The Homestead is a small family farm on the North Downs just outside of Dover. Our herd of rare-breed, pedigree Shetland cattle live out on the Downs all year round, and only eat what grows here: fresh grass in the summer, and preserved grass, like hay and silage, in the Winter. Not just grass, of course: our cows graze meadow plants like Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Red Clover, and Vetch; sometimes they might fancy nettles, or choose leaves from trees in the woods; in the autumn they will pick themselves Blackberries.
It is our job to protect this environment for them, for us, and the birds, crickets, lizards and all the other creatures that live here.
Raising cattle in this natural way is a slow process - animals spend many years on the farm before going for beef – but it is worth it. The quality of slow-grown, grass-fed traditional beef is incomparable to meat from other methods of production. Try it for yourself! We will deliver to your door.
As first time farmers in 2012, we were in the fortunate (and challenging) position of being able to choose which breed of cattle we wanted to keep. We wanted a hardy breed that could be kept outside all year round, a breed that would thrive on the relatively poor grazing of the Kent Downs, and a breed that could be easily handled by the inexperienced farmers that we were. We also wanted to do our bit to preserve one of Britian’s endangered, rare breed cattle. Shetland cattle were perfect.
Our cows live in family groups with mothers, daughters and sons all sharing the same fields, preserving the complex social bonds of the herd. Calves are weaned naturally: young female calves (called heifers) will wean themselves at around nine months; male calves get weaned by their mothers whether they want to be or not!
We believe that keeping cows in natural groups makes them more content, and happy cows make better beef.
Cows are as individual as people, but in our experience, Shetlands are generally intelligent, calm, but absolutely not docile: our cows are independent and strong willed.
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As the nights draw in, warm up with our Braising Steak, Stewing Steak, and Minced Beef - and get 3 for 2.