and to get the spring water on its feet! Simon and Liz (with Joe and Sam) have looked after the rainbow trout since the start of the year – producing both fresh fish and oak smoked fillets. Anthony came to join us in April to take on the chickens and he now has a helping hand with Ben who is our most recent arrival from Bristol. Our newest venture is honey and Ali and Kate are looking after the hives, particularly as we approach winter.
Meet The Farmers
Our aim at Stream Farm is to show that the British countryside is far better served by large numbers of small farms selling their produce directly to those who are going to eat it rather than by just a few huge farms selling to the supermarkets. To that end, we have started quite a number of small farming businesses on our 250 – acre farm with the intention of handing each one on, once it can be seen to be profitable and can earn a livelihood, to farmers who want to be part of the vision.
We have been closely involved with issues of urban decline for over 25 years and found a while ago that our brief was wider than we anticipated so we are now focussing as well on the sad and rapid breakdown of rural communities.
But the vision needs you as well if it is going to work. We want you to choose to buy from us – and, gradually, we hope, from our farmers – because you agree with what we are trying to do, not just because our produce is second to none. If you like what you buy, we would love you to consider committing to continue to do so for, say, a year at a time. That way, the producers can have some certainty in advance that they will be able to sell what they produce and can get on with what they know best – rather than trying to compete with the huge marketing budgets of the multiple retailers.
We also want to persuade you to buy in larger amounts than you are used to and to find out about some of the less well known cuts – and we will pay half the cost of a chest freezer if you do not have one to get you started and provide you with super recipes. You will know that what you buy will (soon) come from small scale farmers whose livelihoods you are helping to sustain and whose product will be traceable to their doorstep. And what you buy, we promise, will be second to none!