This year we are celebrating a milestone. It’s been 30 years since we became officially organically, as certified by the Soil Association (SA). The SA are well known as the country’s leading organic certification body.
Although our organic and free range farming methods had long been carried out around the farm, it wasn’t until 1988 that we were able to officially call ourselves organic. This was a massive achievement for us, because getting organically certified is not easy work!
Even now, we have inspections around our farm every year. The inspection process is a long one, lasting an entire day. This is to ensure we’re still in line with the very high standards set by SA. Everything from our flock to our farmland, farming practices to food manufacturing is inspected. These high standards mean even the slightest infringement in any section could jeopardise our membership.
How we got involved with Organic farming
So you might be wondering how we got into organic and free range farming in the first place? There is far more satisfaction growing organic and free range poultry, compared with intensive farming. The stock are much more contented and it feels like proper farming, not just a money making project. We had a fair few fields and no use for them, so it was only natural to go into free range farming. It snowballed from there and we found ourselves looking to be recognised for our farming methods.
Once we had found our feet with organic farming we were approached by a customer who wanted a Soil Association certified supplier. This was the final push we needed to get certified by the Soil Association. We got officially certified and never looked back.
A lot has changed in 30 years, but fundamentally the farming and the principle has remained the same. Our chicks are still slowly grown for twice as long as intensively reared birds, they live in smaller flocks and have dawn to dusk access to the outdoors.
The hard work ploughed into this business by founders Rodney and Beryl is still present today. With sons Nigel and Stewart running the business and younger members of the Mee family becoming increasingly involved with the farm. Although Springfield is a family business, our success also stems from our dedicated stockman, agricultural team and long serving work force.