Organic food is food as it should be; it’s inspected and certified from farm to fork and it’s available from Swillington delivered nationwide. Be part of the UK’s biggest celebration of all things organic and take advantage of some amazing offers and promotions throughout this month.

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The snow is melting and spring is just around the corner! The trees are just starting to bud and we can hear a little more birdsong every day. We’ve already sown veg seeds in the polytunnel to get a head start before the soil warms up in our walled garden.
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After spending months rearing stock to the highest welfare standards it is important that the end is as stress free as possible.

Originally published in 2014 we keep this article up to date as our business grows. Last updated Jan 2018.

Due to recent concerns in the press about the provenance and welfare of how meat is slaughtered and as a farm that prides itself on traceability and creating food you can trust, we wanted to detail the story behind our slaughter methods.

We wish to reassure customers that all our poultry and animals are pre-stunned before slaughter. After spending months rearing stock to the highest welfare standards it is important that the end is as stress free as possible.

Our pigs , cattle and lambs go to a small organic certified abattoir less than 40 miles away with the pigs having several practice trips in the trailer when they are moved around the fields so that they are not stressed on their final journey. They are always fed when they go in the trailer which means loading is not a problem. They are loaded the night before and sleep on plenty of straw. Before leaving, the pigs are often still asleep when Jo gets to the abattoir with them. To avoid stress and fighting, our pigs are kept separate from others and are slaughtered quickly and humanely.


We make sure that neither lambs nor pigs ever go alone with a minimum of two animals going together with every attempt to minimise stress to the animal.

Our cattle are slaughtered at the same abattoir which is our nearest organic abattoir and one of only a few in the North of England. the abattoir has RSPCA assurance and is fully CCTV monitored.

The trips take less than an hour – a fraction of the average food miles traveled by meat stocked in the UK’s supermarkets.

Again, the animals are not mixed with other stock and are slaughtered the same day. The abattoir is independently audited and follows organic procedures set down by the Soil Association.

All poultry are slaughtered on or as local to the farm they were produced on, either here at Swillington, at Loose Birds in Harome or the Rhug Estate. They are free range until just before slaughter and travel to the abattoir. They are slaughtered by a qualified slaughterperson who has a slaughter licence gained after months of work experience before being observed by a vet who grants the licence.

We have experience and a relationship with all the abattoirs we use;  at Swillington it is Jo our farmer who has the licence which was gained after training at Loose Birds and the abattoir Rhug use was also used by Swillington until we built our own on farm abattoir. Whichever farm the birds were raised on the most local and high welfare slaughter method is used to minimise transport and food miles and all products are butchered and packed by our team here at Swillington to guarantee quality.

Organic ChickenAfter our animals have been humanely and expertly slaughtered, we then butcher the whole carcass from nose to tail allowing full traceability of every cut, giving you the customer the opportunity to know where your food has come from and try traditional cuts that you won’t find elsewhere.

For food you can trust sign up for one of our monthly meatboxes – every box includes visits to the farm so that when your box is delivered you know exactly what your family is eating.

Inspired by his travels apprentice butcher Bob has created a ‘Yorkshire Merguez’ sausage. Mildly spiced including rich red paprika the sausage is made with select cuts of Swillington organic beef and lamb which he minces, mixes with spices and hand links into sausages.

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Organic September is upon us and you’re thinking about trying organic food for yourself, and maybe even growing a little of your own. But what is organic farming, and why should you choose to buy organic produce? We’ve come up with five reasons why organic is… well, better.

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At Swillington we love it when our customers get creative with our produce and cook up something special, whether it’s an intimate supper club or a family barbecue, an event with friends deserves great food.

So when Charlie, one of our meatbox subscribers, asked if we could supply a half pig for a barbeque which was being planned to celebrate the 24th birthday of his twin brothers Gregory and Robert we were happy to arrange it.

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Farming at Swillington we can’t help but wonder what it would have been like eating al-fresco in the 18th century on the meticulously manicured lawns of Swillington Hall – now home to our grass fed cows!

There are still tantalising glimpses around the farm which hint at the produce guests at the country house would have enjoyed; from the shadows of the plentiful greenhouses along the Garden walls that would have helped grow peaches and melons to the spherical ice house on the edge of the pond where ice would have been collected and stored each winter to make summer ices and sorbets.

The Great British picnic has never really gone out of fashion but shop bought snacks just don’t do justice to dining in the great outdoors. Picnics don’t have to consist of wilted ham sandwiches and shop bought scotch eggs, and sometimes it’s nice to pull out all the stops and make something that little bit more special.

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Finally, the weather means you can get out the barbecue and be reasonably sure that you won’t be out there with an umbrella while your guests watch you cooking from the house!

Though we can’t determine the weather, prevent your parasols from blowing away, or stop the rude party-crashing British rain from dampening your coals – we can make sure you have delicious, organic and rare breed meat to throw on the barbie!

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There’s still a lot of uncertainty around the food on supermarket shelves and many of our customers come to us because they don’t trust the claims on the packet in the supermarket.

With our Meat Boxes, our Garden Growers Scheme and our Egg Club we’re on a mission to connect you with the food you eat. Promoting a better understanding of organic food production and the benefits it has for the environment, animal welfare and the quality and taste of the produce.

This month we’ve had customers come to our farm to see our free range organic chickens after reading the stories of how ‘Happy Eggs’ are anything but as well as being worried about how the supermarkets create imaginary farms to sell imported produce.

At Swillington we believe our customers deserve better than that. All our meat is fully traceable from field to fork, and we do things right rather than hiding behind marketing. We even have regular events so that our customers can tour the farm and see how their organic food is produced.

However we know it’s not always convenient to get to the farm shop or farmers markets which is why we deliver nationwide with our award winning meatboxes. You can build your own meatbox on our website, choosing just the organic and rare breed meat that you prefer.

This month also sees the launch of the new Garden Growers season, this community supported agriculture project lets you get hands on with the food you eat and benefit from fresh organic produce harvested and collected from the farm every week of the year.

A Yorkshire farm and meat producer are inviting visitors onto their West Yorkshire farm to learn more about where their Christmas geese and turkeys come from.

Swillington Organic Farm are inviting their customers to their MeatUp event Saturday 28th November at 1 pm where they can take a short farm walk and see the birds.

Completely free-range and free to forage in organic woodland, the birds, which are a sell-out year on year, are reared organically and fed on a natural diet. The Norfolk Black and Bronze heritage breeds give a traditional flavour and take 6 months to be reared from farm to fork.

Swillington work hard to ensure their animals are raised to the highest standards of animal welfare. This in turn helps to guarantee customers receive only the best quality meat, and their turkeys are a perfect example of that philosophy.

Farmer Ed Cartwright explains; “It takes us two weeks to slaughter, pluck and hand prepare our turkeys for Christmas, the same amount of birds would be processed in just two minutes in a factory. Our small scale reduces stress and means we can traditionally dry pluck by hand and hang each bird for three weeks for an unbeatable flavour.”

“Being the headline act in arguably the most important meal of the year, the turkey really is the crowning glory of the dinner table at Christmas, so why on earth would you settle for anything other than an organically produced Yorkshire bird?”

Looking after the birds is no easy task. Being completely free range, the birds can roam the woodland throughout the day before being rounded up into the barn in the evening. Exhausting for the team, but it’s what they believe gives the turkeys the best quality of life compared to an indoor intensive system.

Whilst the farming methods may be traditional, online ordering and nationwide home delivery prove that Swillington have found the perfect mix between heritage, tradition and modern retail.

Place your Christmas Order Now >

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