What we do at Hillstown Farm.
Well this is my first blog post and hopefully there will be more. I’m looking forward to keeping you informed on what’s happening at Hillstown Farm.
Here’s a little background to what we do.
My father Francis has been working with livestock for over 60 years and runs a very high welfare farm at Hillstown. Over the years he’s increased the farm to about 150 acres of prime grassland. What he doesn’t know about rearing livestock isn’t worth knowing. His philosophy is that a happy well cared for animal grows best and rarely gets ill. To do this he focuses hard on vaccination programs for the livestock because prevention is always better than cure. He has also installed rubber mattress for all the cattle for their winter housing which makes very content animals.
I’m the fifth generation farmer here at Hillstown and have been helping out on the farm since i was 5 years old. In a previous life i was an Animal Health and Welfare Inspector for Department of Agriculture and Quality Insurance Inspector for the LMC. Both jobs I enjoyed doing and have taught me lots about how to care for and respect livestock.
Over the years I’ve developed my own herd of cattle, sheep, rare breed pigs and chickens. Together we have completely changed the breeding policy’s of our livestock. Its now a slower growing traditional breeds which is all about being gentle on the environment, being less intensive and being free from antibiotics and fertilisers.
Since opening our Farm Shop back in 2007 we have moved away from a very intensive pig herd. We now have rare breed pigs and keep them in high welfare free range conditions. Our cattle breeding moved away from producing very lean and high muscle to Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus breeds. These breeds have slower growth rares, ability to finish off a grass diet and have such a nice fat marbling that creates an extremely tasty beef.
When we opened our Farm Shop we quickly realised we needed good quality Free Range Chickens and Eggs. Which came first i hear you ask? Well it happened we needed great eggs and we quickly got our neighbour to building hen houses. These take pride of place out in the field in front of the shop. Our hens are free to roam all day and spend the majority of their day outside, the happiest hens around and lay fantastic eggs.
Our Free Range chickens have been our biggest challenge yet simply because they are so popular it can be hard sometimes to keep up. They are slow growing birds which adds to their flavour and succulence, totally amazing birds.
We really appreciate your support when you purchase our meat, it helps us to innovate and improve what we do!
Yes Chef Ulster Cafe of the Year 2018
Yes Chef Ulster Cafe of the Year 2020
Farming Life Agri Food Business of the year 2020