Wark Farm

Organic Farm and Butchery in Aberdeenshire

Phone Number: 01975 581149

News from the Farm June 2023

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  • Posted date:
  • 08-06-2023

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Picture above: Carrying on with Hebridean Sheep.

Stories from the farm June 2023

Guest post by SaM:

I never thought of farm animals as endangered species. But i guess that is simply because i was still unfamiliar with farming life. There is a reason why certain breeds of cattle, sheep and pigs are called Rare breeds. As people re-discovered these more traditional breeds and their numbers increased again, the term Rare breeds became less appropriate. Happily so. Their diversity do not only add to a more rich agricultural palette, but these breeds also provide people access to slow growing breeds, that soak up more goodness of the (wild) lands they feed on, providing people meat cuts with more depth and flavour.

But then, a few weeks ago, we received an email, which unsettled me deeply. It was an email from the abattoir, about their new rates, doubling their rate compared to less than a year ago. The new numbers were rather shocking; I heard other farmers worry out loud as well. Now this isn’t a complaint about the abattoir. As a business, they need to do whatever they need to do to make it work. It would have been way worse if they would just have stopped doing sheep altogether. But it made me realize how vulnerable the farming of these Rare breeds is. Their very essence endangers them. The fact that they are non-commercial by default means that they are exactly that: They’re not the commercial or economical choice. You see, the fixed costs such as abattoir, transport, butchery remains largely the same for a rare breed, but they are smaller, take longer to rear, have no benefits of scale,…. All of these factors already made us gradually decrease our herd of Hebridean Sheep and the new abattoir rates are just an extra push. But the sadness I feel about this stretches so very far inside me. It is a sadness about reducing the richness that we’re giving people access to. It is about many people not realizing what is at danger here. What they are at danger of losing. How long will farmers still be offering rare breeds, before they succumb to commercial pressures? How long before we will be much more limited in the types of meat available to us? It is a scary thought, but hope surpasses my sadness and fear. We may be a tiny drop in a large sea but we'll do what we can in our corner of the world. We are incredibly fortunate to be diverse in our business (a big thank you to all of you who buy our meat or our pies) and we will continue to be offering Hebridean lamb as long as we can. In fact, we’re just back from a trip to the Hebrides where we’ve probably found our new Hebridean tup, ensuring the continuation of a great breeding line. Just like we offer endangered bird-and wildlife a safe haven at the ponds at our farm, we will also treasure our herd of Galloway cattle and flock of Hebridean Sheep. Now let us celebrate diversity!


The June order form is now updated and online. You can find the link below.

WE HAVE SOME SADDLEDBACK CUTS on the menu that we seldom have, such as diced pork, pork leg joint, etc...

Our regular customers already know that it's first come, first serve for our delicious meat cuts that are not only full of flavour due to the breeds we use and their grass/herb diets, but also free of nasties such as pesticides and antibiotics. You can find all the info on the order form, including more info about the specials of the month.

As ever please get in touch if you have any queries.

Best wishes

Laurel & SaM

June 2023 Order Form