THE sense of tranquillity when first arriving at Sheepdrove Farm, on the Wiltshire/Berkshire border at Lambourn, seems to be a manifestation of the owner’s personality and attitude.

After running publishing firm Dorling Kindersley for more than 20 years and launching a High Court battle against the government during the BSE crisis, Peter Kindersley’s CV now includes the ownership of several butchers, an organic farm, an eco-conference centre and a partnership in Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Peter’s philosophy is about providing good quality, healthy, chemical free food. “We believe that organic food tastes better and have extensive evidence to show that chemical free food is better for our bodies and minds,” he said.

“Industrial farming is about quantity, with no thought for quality or taste.”

“We all need to keep our bodies fuelled and brains alert – organic food is part of the answer.

“Meals packed with additives and unknown chemicals could have completely the wrong effect. “Our research with the Pesticide Action Network shows that 31,000 tonnes of pesticide are sprayed on UK land every year, the risks of contamination range from sore throats and runny noses to blood disorders and cancer.”

Peter follows this up with a simple question: “Have you ever considered the chicken plucking process?”

He explains that loosening the feathers requires a tank of hot water. By the end of each processing day these tanks are a murky, faeces-filled environment, perfect for bacteria According to Peter, in 2003 nearly half the birds on sale in the UK were infected with campylobacter – and these are the chickens fed to many people through supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.

The alternative? Peter explained: “We have worked and created The Hot Box, a sealed chamber where steam loosens the feathers and bacteria are dramatically reduced.

“The process is slower but the results are better for the consumer.”

Peter believes that balance is key: “Our bodies and metabolisms have developed over generations to live on natural foods. “Can the last 50 years of scientific development in the food industry really compete with evolution?”

Balance is achieved through various techniques, including seasonal variation: “If we use organic and natural suppliers, locally where possible, we will have to change our habits,” said Peter.

“This will decrease food miles, support the local economy and ensure better quality, genuinely fresh food. Unsustainable food should be binned and the public better educated on the benefits of natural, seasonal, local produce.”

Sheepdrove’s range of organic meat is available through their butchers in London and Bristol or via their website Their organic chickens can also be bought at Waitrose.