The family and the beginnings…
Bob and Jane were born in West Lothian and brought up on their family’s farms. Bob spent a few years as a foreman on a local chicken farm before buying a milk round business and also selling eggs and vegetables. Jane trained and qualified as a chartered accountant.
After getting married they eventually bought their own small holding before moving to Fife in 2002 and buying Downfield Farm, a 150 hectare hill farm overlooking the Howe of Fife. In 2008 they added more land to the farm and with the birth of their twin daughters Annie and Katie also to their family. The farm was a mixed unit of arable and grazing land, stocking suckler cows and breeding ewes.
In 2011 after the birth of their son James they decided they needed a change of farming policy and in early 2012 started to research the possibility of farming deer. They met John Fletcher from the Scottish Venison Partnership in August 2012 with the intention of putting 30 hinds in a field as a trial but after John’s visit wondered where the calves would go. A meeting was then organised with Vikki Banks of Seriously Good Venison, with a view to supplying finished calves. The problem then was where the animals would be killed, with the nearest abattoir in Barnsley, Yorkshire. The decision was taken to convert a shed on the farm at Downfield into a small abattoir for the deer and this was completed in 2015.
The current developments at Downfield are to renovate the remainder of the building containing the abattoir into a boning/cutting room to allow the venison carcasses to be processed and packaged for transport anywhere, with the addition of 3 new chills for storage of in skin carcasses for the wild season, packaged and frozen meat. With the support of a Scottish Government Food Processing and Marketing Grant and Royal Bank of Scotland business banking these plans are in progress.
If you want to know more about us, what we do and our Venison Farming then please get in touch with us and we will be delighted to help.