Thursday 13 October 2016

Somerset ‘grass-fed livestock’ enthusiast hosts goose walk

Goose producers from all over the UK met at the West Country farm of Oliver White near Ilminster for the annual farm walk of British Goose Producers.

One of the newer members, Oliver White is rearing around 400 geese for Christmas at Greenway Farm, Dowlish Ford, as part of an enterprise based on grass-fed livestock sold through the internet.

A fourth generation farmer, Oliver founded the website Farm2Fork in 2010 born from a dream to produce meat exactly as nature intended and he started with 57 geese on just five acres.

He moved in 2014 to Greenway Farm, a Somerset County Council 125-acre holding where he was awarded the tenancy in competition with 65 other applicants and where he produces an increasing range of grass-fed livestock.

At the farm walk he told more than 30 visitors that the geese reared for Christmas are a key part of the enterprise because they attract local consumers to the farm.

Through the year he sells beef and lamb from Poll Dorset sheep – all reared totally on grass which, he said, had health advantages in providing higher levels of certain vitamins, beneficial fatty acids and dietary protein.

He is currently completing a Nuffield Scholarship on the ‘environmental, welfare and health benefits’ of meat and dairy products raised on pasture that has taken him to the United States and Australia to study the opportunities for grass-fed farming.

After the morning farm walk and a hog roast lunch, BGP chairman John Franklin led a discussion on aspects of goose production and Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Federation, spoke about the benefits of insurance scheme that covers the cost of a clean-up after any outbreak of avian influenza.

Roger Ranson, PR consultant to BGP, spoke about the marketing support given to members including on-going liaison with the print and online media, the goose website, social media and publications including the new 2016 Members’ Handbook and Recipe Leaflet. With more interest from restaurants in putting goose on the menu, it was felt there was a need to provide some helpful advice on cooking goose. Chefs are often not familiar with cooking goose and may serve it under-done – so the BGP is to provide a guide aimed at this sector of the market.

Our thanks go to Oliver White and his family for hosting such a splendid day, providing a new insight into grass-fed livestock and serving a tasty lunch.

View some of the pictures from the event below: