A relative new comer to the industry, Kate only got into the ‘game’ about 6 years ago now, but there isn’t much that Kate hasn’t done.
She hasn’t always planned to become a farmer, but life has its ways of making choices for you, or as Kate herself says “Life threw me a curveball…and now I’m farming”.
She describes herself as an arable and livestock farmer, agricultural blogger and farms Heath Farm in Suffolk.
She and Mike Phillips set up the farm 6 years ago, starting off with 12 acres and a disused piggery, and now they have a budding business on their hands.
Their farm they say differs from the rest, they use traditional husbandry methods to rear native breed in a “natural and loving way”.
They pride themselves in their traceability, and can even trace the hay and corn used as winter feed back to their own and a neighbouring farm.
The farm is also part of an environmental stewardship scheme which aims to improve water quality around farms, reduce soil erosion, improve conditions for farmland wildlife, protect historic environments and to maintain and enhance landscapes character (e.g. by keeping traditional boundaries).
So to say Kate is a lover of animals and beings of all types is a drastic understatement.
On the farm they have chickens, pigs, alpacas, cows, turkeys, sheep and even Bees! Though she is helped tend the bees by her husband Simon and Laila.
As you can imagine that means every day is a busy one for Kate.
Her mornings consist of feeding the animals, followed by cleaning sheds etc during winter months, or making silage during the summer.
Her day could involve anything from working for local farmers, shearing dosing or dipping sheep, tending the cattle or alpacas or indeed tending to the poultry on the farm. Generally, she is flat to the mat.
I suspect there is not much ‘spare’ time in Kate’s life.
If running a farm wasn’t enough, Kate and Mike also find the time to run a pop-up shop.
They sell some of the farms produce every week at a market in London and once a month in a local village, selling eggs, meats and other produce made on their wonderful little farm.
The farm regularly holds open days for local visitors and tourists offering them a chance to see it in all it’s glory, as you can imagine this also means constant maintenance is required.
A busy woman already, Kate found the drive and determination to offer back to the community. She has recently found the time to set up Heath Farms Suffolk school and Heath farm
Suffolk’s cookery school, both in association with the local west Suffolk college.
In her classes Kate tries to inspire young learners to share her love for food.
She is a Cordon Bleu trained and fully qualified lecturer in teaching NVQ & VRQ Level Professional Cookery.
She has a few funny anecdotes from her time in the industry as you can imagine.
One in particular which sticks out is a time when she received a phone call from a random worried citizen.
The person had been passing one of the fields when, as they informed Kate, they had seen one of her cows being “bullied” by another, to which Kate informed them they were just reproducing, prompting the concerned citizen to hang up in embarrassment.
The future of the farm and Kate’s future looks rosy. They are expanding at a significant rate, and improving every aspect of the farm as they do.
Although she might not have planned to come into the industry, Kate is certainly putting the planning into action now.
She is constantly looking at ways to improve and learn as much as she can as well as passing on knowledge to others.
Where she finds the time to work for other farmers, tend to her own stock, run a cookery school, a pop up shop and hold open days, is beyond me.
One thing is certain though, she deserves every success for her clear vision, drive and love for her animals and her farm.