Busy time on organic farm

The Matlock Mercury sponsored lamb Dynamite, pictured with Emily Siddaway, eleven and her brother Frank, eight, at Garden Farm, High Leas.
The Matlock Mercury sponsored lamb Dynamite, pictured with Emily Siddaway, eleven and her brother Frank, eight, at Garden Farm, High Leas.

In April the Mercury adopted a lamb from an organic farm at High Leas – and will be following him through his life from farm to fork.

Our aim is to find out more about where the food on our plates comes from.

Since the feature was launched, as part of our Food Glorious Food campaign, things have moved on at Garden Farm and our lamb – Dynamite, who is now over a month old – is growing fast.

He is also living up to his name, running around the 110 acres of his home near Riber and following his owners around on the farm.

Tim Sidaway, who moved to Garden Farm in January with his wife Sarah and two children, wants people to respect the meat they eat and considers animal welfare of the utmost importance.

Dynamite has been bottle fed as his mother had three lambs and was unable to feed them all.

In around two months time he will be weaned then spend the rest of his life eating grass.

Tim said: “Dynamite is very happy and healthy and follows the children around all over the place.

“He is out in the field for the day then comes in and has milk in the evening but will gradually be weaned.”

Emily 11 and Frank, eight, are also enjoying their new lives down on the farm and have been helping their parents with the daily chores.

Emily gets up early every day to lend a hand at feeding time while Frank enjoys exploring the farm and climbing trees.

But Tim said they were prepared for the lamb’s eventual slaughter, in around six months time.

Various campaigns have highlighted the practices of intensive livestock farming and many shoppers now want to know more about the farm where the meat was reared.

Seeing where your dinner grew up might not be something we like to think about but like it or not most lambs are bred for meat and thousands are slaughtered every day.

Tim added: “The children know it is all part of a process which is really important.

“We think it is essential for that generation and the next to know where their food comes from as they will be the ones making all the big decisions about international trade and farming.”

It’s a busy time for Garden Farm as the 75 ewes were sheared this week.

Professional sheep shearers were called in to carry out the skilled job.

A sheep can be sheared in around five minutes which will remove the fleece in one piece.

Sheep are usually sheared once a year, usually in the spring before the onset of warm weather.

If they are not sheared they become very stressed and uncomfortable in the hot weather and eventually, the wool will become matted.

Tim said: “All the ewes have been sheared now and are out in the meadows with the lambs where the grass is lovely and lush.

“It’s a fantastic time on the farm.”

n As part of our feature we will also be encouraging meat-eaters against waste and supporting nose-to-tail animal eating.

In later articles look out for recipes which use these lesser known cuts of meat.