Family farm controls the food chain from field to plate

Andover Advertiser: Sarah Jane Fairey and William Buckley with their cattle on Bossington Estate, in Houghton Sarah Jane Fairey and William Buckley with their cattle on Bossington Estate, in Houghton

IT’S a burger with a difference and it’s packed with benefits to people’s health.

A Test Valley company that produces burgers made of meat from farm animals grazed on chemical-free pastures is set to dish them up a new-style restaurant in Southampton.

Houghton-based Chalk Valley Ltd is behind a “fast-casual dining burger and hot dog restaurant” in the city’s London Road and it’s due to open next Thursday.

Bosses say Chalk Valley Burgers restaurant, which will create around a dozen jobs, is a cross between the fast food and casual dining formats.

Chalk Valley’s founder, Will Buckley, whose wife, Sarah-Jane Fairey, has invested what he described as a “considerable” amount of cash into the restaurant project, said meat used to make the burgers was being resourced in Hampshire and Wiltshire.

This includes beef from a commercial herd of 60 North Devon cattle and lamb from a flock of 150 sheep on Chalk Valley’s own 1,100 acre Bossington Estate, near Stockbridge, buffalo meat from Dagan and Jessy James Manor Farm, at Broughton and pork from Ginger Piggery, at Boyton, near Warminster, Wiltshire.

Mr Buckley said “grass-fed” meat had caught the eye of nutritionists and scientists.

He said this was down to the health-protecting nutrients in the produce.

“Amongst them are high levels of vitamins E and A, healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a powerful cancer-fighter known as GLA. Grass-fed meat is also known to have many benefits for wildlife and the countryside.

“It’s healthier for consumers and the animals,” said Mr Buckley, who added that all Chalk Valley products were sourced from pasture-based farming systems and no grain or concentrates were fed to the animals reared for burger or hot dog production.

The animals are also fed silage and hay as supplements.

“Our sustainable, pasture-based methods go way beyond organic. By dedicating land to pasture systems like these, we’re building soil carbon and long-term fertility. This means that we don’t need chemical fertilisers or pesticides,” said Mr Buckley.

He concluded: “We’re also encouraging wildlife. Birds, wildflowers, insects, small mammals and reptiles all flourish on our farms. So our customers can relax and enjoy the tastiest, healthiest burgers around, knowing that they’re helping to make our world a little better.”

Besides meat-filled burgers and hot dogs the restaurant will also feature vegetarian options and it will be selling organic ice cream, organic milk shakes, organic beer and wine.

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