July 21, 2008

Small Business: Couple Will Feature on TV As ‘Farming Heroes’

By Karen Dent

A COUPLE of organic farmers who also have their own retail business are to appear on television later this month to be recognised as farming heroes.

Colin and Michelle Anderson moved to Dunterley Farm, Bellingham, in 2001, where they established Kielder Organic Meats. They also have land near Kielder Forest, where their organically reared sheep, cattle and pigs are reared.

The enterprise, which butchers as well as produces its own organic meat, will feature on Jimmy Doherty's Farming Heroes on BBC2 next week, Tuesday, July 29.

"We were farming more or less organically, so we thought we may as well go the whole way," said Michelle, who had been farming for 20 years before opening Kielder Organic Meats.

"We don't use nitrogen fertiliser. It's made a big difference.

"People really like organic. The way things are going, people want free range animals. It's the best thing we have ever done."

The couple were chosen to appear on the TV show as an excellent version of a family farm. The TV crew spent two days filming at the enterprise.

"People can see how we are farming here. People are really interested in the animals where they are looked after and they are outside," said Michelle.

But this isn't Kielder Organic Meats' first brush with fame.

The enterprise was visited by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who invited the Andersons to the organic Duchy Home farm at Highgrove last summer.

The Andersons, who employ five full-time and two part-time staff, converted disused farm buildings into a butchery to add further value to the enterprise.

"The traditional buildings weren't being fully utilised and were ripe for conversion, and we wanted to be more in control of our own destiny," said Michelle. The farm sells its meat via its own farm shop, which stocks organic vegetables and eggs from the couple's free range hens.

They also have a twice weekly stall at Hexham market, and supply restaurants and other farm shops. The venture received a "great" response when Michelle took a stall at The Journal's first Taste North East England Food and Drink Festival at Gibside in April.

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.