Tracey and Steven bought Close Leece Farm in 2009. Historically it had been a dairy farm, but hadn't been operational for a while and parts of it had seen better days:
In 2010 we got planning permission to remove the old farm house and most of the old outbuildings, and build a new farmhouse. We moved into the new house in 2012.
Tracey was the driving force in getting the farm up and running again, there was a lot of work needed (fences, drainage etc.). She imported some rare breed Golden Guernsey goats and chickens. Eventually these were joined by rare breed Tamworth pigs, and Manx bees.
From the beginning the idea was to give the animals the best welfare standards possible, and combine this with the best feed possible, to make the highest quality products.
Over time Tracey's produce gained a reputation for being the best - and she was able to grow the farms livestock, selling produce at the farm gate, and to local shops and restaurants.
By the end of 2016 we reached a decision point - the farm had grown to the point where it was a huge amount of work, but barely breaking even. We had to either stop the growth or build a plan to ensure the farm would remain sustainable longer-term.
After much soul searching we decided to go for it! Our plan is to :
Increase the number of animals and invest to be able to look after them to the high standards we set ourselves.
Increase our range of products, from more types of Chorizo and Salami to a greater range of sausages and pork joints.
Build a farm shop and cafe to share our products more easily with the public.
In August 2017 we won 3 great taste awards - including a 2 star award for our Manx Chorizo (update in 2018 we won another 18 awards, including a 3 star award for Manx Chorizo!). We were particularly pleased with the award for our Chorizo as it has been a journey of many years to develop a product we think competes with the best in the world, and is much better than mass produced supermarket style Chorizo.
By the end of 2017 we have obtained all the permissions needed (planning, building control etc) for the farm shop and cafe and are pushing ahead. We also persuaded Colin and Paula to join us as business partners.
We aim to make Close Leece Farm into a sustainable farm, producing the very best produce from free range Rare Breed animals. We hope you will join us on this journey soon!
Tracey, Steven, Colin, Paula