onkridge Hill Farm is located near the village of Otterburn in the high scenic hills of Northumberland.
The farm of 750 acres of mainly high hill land, is managed on a traditional, extensive basis - In very much the same manner it would have been centuries ago.
The stocking rates at Monkridge Hill Farm allows each individual animal as much area as needed in order for it to graze and grow naturally. The breeds of stock are also traditional and very much a part of the Northumbrian landscape - The Scottish Blackface sheep are famous for their hardy nature and quality of meat. The cattle herd which graze the hills are made up of breeds such as Aberdeen Angus and Galloway.
The quality of the stock bred at Monkridge Hill is of an exceptionally high standard. Blackface lambs produced on the farm have been successfully shown over the years, and came second in their class at the Royal Smithfield Show in 1998. The stock graze upon a total natural diet of organic grasses, heathers, mosses and herbs numbering over one hundred individual species. None of the grasses are treated with synthetic herbicides, insecticides or fertilisers. This allows the re-establishment of rare and native plant and insect species and a far greater diversity of wildlife generally.
We like to feel that by farming this way we are not only producing the very best natural product, but that we are putting something back into the environment by following a traditional production system which in many ways mirrors the natural cycle of nature.
At Monkridge Hill we firmly believe in the old adage that we are not the owners of the land, but are simply custodians of it for future generations.
Life as a farmer is a dream fulfilled for Northumbrian Quality Meats founder, Steve Ramshaw.
Although Steve now looks every inch a true Northumbrian hill farmer, his childhood was spent in the West End of Newcastle. Not the most likely of upbringings for a pioneer of sustainable organic farming in the region!
However Steve's long term determination and commitment to making a life the countryside for himself & wife Julia, paid off when he eventually bought the land at Monkridge Hill from a London development company who had earmarked the land for intensive forestry production.
Luckily Steve's previous professional life as a quality controler in the building and construction industry came in very handy, as Monkridge Hill Farm simply did not exist - From the farmhouse, every one of the farm buildings and even the majority of field fencing - All had to be constructed from nothing.
But the work had only just begun. With the rapid downturn in agricultural incomes, the Ramshaws were faced with the very real prospect of having to give up on their dream of farming as a way of life. Diversification in one form or another was the only way for Steve to keep the farm he'd worked so hard to build and provide a living for his family.
With a keen interest in the countryside and conservation, Steve had always intended farming Monkridge Hill in a traditional manner combining the highest levels of stocksmanship with environmental sustainable land management. Concerns over imported food quality and traceability raised by the Foot & Mouth crisis, crystallized Steve's plans to provide the customer with the very best quality organic beef and lamb at a fair price.
And so Northumbrian Quality Meats was born. From it's initial conception selling lambs reared on the farm to a small band of dedicated customers who appreciated an exceptional product produced to exacting standards of animal welfare and environmental standards, the business has steadily expanded to be one of the leading suppliers of organic meat in the UK today - Without any compromise in any of it's core values: