Trenchmore Farm Sussex
Trenchmore Farm Sussex is run by husband and wife Andrew and Joanne and their children Oscar and Rachel. They bring us meat from beautiful happy cows, nutritious heritage wheat and wonderfully nostalgic Sussex apple cider. Supplying some of our favourite restaurants in Brighton and Sussex including L’Atelier du Vin, Etch and The Sussex Ox, we thought it was about time everyone knew a little more about them..
Could you tell us about Trenchmore Farm?
Good food grown well is at the forefront of everything we do at Trenchmore Farm Horsham. Our aim is to produce delicious tasting food that puts back into the land as well as taking out. We are very proud of what we produce and enjoy supplying our local community with food that has been farmed for flavour, with sustainability in mind.
Talk to us about you specialities – beef from happy cows, cider and heritage wheat..
When Andrew was 8 years old he helped a dairy farmer one summer in Wales and then went on to study Agriculture at university. He soon realised that, short of patrimony, matrimony or parsimony he would struggle to ever own his own farm. Many years later, and after working for nearly 40 years in London, the land surrounding our house in Cowfold became available and so we decided to give farming a go and started off with Joanne’s uncle’s herd of cattle.
We had walked through a lovely old orchard the previous summer and so wanted to start growing our own apples. We also knew that we would need straw for our cattle so decided to grow an arable crop. Heritage wheat is a low input crop that would help improve our soils, bed the cattle and produce a delicious wheat for us to eat.
A virtuous circle, allowing us to improve the soils and grow more delicious, sustainable food.
The cattle eat the grass and apple pomace, the straw from our wheat is used to bed the cattle, the cattle muck is spread on the fields to help improve the soils and feed the crops.
What’s so special about your cows?
Welfare is very important to us. We are farming for flavour as opposed to yield or low costs. Happier and healthier animals are also the most delicious and so we are pleased to maintain high welfare standards.
What are your views on animal Welfare?
Welfare is important for all animals. We believe that animals are sentient creatures and deserve being well looked after and treated with respect. We also know that any stress that our cattle experience during their lives has a negative impact on the quality of our beef.
What is your relationship like with cows?
Our cattle are wonderful and curious creatures and we are very fond of them. We do get to spend more time with our Sussex mums because they are with us for much longer and so we do become quite attached to them. Being so fond of our cattle means that it’s really important to us that they all have a great quality of life.
How is it being a family run business?
Being a family run business helps what we do daily. We thought about the answers for these questions together over our Sunday dinner! It helps that everyone seems to be on the same page in terms of the longterm goals for our farm and business.
Is farming a tough choice for work and life?
Farming is a lifestyle choice. It is very long hours but some of those hours are spent outside in the sunshine, so we’re not complaining.
What other suppliers do you work with?
We work with Two Tribes Brewery and the Flax Farm in Horsham – they both provide us with bi-products of their production which we feed to our lucky cattle, in addition to our apple pomace after pressing for cider.
We also work with hundreds of local families who supply us with their surplus garden apples every autumn in return for Silly Moo Cider!
Do you think farming is in crisis or struggling at the moment?
We do think that farming is in quite a delicate place. In just over a decade we have lost more than 33,000 farms from our countryside, whilst poor diet is now causing more health problems than smoking. It feels as though the link between the land and the food we eat is being broken. Farming and food production has an ageing population in this country and so there is also a real need to start attracting young and innovative farmers to the the industry.
The percentage of our disposable income spent on food has decreased over the past few decades, which reflects the attitude society has to the food we consume.
It feels as though this attitude is shifting back towards putting more importance on good food, grown well and locally bought.
What can we expect the future to bring for Trenchmore?
We farm for flavour at Trenchmore, so we will always be interested in exploring different low input crops in our soil to see what they taste like. We have also recently started selling Moo on Tap – our unfiltered, cloudy Silly Moo on draught product. We hope you will see it in more and more pubs across Sussex over the summer!