Meet the Members: Tom Bowles – Hartley Farm Shop & Kitchen

The Bowles family have been farming in the village of Winsley, on the edge of the Cotswolds since the early 1800s and going back over five generations. Their own farming history is steeped with tales of small-scale family farming at the heart of the community. It is these tales that forge our approach to food and farming now.

Like many family farms, their own journey took them from small scale, mixed farming during the early to mid-1900s to more intense, commodity production up until the turn of the millennium.

Tom and his father Richard then began to take the farm back to its roots with a small scale mixed production approach.

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Their 125-acre farm is now home to a herd of native-breed cattle, a small flock of laying hens, beehives, fruit orchards and a 2.5-acre organic market garden all producing for our farm shop and kitchen. The fields have turned from arable production to diverse pastures flanked with native-species hedgerows and wildlife corners.

Tom and Richards desire now is to farm in a natural, regenerative way working in harmony with mother nature to produce wholesome, nutritious food that rebuilds our soils. Coupled with the opening of their farm shop in 2008, their journey has gone full-circle and the food now produced is enjoyed within their own community once again.

As a child, Tom was immersed in farming life and spent every spare hour working on the farm. He was also fascinated by food, watching hours of cookery programmes and spending much of his adolescent years exploring food markets across the world in awe. The theatre of these places, the quality of the produce and the sense of knowing and understanding where your food came from was second nature to most in these markets but it lit a spark in Tom’s mind which has burned bright ever since.

The challenge of seeking to restore that closeness to food and the theatre of shopping in such places was too irresistible as their farm sought a new direction. The farm shop and kitchen was born in August of 2008.

Through the farm shop and kitchen, their aim is to champion the heroes behind our food, the good they do and provide inspiration for a happier and healthier approach to food and lifestyle. As a Farm shop and kitchen they are extremely proud to be producing and selling their own grass-fed beef, organic fresh produce, sourdough & honey from the farm but to also be working with the very best local farmers, growers and makers and selling such incredible food and drink.

As is typical with all family farms, the kitchen is where people come together to seek nourishment and restoration through great food and company. This is the ethos for the Farm Kitchen, a unique, informal space serving up amazing food and drink sourced and prepared with great pride.

Check Hartley Farm Shop & Kitchen on socials:

Instagram: @hartleyfarm / facebook: Hartley Farm Shop & Kitchen

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