BIODYNAMIC FARMING ON SPIER

Since December 2008, almost 300 hectares of the Spier farm is being managed under biodynamic agricultural practices. Pasture-reared beef and chicken, pastured eggs, some wine grapes and vegetables are currently in production, with provision being made for olives, artichokes, nectarines, and almond trees.

The entire farm is now being managed under biodynamic and organic principles.

55 hectares of vineyards are in conversion to organic and eventually biodynamic status. 54 hectares of irrigated perennial pasturs is the primary source of nutrition for our Pasture Reared Beef, Chicken, Eggs and Lamb. The beef and chicken are managed in the high density method inspired by Ian Mitchell-Innes and Joel Salatin. Over 2000 of our laying hens live in Eggmobiles that follow the cattle around the pastures.

Our produce is served in the finest restaurants in the Cape. We have recently started delivering our produce to homes in the wider Cape Town Metropole. We also have a retail outlet on the Spier Wine Farm now in the Eight to Go eatery.

Biodynamic techniques recognise that plant life is intimately bound up with the life of the soil – that the soil itself is alive and vital, and the degree of vitality has a direct bearing on the health of the crops, which in turn brings health to those who consume the produce.  Biodynamics therefore works to improve the fertility of the soil using a closed-loop approach.

In addition to sharing principles, methods and techniques with organic farming, biodynamic agriculture acknowledges that the plant’s growth is also affected by planetary influences like the waxing and the waning of the moon and other forces in nature.

Run by passionate former investment banker Angus McIntosh. The farm supplies the newest of Spier’s restaurants, a farm-to-table eating experience called Eight.

The menu is small and seasonal, with a focus on organic and natural ingredients, and wholesome and delicious dishes to be paired with Spier’s award-winning wine. The restaurant also sells organic vegetable boxes and frozen pasture-reared chickens from the biodynamic farming operation.


McIntosh is passionate about ethical food production and appears to have effortlessly stepped into his role as a farmer in a setting far from his original hunting ground as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs’ in London.  He lives on the farm with his wife and three children in a house they designed and built around ‘green’ building practices.


FARM PRODUCE


Chickens

The chickens are nurtured on a diet that is completely free of hormones, antibiotics and synthetic vitamins. Unlike conventionally-farmed chickens, they see the sun and experience the rhythms of the day.

They are pasture-reared, and are moved to fresh grass every day. Their diet includes minerals and bugs from the grass, resulting in skins that are more yellow in colour.  The chicken’s nitrogen-rich manure is restoring fertility to the land, and benefiting the pastures, which are farmed according to biodynamic principles.  The pasture-reared chickens are available for sale at select retail outlets in Cape Town; Continental butchery, Melissas, Wellness Warehouse, Giovanni’s and Kwalapa.

Cattle

The herd currently consists of Nguni and Bongihlathis (a Bonsmara type) cows. These cows have been mated to an Nguni bull.  The Nguni breed has been chosen as the foundation of the cow calf operation as they are indigenous and are renowned for their adaptability, hardiness and their ability to maximise production of good quality beef off-pasture without additional supplementation.

A “high impact” grazing system is followed to maximise the cattles impact on soil fertility.  The cattle are grazed for a short period in a confined area and moved frequently. The effect of this method is a concentration of their dung and urine which enhances the fertility of the pasture. The frequent moves allow the pasture sufficient time to recover before it is grazed again. Pasture-reared beef is not currently available, but will be in time.


Eggs

The laying hens are housed in “egg mobiles” – the big one is a trailer that has been converted to incorporate their water, food and nest boxes. The hen’s primary purpose is to help with the even distribution of the cattle dung. They do this whilst searching for fly larvae which will be hatching after four days. This also has a sanitising effect on the pastures. Besides all the vegetable matter in their diet they also benefit from the insects they eat as they “range freely” on the pastures.

Vegetables

The vegetable garden is half a hectare which is divided into a market garden section and a field crop area.  The garden supplies the farm-to-table restaurant, Eight, on Spier, and has full organic certification from BCS Germany.

 



Where is our produce sold?


These are the restaurants that serve our produce:

Spier (Eight Restaurant)
Delaire Restaurants
Rust en Vrede
River Café, Constantia Uitsig
Le Quartier Francais
Carne SA
Buitenverwachting
De Oude Bank Bakkerij
Uitsig Restaurant, Constantia
33 Dine/ Private Hotel School
Mount Nelson Hotel
George Jardine at Jordan
96 winery road
La Masseria
Tokara

These are the retail outlets where our product is sold:


Kwalapa, Montebello, Newlands

Divine Foods, Stellenbosch
Spier (hotel, staff etc)
Giovannis, Sea Point
Organic Living, Constantia Mall
Spar, Lions Square, Somerset West
Spar, Opp Paul Roos, Stellenbosch
Spar, Die Boord, Stellenbosch
Go Natural, Somerset West
Continental Butchery
Wellness Warehouse Cavendish
Wellness Warehouse Kloof Street
Cape Quarter Food (Spar)
Melissas, Tygervalley
Melissas, Waterfront
Melissas, Newlands
Melissas, Kloof Street
Melissas, Stellenbosch
Melissas, Constantia
Melissas, Blaauwberg
Organic Zone, Lakeside

 

Should you be interested in finding out more about our farming operation, our produce or arrange a farm visit please email us:

 

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