Brian Robson had left the family farm and was working for Tesco before his Dad discovered free range meat. Its transformed the family farm and Brian is now back homing running the family business.
Field House Farm lies literally on the edge of the village of High Spen, an ex-mining village on the edge of the moors just outside Gateshead. Its a robust place to live with the winds and the weather howling in from the North Sea. Its where the north east spirit is bred into you! The farm in various manifestations had been in the Robson family for several generations but as Brian grew up financially its future looked increasingly fragile – even when turning to intensive poultry farming as his Dad did. It seemed there was no option but for Brian to break the family link and earn his living elsewhere – a painful move for anyone, a move for a Geordie which must be almost indescribable!
With no family future in the farm, Dad gave in to temptation and sold part of the land for housing development. This move turned out to be both heart break and the remaking of the farm. With just the poorer land left, Dad turned to free range pig and sheep farming – and then had the brainwave to sell direct at Tynemouth Saturday Market. People bought, and bought….and continued to buy at the market stall till eventually Brian was tempted back home and is now running the reformed family business of free range livestock production, sold direct at Tynemouth.
This is ethical farming north east style, there is no room for frills. The farm is not organic, Brian rather preferring to work to his own ideas of care and welfare and provide his customers value for money….and the opportunity to visit the farm and look for themselves. When I look at the definition of Food Sovereignty it is every much as bit satisfying the definition as the most certified of organic farms……
‘Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems‘.
Spot on as far as I can see and the world all the better for the diversity it adds to the implementation of food sovereignty.
Ironically every day that Brian goes out to his pigs, sheep and cows – separated as they are now from the farm house after the sale of intervening land – he drives past the land which was once his family’s. It been christened ‘Heartbreak Valley’. If only the family now had that land back! He is though, back home and his business in expanding with the building of an on-site farm shop – a shop where Brian will practice the butchery skills taught to him by Tesco on his little adventure away from the farm. Who says Tesco never bring anything good to anyone!!
For more about Brian and Field House Farm you need to go talk to him at the farm shop (Field House, High Spen, Rowlands Gill, Tyne And Wear, NE39 2AX Tel: 0843 2776672 ) or Tynemouth market. No fancy website here!!! This is Geordie-land!
For more on Tynemouth market see the market website
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