Great Berwick Organics

Sam Barker - Great Berwick Organics - Shropshire

The farmer

The Barker Family have been farming at Great Berwick since 1949, when after a short career as an Officer in the Royal Horseguards, John Barker (Sam's Grandfather) was granted the tenancy on the Berwick Estate.  The son of a timber merchant and as a first generation farmer he set out to breed pigs and milk friesian cows.

The cattle

He spoke to Butchers across the country and very quickly it was clear that the English Longhorn was the most sought after of all the breeds for meat quality, flavour and tenderness.  The decision was made! Then, by shear coincidence, Heston Blumenthal, in his 'Search for the Perfect Steak', also chose Longhorn as the winner over all the other traditional beef breeds. This was great timing! The farm is PFLA and Organic Certified.

The land

120 acres in Shropshire. The Longhorns play a harmonious role in our organic cereal production. The cows eat the clover rich grass and at the same time the clover is working wonders under the surface by locking in the naturally occuring nitrogen.  This in turn helps to produce better crop yields. Then the manure produced by the cows adds essential organic matter and nutrients to the soil structure. As Organic Farmers (regulated by Organic Farmers & Growers) we don't use any chemicals or artifcial chemicals. Instead we harness and work with nature.

We are also in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which has resulted in field headlands full of flora and fauna and a whole farm habitat that Charles Darwin would have been proud of!

In the summer Sam brings his cattle to an ancient organic country estate to manage the pasture through holistic planned grazing of the land