Switch to Organic Serves Up Success for Farming Family

Article excerpt


Success tastes sweet for a young farming couple from Montgomeryshire. Jonathan and Sally Rees's organic mail order company, Welsh Farm Organics, has been named overall winner in the Green Directory Taste Test, taking five of the competition categories and the award for the Most Outstanding Product.

The couple, from Tyn Y Fron Farm, Mochdre, near Newtown, set up their business in 2002 to market meat produced on the 620-acre family farm where 29-year-old Jonathan was born and brought up.

The aim of the enterprise is to make the most of the farm, which supports Jonathan's parents, Alun and Patricia Rees, and his brother Daniel and wife Claire with their three children - Byron, Sara and Sophie.

An independent panel of 16 guests decided that their meat, prepared and cooked by chef Gordon Rogan at the Grange in Downham, Essex, was the tastiest of 23 organic competitors.

The judges said the 'beautiful rib roasts marbled with golden fat' on the Welsh Black beef roasting joint, and their beef and garlic sausages had a fantastic flavour.

The pork roasting joint was also singled out as a winner, and their Cut of Pork, which the judges observed 'remained moist when cooked, with the fat a wonderful golden colour and the taste was sensational', was named Most Outstanding Product.

It all began when Jonathan returned to the family farm after a few months travelling abroad.

'After I left school I did not bother with further education and went straight home to the farm,' he said. 'Then I saved up and Sally and I toured Australia, New Zealand and Kenya with friends through the Young Farmers Club, and we were inspired by the people we met, especially in Africa, and how they made use of things.'

The home farm began to convert to organic in 1999, although Jonathan said their farming methods meant they were already halfway there before they started. …