There are not many farmers who can name every low flying aircraft going over their land, but Peter Mawson is not your usual farmer having exchanged a career as an air traffic controller in the RAF for an idyllic farm on the North York Moors
Farndale Farm is a hill farm at the end of a lane in High Farndale, the dale where the wild daffodils bloom in spring and where Peter rears his flock of rare breed Whitefaced Woodland sheep and British Saddleback pigs.
These hardy, native sheep are entirely grass fed – hay in winter and fresh grass in summer. The lambs are allowed to grow and mature slowly and are sold as hogget, which means lambs that are between 13 and 24 months old. These older lambs, Peter believes, give the meat a deeper, more mature flavour and we agree; we’ve tried it. High Farndale hogget is available between June and October as full, half or quarter animal, cut into joints ready for the freezer.
The Saddleback pigs are equally hardy and while there are shelters in their field, they live outdoors throughout the year and like the sheep, they are reared less intensively than commercially reared pork. Peter’s pigs are sold in 26kg or 13kg packs equivalent to a half or a quarter pig. He also produces wonderful dry cured bacon and gammon and pork rich sausages.
To buy meat from High Farndale you can visit the farm by appointment or buy online or visit one of the farmers’ markets in Helmsley, Ampleforth, Husthwaite and Kirbymoorside. Or to sample some of Peter’s fabulous bacon and sausage visit the lovely Graze on the Green at Rosedale Abbey. Other outlets can be found on their website.