Abotts Close Farm

Farmer: Charles Ashbridge

High up on Heathcliff and Cathy's windy North Yorkshire moors, mother and son Joyce and Charles Ashbridge have built up a formidable reputation with chefs for their rare, native meats from breeds such as Red Poll and Dexter cattle, Gloucester Old Spot and Oxford Sandy Black pigs, and Suffolk sheep.

'Our farming methods are reminiscent of our grandfathers' era so this allows us to bring out the very best in the breeds' says Charles. Traditional methods of breeding, rearing and finishing livestock are built into the family's farming protocols. For instance, the Ashbridges' piglets suckle on their mothers until they are at least 8-10 weeks old, almost three times longer than their commercially reared counterparts. In the warmer months they are kept outside and are free to roam and forage. During cooler months, they are reared inside a barn on straw beds in a warm and dry environment.

The Ashbridge family combines its traditional approach with a taste for gastronomic innovation, in the form of delights such as rare breed suckling piglet and porchetta. As Lawrence Keogh, head cook at Roast restaurant in London puts it, 'the feedback we receive (on the Ashbridges’ meat) is fantastic'.

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