Patrick & Steph Bourns
In every issue we like to showcase some of what we consider to be our great British farmers. This time around centre stage is given to Patrick & Steph Bourns.
Cackleberry Farm is nestled at the bottom of a hill just outside Stow-on-the-Wold, and for four years it has been home to five small flocks of Arlington White chickens, which ootle and roam from dawn till dusk on thirty acres of luscious Cotswold countryside. They produce the exclusive Arlington White eggs which are supplied to the likes of Fortnum & Mason and used by a number of prominent UK chefs including at The River Café.
I asked Paddy and Steph why they chose to farm in a more traditional way, and what makes their Arlington White eggs special:
“We have always wanted to produce a special egg, having the birds’ welfare at the heart of what we do. Our birds are reared from day old on the farm, in spacious barns and are never de-beaked, as they are kept in a relaxing environment with high husbandry standards. We have no more than 5,000 hens, housed in small flocks with plenty of perches, bedding to scratch around, fresh water and a natural diet with lots of luscious grass. By keeping our birds in mobile houses our hens are happy and lead a stress-free life which is the secret to our exquisite eggs and what makes it all worthwhile.
Our eggs are now being requested by chefs across the county who are as passionate as us about quality and happy hens. We supply directly to the catering trade mainly supplying hotels and restaurants, including several in London. By having our eggs collected daily from the farm, they arrive pristine and fresh with their prominent rich golden yolk which defines our Arlington White Eggs.”
What a lovely thought, hens kept in small flocks nibbling on a daily diet of grass enriched with fresh herbs, free to range where they wish. Paddy and Steph could expand their business, but won’t even consider it if it changes the quality of life for his hens. It’s what we call real free ranging, and this Flying the British Egg Flag feature comes with a huge well done from the British Hen Welfare Trust to another of our great British farmers.
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