Mercer Farming

Mercer Farming News

Great Taste Awards 2015

Article Image The Great Taste Award results are in for 2015 and yet again Packington Pork was successful in the competition. With over 10,000 entries to compete with we still come out with great results.

We received one star for our Pork loin along with comments such as �Great crackling!� and �Extremely well cut and presented meat�. So all round excellent feedback from the judges!

Our Pork Belly also received one star with comments such as �Moist, tender and a satisfying crunch to the crackling� and �A truly handsome piece of meat�.

So far our pork has one awards every year. The judges love the moist flavour we get from our free range pigs. We are looking forward to entering the awards again next year!

Open Farm Sunday 2015 - Perfect Weather for a Family Day out

Article Image What perfect weather for a family day out! Open Farm Sunday is a fabulous chance for farmers across the country to open their doors to the public to show them what we do and give them a small insight into the farming world.
We opened our gates for the 10th anniversary of the Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) at Packington Fields Farm, Lichfield. We welcomed over 3000 locals to a fun family day out.
The gates were opened at 10.00am and people appeared in their droves. The biggest hit was the tractor and trailer ride around the farm, as this gave the public chance to see the sows and piglets up close. Back in the main field was sparkling agricultural machinery, a fabulous Packington Free Range hog roast and children�s entertainment. Marks & Spencer (M&S), very kindly donated prizes for a raffle to raise money for Midland Air Ambulance and Rainbows Children�s Hospice. Whittington WI made some fantastic tasting cakes that we sold to raise money for their 100th birthday next year. It was a wonderful sight seeing the field so full of people, children climbing in and out of the machines and families sitting on the bales enjoying lunch!
Here at Packington Free Range we very grateful to all our supporters who helped during their event - FarmLink, Startin Farms, M&S, W B Daw & Son, Bowring Transport, GLW Feeds, Whittington WI, Needwood Ice Cream and Food Yule Love.
Packington Free Range�s Open Farm Sunday raised a total of �2500.00 that has been split between Midland Air Ambulance and Rainbows Children�s Hospice. Whittington WI made �540.00 for their 100th year celebration.
We would like to thank all of their volunteers for their help on the day and leading up to the event.

Great Taste Awards 2014

Article Image Maybe the most coveted fine food awards, Packington followed up their success at the 2013 Great Taste Awards with a three star performance.

Our loin of pork was awarded the prestigious Great Taste three Star Award, with the judges admiring the succulent, juicy tender flesh. They also loved the sweet crackling and the 'deep flavour that lingers on the palate', with one judge saying 'the free range quality is more than evident'.

We also had success with our leg of pork and shoulder of pork which were both one star, the crispy crackling was a favourite feature for the judges.

This year there were more than 10,000 entries, which makes our win even more special as our produce is being recognised with the best in the country. We are absolutely thrilled to have won these awards especially our three star awards which is an award we have worked hard for.

Open Farm Sunday - A big success

Article Image Well what an amazing first open farm Sunday! Never did we imagine that we would end up with over 1200 people visiting Packington Fields Farm. Considering we based all our planning on 300 - 400 people, I think and i hope you would agree that we coped well.

What started out a dull weekend turned into a bright breezy sunny Sunday, with a hog roast, ice cream and picnic making a fabulous British day out!

Open Farm Sunday is a fabulous chance for farmers across the country to open their doors to the public to show what we do and give them a small insight into the farming world.

We opened our gates at 10.00am and people appeared in there droves, the biggest hit being the tractor and trailer rides around the farm. It gave the public a chance to visit the pigs, see the sows with their piglets and ask the farmer questions, next stop was Ian in the field of potatoes a chance to taste the fabulous crisps the potatoes become! Back in the main field was sparkling tractors, quad tracks, combines and Lorries which were all a big hit. Tractors mostly with children as it gave them a chance to have a climb inside and experience how big they really are! We�ve never seen so many people in the pig transporter at one time (normally little piggy�s)!

We raised a massive �1100 for Rainbows children's hospice and Midland Air Ambulance from a sold out hog roast by Food Yule Love and ice cream from Needwood Ice Cream. Thank you to both for the donations from the days success.

We would like to say a big thank you to all our staff that helped leading up to the event and during the event.

Also a big thank you to W B Daw & Sons for the crisps and potato talk, Startin Farms for the static machinery, Bowring Transport for the pig transporter, GLW Feeds for the feed wagon, Peter Henton for rotating demonstration and J A Bloor for the Landini pulling one of the trailers.

I hope i speak for you all when i say what a fantastic day we had and hope to see you all next year!

If you would like to view the photos from the day please click the link below.

Open Farm Sunday

Triple award for Packington Free Range

Article Image Packington Free Range is celebrating their third award this year after winning a coveted "Special Award for Commitment to Continued Improvement" at this week's high profile 2011 Good Food Awards, organised by Taste of Staffordshire.

Owners and brothers Rob and Alec Mercer collected the surprise award at the ceremony held at the Staffordshire County Showground, on Tuesday evening. The awards recognise quality, excellence and the use of local produce in the county�s food and drink industry.

"Winning a special award like this was fantastic. We had just wanted to be part of the audience so it was a real surprise when we heard our names called. To get recognised by others for what you do is just brilliant and confirms that we are on the right tracks, so genuinely we are really pleased and very proud to have this award," says Alec Mercer

Previously this year, the brothers collected two plaudits from the 2011 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards in recognition of their free range farming techniques, which put the welfare of the animal at the forefront of their farming techniques.

The pig farming side of the business also holds an RSPCA Freedom Foods approval and their father Roger Mercer was this year awarded a much revered Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies FRAgs, in recognition of the contribution he has made to the agricultural industry.

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Packington Free Range, based in Barton Under Needwood in Staffordshire has been a thriving business for over 80 years and is now jointly run by Rob and Alec Mercer, the fourth generation of its founding family.

Rob Mercer continued: "As well as our farming ethics, we think that our customer service is paramount. At Packington, we undertake the whole process, from rearing the animals from day one, through to delivering the final product to our butchers and farm shops. The same team that do all of this is available to speak to at any time, and we think this is incredibly important."

The farm, which produces free range, high quality, pork and poultry to butchers and farm shops, has recently rebranded its entire operation with a new look website, online shop and a nationwide PR campaign to raise its profile.

For stockists and further information please visit .

A parade of pigs in Lichfield

Article Image What could be a more perfect association for us here at Packington Free Range, than a local festival that�s going to see a parade of pigs?

We are excited to announce that in 2011 Packington Free Range is sponsoring the annual Lichfield Festival which is now in its 30th year. The festival is an annual celebration of music, literature, drama and art which runs for ten days from the 6th-17th July.

We have been in Lichfield to organise and help with the arrival of thirty model pigs ahead of the festival starting on the 6th July. Between now and July they will be individually decorated by school and community groups before being auctioned to raise money for charity.
The pigs are very lifelike and will look superb when they are finished. We are sure everyone will have loads of fun decorating them and hopefully they will raise some good money in the auction at the end of the festival, which is being overseen by Charles Hanson from BBC�s Bargain Hunt. But before that, they�ve all got to be found, as they will be hiding out in various locations in and around Lichfield � so keep your eyes peeled!

As part of the sponsorship we will be opening the farm up to visitors during the Festival. Schools taking part will have the opportunity to come and look around our farm and see how we look after our pigs. This is first time sponsorship for us and we cannot wait for it to begin.

Find out more about the Lichfield Festival and how you can book tickets

Painting the town red�

Article Image Painting the town red..... And blue and orange and green

A few weeks back we told you that we were embarking on an exciting new venture, sponsoring the Lichfield festival.

As part of the festival preparation 30 model pigs were distributed to local schools and community groups to be decorated. The results were fantastic and the pigs were displayed around the town during the festival.

On the final day of the festival, Sunday 17 July, the pigs were auctioned off for charity; a first time event for the Lichfield Festival. The auction was led by BBC TV�s Bargain Hunt presenter Charles Hanson and raised a whopping �17,000 � a truly fantastic result!

We have been part of this community for many, many years and think it�s really important for us to get involved in local initiatives, which is exactly what we�ve done. We hope it�s the first of many!

Mercer Farming win Farmers Weekly Award! Diversification Farmer of the Year

Article Image Farmers Weekly Interactive - Winners Article

Spend five minutes with Roger Mercer and his sons Alec and Robert and it's easy to see what makes them diversification award-winners.

A fourth generation arable and pig farmer, Roger Mercer has developed the farm into a profitable business which is sure to secure the farm's future for generations to come. The 1619ha (4000 acre) farm in Staffordshire has been transformed from a commodity pig unit to one that produces high-welfare, free-range premium pigs and chickens. Livestock are sold to butchers across the country through Medium Rare, the meat marketing and distribution company set up by Alec and his friend George Finch.

Through Medium Rare the Mercers have complete control of the entire supply chain, allowing them to obtain a premium on their produce and manage rising commodity costs at a time when other pig producers have been driven from the industry because of poor returns.

With the help of an ERRD grant, Roger has developed several redundant farm buildings into 16,000sq ft of office space and 150,000 sq ft of storage space.

The farm's traditional arable enterprise also remains an important side of the business. The Mercers are part of a joint venture to farm 2630ha (6500 acres), which includes 2023ha (5000 acres) of wheat. A substantial amount of that land is managed as part of higher level environmental stewardship, under which the Mercers have replanted species-rich grasslands and re-flooded meadows.

While each of the Mercer's individual enterprises are all impressive, it is perhaps the way they are all managed together as a family which is most commendable.

Working on the basis that each of the businesses has to be able to support itself separately, if it does not make a profit, it is not worth continuing with. "Family structure is very important," Roger says. "I want the business to move towards the children's direction so we are all involved in making decisions. It means my role has changed, but it's still exciting."

Author: Caroline Stocks

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