(Page Being Updated 01/08/2020 may contain errors sorry!)
We began our farming foray with just 4 hens in our back garden, soon this became taking over the disused (30 years!) allotments that were situated behind our home. Growing a variety of rotating crops and rearing chickens for meat and eggs, we soon found ourselves outgrowing the area and wishing for a more sustainable and off grid lifestyle. This is still a huge part of what we do now at Ganders Farm, we are looking at ways to make our farm even more ‘Green’ and self supporting.
I should introduce the family, there are only 3 humans but many many extended animal members! Ian and Lauren do the vast slog of work here that needs two hands awhile son William does a little bit every day to help out around the farm and often lends his taste buds along with Ian whenever Lauren comes up with a new idea! But none of this would be possible without the girls, our goats are the most valued members of the family and team (don’t tell the dogs!). If we hadn’t have stumbled across our first two goats Carrie and her daughter Shandy we would never be here. They lured us in with their demands for love, scratches and sandwich thievery! We also have a flock of free range hens that provide a percentage of our eggs used in production of our gelato. As for the two dogs who love to greet everyone who visits our honesty farm gate shop they do their best to help and are always there to put a smile on your face when it all goes wrong, which it does quite a lot!
Our small family are not strangers to hard work, this is a good thing as when we bought Ganders farm in 2012 at an auction, little did we know how much we had let ourselves in for! The farm was a literal tip, a lot of improvements would need to be made to get it working how we wanted it. These improvements are an ongoing theme throughout our farming journey whether its land management, stock, tree planting or new barn building we have learnt to turn our hand to many new things.
Now Ganders Farm is known for being the home of Ganders Goat! We are the custodians of 10.69 acre plot in the stunning Welland Valley, right on the Northampton/Rutland/Leicestershire border. The views from the top of the hill at Ganders Farm are incredibly distracting and amazing if we do say so ourselves! We have got really good at predicting when the next downpour will reach the farm by watching the hills across the valley, when you see the tops disappearing you know you’ve got around 10 minutes to find shelter!
Here at Ganders Farm are taking great steps to be as wildlife friendly as we can, managing the farm carefully and sensitively for the wildlife that lives here, this has given us a diverse and surprising mix of wildlife. We have planted half an acre of native broadleaf woodland and manage long strips of diverse hedge rows with Elder to Field Maple, Sloes and Brambles to Ash and Oak trees, we leave patches of tall grass and nettles with at least one of our paddocks being left completely alone throughout the nesting season for ground birds. These diverse, species rich meadows are then used for hay cut around June/July time. The hay we produce is fed to our goats giving them a gentle mild tasting fantastic milk that we use in our products. A small number of dry stone walls still exist on the farm and we have been restoring some of the dilapidated walls over the past few winters, we hope to uncover more as the years go on and restore them to their former glory too. Our land has many natural springs, some are seasonal but one in particular is extra special. The spring in question turns quickly into a small bubbling stream running down one side of the farm, this little stream is just special, we show you why on our Goat Walking Experience, but it has been paid a visit by the local otters too!
All this restoration and improvement of habitat provides plentiful areas for a huge spectrum of critters, bugs and beasties to roam, hunt or stay on our land. We love nothing better than to see the wildlife returning, new species being logged and knowing that our little island can and is making a difference to the local nature.