Huntstile is the home of John & Lizzie Ridout. John is a dedicated organic farmer and Lizzie is a keen gardener and loves to cook. They are both passionate about natural food production.
Huntstile Farm has been in the care of the Ridout family since 1951. The Grade II Listed 15thC former manor house was built around 1430 and retains many original features, including wide Tudor doorways and large walk-in fireplaces.
We have our own Stone Circle at Huntstile Farm, and a spring-fed lake & woods to explore. At Huntstile we grow a variety of organic vegetables, soft fruit, herbs, flowers and lots of delicious nutritious grass for our grazing animals on over 430 acres of organic land. We also grow a small amount of organic medicinal herbs for Neals Yard and Rutand Bio-Dynamic.
We are mainly grass farmers at Huntstile, moving the cows onto fresh pasture every day, although we grow a little barley for the pigs and we have a few vegetable plots and 3 replanted mixed orchards that grow the tastiest produce around.
In 2014 we added an organic micro-dairy with our free-ranging grass-fed Dairy Shorthorn cows and a Jersey lady. This micro-dairy produces the most delicious milk, butter and yoghurt. We also have several Gloucester Old Spot pigs and different breeds of chickens that lay the best, most scrumptious free-range eggs in the world.
We are convinced the reason for the outstanding flavour of the food grown at Huntstile is the excellent nutrient content of our grasses and the fact that all our animals are allowed unlimited access to pasture all year around. This is the natural way that animals should live.
John’s father Frank began farming at Huntstile in 1951 when the Halswell Estate was dispersed. There was no electricity here at the time, so it was back to gaslights and generators. He kept chicken and doves in the hay loft above the cafe and a mixed farm of dairy cows, sheep, pigs and arable crops. John was born in the farmhouse (the Cream Room was the nursery then) and he soon became involved with every aspect of the farm.
Huntstile is the family home of John and Lizzie. Christmas is a busy time with their 5 sons and partners and (to date) 3 gorgeous grandchildren.
Most of the farmhouse date back to 1430, the reign of Henry VI the ‘child king’, although it has been added to over the centuries. We are rumoured to have our very own resident lady ghost, Susanna, although we have never seen her ourselves. There are some wonderful original features around Huntstile including the massive Tudor doorways, the original carvings across the main door (now the back door), the huge stone fireplace that once housed a ‘dog-wheel‘ for turning the spit and roasting a pig, and the beautiful wide exposed elms beams and floor boards (more History of Huntstile)
We believe that everyone has the right to eat delicious, lovely, natural food – untouched by mad scientists… We are all passionate about locally grown, well-produced, quality food – our lives revolve around it. Preparing, cooking and sharing good food with our friends and family is one of our favourite ways to spend time. We enjoy sourcing good food and serving it to guests, friends, family – we don’t go looking for special ‘awards’ but we do spend time making sure that what we eat is good for us. Come to one of our Open Days in the summer and try one of Lizzie’s delicious cream teas, made with our own homegrown organic strawberries – they actually taste of strawberries! Huntstile is one of 5 local organic food producers – we try and grow all our salad and vegetables here and source all other produce in the vicinity, organically grown and local. Real food produced by Real people.
Huntstile has become a popular B&B and is a lovely place for hosting parties and wedding receptions. The 15th century farmhouse and pretty gardens provide the perfect setting for an English country wedding. We can have bunting in the garden, fairylights in the trees and wooden tressles to serve afternoon tea among the flowers. Huntstile has an excellent team and we do all our catering in-house – tasting is believing! If you’re very lucky you can sample our produce on our open Farm Sundays, the second Sunday of June each year, or come along to one of our local food events where local produce, such as these wonderful desserts, are highlighted at their best.
We cater for all sorts of events and have robust and tasty menus for all occasions from huge medieval banquets to hog roasts, bar-b-que grilles, vegetarian feasts to the beautiful afternoon teas with exquisite little cakes and superb scones, warm from the oven with sweet homemade jam and fresh cream. We try and buy from other local organic farms where possible, Stream Farm in Broomfield provide the organic pork for our marvellous breakfast sausages, Plowright Organic (Richard Plowright) at Over Stowey, is a fabulous organic veg grower who tirelessly turns over the soil and produces the most flavoursome carrots and kale that John and I have ever eaten. Our delicious eggs are home-grown of course – as are most of the salad, calabrese, potatoes and all the pretty edible flowers that adorn our dishes.
We are planning to open our little Café at the Garden Room Huntstile in the early spring, serving a small selection of seasonal dishes available from Sunday to Friday. You can book in for lunch or supper with a small party of 6 or more guests and we love children and dogs-on-leads coming to visit us to have a picnic and see the animals – so why not Get In Touch?