FAR from being handed down from generation to generation, Bob and Irene Hatch only took over Copythorne Lodge Farm near Southampton two-and-a-half years ago.

But they are still using traditional farming methods to raise their cattle, pigs and chickens.

“It’s certainly not intensive,” says Bob.

“We farm traditional breeds using traditional methods.We try to give the animals a good quality of life.We know every animal individually – that’s how it works really.”


For Bob, well-treated animals and good quality meat go hand in hand.

“I’m just trying to produce better tasting meat from happier animals – that’s what it comes down to,” he says.

Bob and Irene share their house with three other generations of their family and everyone gets involved with the farm to a greater or lesser extent.

And they sell much of the produce from the shop which is attached to their house.

As Bob explains, it’s nothing fancy.

Don’t go expecting rural-looking gifts that have ‘made in China’ stickers on the bottom or other non-local paraphernalia which fills some ‘farm shops’.

They sell the meat, eggs and vegetables they produce themselves as well as a small amount of produce from nearby farmers who use similar methods and share the same high standards.

As well as selling their produce through the shop, they also have a box scheme, where customers can order anything from weekly to monthly deliveries.

It’s often assumed that buying local produce means digging deeper in your wallet but Bob says that this isn’t the case.

“We are about the same as local butchers, price-wise. I don’t think you pay a premium for what we’re producing.

“One of the reasons I went into selling the meat directly to customers is that if we cut out the middleman we can sell it at a reasonable price. If you’re selling to Mr Supermarket there’s a lot of people who’ve also got to make a profit. I just try to give us a fair return for the work that we do.”

For Bob, another advantage of selling directly to their customers is that it cuts down drastically on the number of miles people’s food travels to reach their plate, cutting down on global warming gases.

“I’m not really into the green movement but I think food miles are one of the worst things we do at the moment.

I’ve worked on supermarket deliveries so I know all about it. Ideally, you could walk to buy our meat!”