Another recent edition to the market is Treway Farm, where Kate and Will Martin rear their award-winning bronze turkeys and pedigree short horn cattle. You may have spotted the couple at Saturday markets with their children, Charlie and Flora, in-tow!
How did it all begin?
Kate and her husband Will are first generation farmers who, fresh out of university, bought Treway Farm in 2007.
“We both have close relatives who are farmers, and Will always wanted to farm even as a teenager,” explains Kate. “I think we’re pretty unusual in our generation in that we wanted to make a career in farming, despite not inheriting a farm!”
The farm is very much a family affair, with Charlie and Flora helping out wherever possible. “The children have a really deep and genuine appreciation for what it takes to rear animals properly, and why traditional farming methods are so important,” says Kate. “As first-generation farmers ourselves we’d never push them into taking on the farm, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they wanted to!”
Where does the produce come from?
Treway is near the village of Grampound. It’s an idyllic spot with 300 acres of rolling hills, lush meadows and sheltered valleys.
The turkeys are processed on-site, the homebred beef by a local butcher. Food miles are kept to a minimum in a closed food-loop which benefits the local economy.
What do they produce?
Approaching the farming business with fresh eyes and open minds, the couple soon spotted a gap in the market and diversified into rearing high-quality turkeys for the Christmas table.
These award-winning bronze turkeys are a traditional heritage breed, allowed to roam freely amongst the valleys and meadows at Treway, slowly reaching their finishing weight just in time for Christmas. The ‘Gold Turkey Standard’ assurance scheme which Treway carries guarantees the highest welfare standards as well as exceptional flavour.
The turkeys are game-hung to allow this flavour to develop, before being dry plucked; it’s a time-consuming, artisan process but one which has won Treway Farm a loyal following.
The hugely successful artisan turkey business prompted Kate and Will to diversify again into another native, heritage breed – short horn cattle. The Martins’ choose this breed because they are excellent grass converters – meaning they steadily turn grass into fat and muscle without the need for extra feed to take them to their finishing weight.
This slow, natural growth produces fine marbling in the meat and a delicious deep flavour. Treway Farm beef is dry aged for 28 days – a special treat for those family occasions.
What are the challenges?
As a small family business, the greatest challenge for The Martins’ is keeping up with practical day-to-day jobs on the farm (not to mention bringing up two children!) whilst also marketing and selling their products.
Kate and Will sell their grass-fed beef and bronze turkeys direct to customers through their website as well as at market. “I think in these times it’s more important than ever to have multiple sales channels,” says Kate. “The balance of the traditional farmer’s market with online sales works really well for us.”
She adds: “I really love the market because of that customer interaction. People ask a lot of questions about the farm and how we rear our cows and turkeys – there is a genuine hunger for knowledge about provenance, which I find very affirming.”
Why rear native, heritage breeds?
Kate and Will believe that traditional farming methods, natural diets and high animal welfare are an ethical imperative and result in a much better end-product.
“People are quite rightly reassessing their meat consumption these days,” says Kate. “Eating less meat – and making sure what we do eat is really good quality, locally reared, and high-welfare – gives farmers like us a bright future.”