We’re John and Jill Vickers. Founders and owners of Bridge 67
The Vickers family have been farming in the Kibworth area since the 1930s. Over the years we have worked hard to turn the farm into a highly productive, sustainable, ethical and fertile establishment. Conservation has been a key factor and as such hundreds of trees have been planted, metres of hedgerow added, water courses enhanced, organic matter incorporated back into the soil structure, all providing natural habitats for wildlife to thrive and producing a wonderfully rich pasture.
John has worked on the farm for over 40 years and Jill has a background in agriculture and marketing. We are both passionate about great tasting food, sustainability, good animal husbandry and wholesomeness.
Great food is as the centre of everything that we do here at Bridge 67. We want customers to understand our passion for our animals and our modern farming methods so that they can buy our beef and lamb with confidence. Knowing the provenance of meat, cutting down on waste and limiting food miles more important than ever.in todays world.
Over time we have slowly turned the farm into a productive beef and sheep farm. We decided to breed from Limousin cattle and Masham sheep and the numbers have slowly increased. Today we own a suckler beef herd of 120 cows and 400 breeding sheep.
In 2020 we took the big step to open a Butcher’s shop in the village near us stocking our meat as well as other local meat, eggs , British produce and a huge array of British cheeses in a lovely deli. We offer a bespoke service to our clientele with advice and also provide a free local delivery service once a week.
We got married in 1994 and built Binleys Bridge Farmhouse in Smeeton Westerby, named after the canal bridge within the farm. In 2005, with a great passion for cookery and a marketing background, I, Jill set up the Bridge 67 Cookery School, also named after the number on the afore mentioned bridge. It was a small diversification project, using beef and lamb from the farm to teach customers how to cook great dishes from scratch. In 2010 the Bridge 67 venue was built, and the business grew from strength to strength, with a wide range of courses for all abilities and cultures and a corporate venue. After 13 years of running the cookery school, we decided to change the direction of the business and open up a Butcher’s shop on the local High Street selling our meat ,local and British produce.
We hope to have designed a business that will help to make the farm more sustainable and help feed our local community responding to the wish of decreasing food miles and waste.
The vision is to intertwine the farm, the animals, the shop and our local community to provide a unique farm to fork experience for the community.
Our promise is to produce high quality produce, practice sustainable ethical farming whilst treating the animals and the land with utmost respect and care.
Our flavoursome beef is produced from our suckler herd of 120 cows. Using newer breeds such as Limousin and Simmental, provides an excellent combination of meat to fat ratio coupled with incredible flavour. Our Pedigree Limousin breeding bulls, Stanley and Jim, were sourced from one of the leading breeding herds in the country near Melton Mowbray. When bred with one of our lovely Simmental cross cows, we find this provides us with excellent quality meat.
We feed all of our cattle on natural foods, mainly grass and grain from the farm itself. In the summer months the cattle live outside grazing on the green grass which grows here in the Debdale valley. During the winter months they are housed in our barns eating home produced silage, hay and barley.
The soil on the farm has a “sticky” clay quality giving rise to the local nick name of “The Treacle mines”. We like to think this is what gives our meat its sweet taste.
The farm prides itself on adhering to the highest welfare and farming standards. All of our cows are treated with the upmost due care and respect. The cattle’s well-being, care and comfort is first and foremost.
When it comes to the butchery, we aim for the shortest possible journey as possible to minimize cow stress levels as this is humane and can also have an impact on the meat’s flavour and tenderness. We use Joseph Morris, a local family run butcher established in 1930 in South Kilworth, just 10 miles from the farm. On the return the meat is hung for 21 days to allow it to rest, relax and tenderise. Colin, Andy and Caitlin ,our experienced butchers, then expertly cuts the meat into its various cuts and joints for your kitchen and handmake the burgers and sausages.
We encourage nose to tail use of the whole animal to prevent any waste of our precious meat and pack each cut personally ready for you to create your culinary masterpieces: good wholesome delicious meals!
Every September we visit the town of Bentham in Yorkshire and buy approximately 100 young replacement sheep called breeding ewe lambs. They graze on the grass in our fields for the next 12 months growing and maturing, in preparation for pregnancy and then lambing the following March.
During lambing time, we convert one of our barns into the ‘maternity ward’ with 50 individual sheep pens. Each sheep is looked after with its lambs, making sure that they are in good health, the lambs are up and sucking well and that everyone is happy. From here they are taken to the holding pen where the lambs grow stronger. A few days later they are ready to go outside and they are let out into the fields. We lamb in late March which means that the lambs grow outside during spring with the warm sun on their backs. We hold an annual Lambing and Calving Open Day at the end of March which is well attended and enjoyed by all. Please keep an eye out for the details you won’t regret it.
When it comes to feeding, welfare and slaughtering, our flock of sheep are treated in a similar manner to the cattle above. We try to make sure that they lead a happy and healthy life, as all animals deserve.
The lamb are slaughtered locally at our local butchers Joseph Morris and then hung for 7 days back on the farm, allowing the meat to relax and tenderise. Colin, Andy and Caitlin ,our expert butchers, then carve the meat up into cuts and joints for you in the shop or according to what you have requested.