West Moss-side has been organic since 1999. It is the location of the award winning Trossachs Yurts and is set in the farming landscape of the Carse of Stirling just on the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Part of the farm is on the ancient peat lands of Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve - the remnants of a vast expanse of raised bogs which extended along the Forth valley. It is here that in the summer my Shetland cattle graze - keeping the rough grasses, heathers and birch regeneration at bay.
The beef is therefore a product of home conservation grazing with a tiny percentage of their feed being organic concentrate. In the winter they eat hay and haylage made from the West Moss-side fields. The hay fields are biodiversity rich with a mixture of grasses, wildflowers and clover. No food miles for the cattle! although making hay requires tractors and deisel and the haylage is wrapped in black plastic. But the system is as carbon neutral as possible. The farm is certified organic so there are no artificial fertilizers, insecticides or chemicals whatsoever. The cattle are kept as a family grouping with just 8 or 9 breeding cows so the amount of beef (from the bullocks) is very limited. The beef is hung for 3 weeks and butchered by a specialist butcher. We have a new butcher as of November 2018. Keith at Downfield Farm remarked that the beef was of the highest quality he had ever seen... he said it was a joy to butcher such fine beef. It was frozen down by Downfield and is then sold direct from the farm freezer. I am very excited to be part of the Neighbourfood family - but as you will appreciate I am a very small producer and the beef is only available in limited quantities. This year I have been joined by the award winning chef Andrew Barrowcliffe and we are collaborating under a joint venture called Fertile Ground so he will be using some of West Moss-side's great food to produce some new and traditional products.
You are very welcome to come down to the farm and meet the cattle. Calving is in May/ June, hay making is when ever the sun shines and after 15th July when the young ground nesting birds have flown. The fields are in an agri-environment scheme - to help the declining farmland birds. Curlew, Peewit, Oyster catcher and Snipe all breed here.
This year there are 9 calves - more than any other year.