So far, four generations of the Blackwell family have farmed the land at Herons Farm on the Marks Hall Estate near the picturesque Colne and Stour Valleys on the Essex / Suffolk borders. Today, Howard Blackwell and his eldest son George head up the farm and the businesses that are now established there.
Howard began farming turkeys and geese in the early 1980s, and soon gained a good reputation with local butchers for the poultry he produced. So much so, that he decided to also begin rearing pork; this resulted in him buying a small herd of Gloucestershire Old Spots and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. From thereon in, The Rare Breed Meat Company was born.
Gradually other products have been added; Colne Valley and Salt March lamb, free range Blythburgh pork, traditional breeds of cattle, free range duck, venison and game. Resulting in clients having a superb selection of niche products from which to choose.
Slaughtering takes place locally within 30 minutes of the farm, after which the carcasses are delivered back to the team of on-site butchers, where they are butchered and prepared to clients’ specific orders. Deliveries are then made across Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, London and Greater London within the M25 by the company’s own refrigerated vehicles; guaranteeing that the produce reaches its destination in a timely manner.
It is the belief in their products that sets Howard and George apart from others. Their own poultry is cared for in a free range environment and fed on natural foods, free from any additives or growth promoters. Their livestock is sourced from local mixed family farms which are selected for their adherence to very high animal husbandry standards. This all results in clients being certain that all the produce they purchase has complete traceability.