Introducing Hockey’s Farm
24 April 2015
After a stressful year of negotiations and securing financial backing, Jonny and Laura finally moved into their new home at Hockey’s Farm in November 2013, together with Laura’s parents, her sister Emma and nephew Jack.
Comprising of a 16th century cottage set in ten acres of land in the New Forest, the farm had once been a very well-known location but had lost its way over the past decade and needed a hefty dose of cash and TLC.
Despite neither of them having had much experience of farming, both Laura and Jonny felt that the experience they did have, plus being “Forest families” and knowing the local area, would stand them in good stead.
As a primary school teacher, Laura was accustomed to working long hours and dealing with people, while Jonny’s background in the food industry meant he would be the mastermind behind their plans for a new farm shop.
Laura said: “We knew it would be hard work but it’s definitely been worth it. Jonny and I have always been keen on good food experiences and shopping locally, so our business plan was to create our ideal farm shop, selling items we’ve grown or produced ourselves here on the farm.”
Producing their own meat soon became a priority for Jonny and Laura and on the recommendation of their local butcher Nathan and nephew Jack, who both felt that pigs would be a good way forward, they began researching suitable breeds and management plans.
The British Lop stuck out as a worthy candidate; rare, tasty, a good doer, pink, docile and ideal for beginners. More importantly for Jonny and Laura, lops are British and choosing them would mean supporting an endangered breed.
Jonny and Laura then discovered Chris Lamb, breeder and great supporter of British Lops, who had a farm just two miles away from theirs and could easily supply Hockey’s Farm with what they needed to get started.
Beginning with six weaners, Chris now delivers between six and nine weaners each month to Hockey’s Farm and has helped ‘pig manager’ Jack master their feeding programme, giving butcher Nathan some fantastic meat to work with.
As a result, Hockey’s Farm now produces their own burgers and sausages, without additives or preservatives, and Nathan has created a selection of Lop sausage recipes including plain pork, sage and onion, cider and chilli, which are all proving extremely popular with customers.
Visitors to the farm can see the pigs for themselves, and Jonny and Laura love to spend time chatting with them about the breed and what they do at Hockey’s Farm.
Laura said: “The last 18 months have been exhausting but so rewarding and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved here. As for the pigs yes, they love to dig, yes, they have escaped into the paddock and yes, they do whiff more on some days than others! “We’d like to venture into breeding ourselves at some point, but that needs a bit more research and time, but it’s definitely something we’ll look into. The British Lop is a great pig and hopefully its future is now secure; it is here at Hockey`s anyway”