Not just a retailer – a real family farm. And it makes all the difference in the world. We don’t just sell goods, we live and breathe farming, and our family has been doing that here in the Craigantlet Hills of North Down, Northern Ireland, since 1922. Our business isn’t just what we do – it’s who we are.
Our Family Story
In 1922 Sam McKee bought a farm high in the Craigantlet Hills, looking down over Strangford Lough and across to Scrabo Tower. With a few cows, pigs and hens, along with some drills of potatoes, he farmed to feed his family and neighbours the traditional Ulster way. Sam and his wife Margaret had three little McKee’s, who all grew up picking the spuds and gathering the freshly laid eggs every morning before school.
Colin and Linda
Four generations on, the same farm is run today by Colin and Linda McKee. We carry on the original McKee’s belief in traditional, home-grown, local produce. Everything on the menu is madefrom scratch, from fresh ingredients, by our own chefs in our own kitchen. And in the country store, the vast majority of the produce is grown on local farms just a stone’s throw from our premises.
Our Farm Today
We farm 400 acres of land here in the hills of north Down, and we raise nearly 600 cattle every year. We grow our own wheat, barley and grass and have a small team of experienced farm staff to manage the day-to-day running. We’ve recently invested in renewable energy to help the environment – we care about the countryside which previous generations of McKees farmed before us.
Home reared beef
Our herds are mostly Aberdeen Angus and Limousin, fed on high quality grass, reared from calves. Colin keeps a close eye on the herds every day, and he and Isaac can often be seen out on the quads or the tractors taking care of the cattle. We believe the flavour speaks for itself - you just can’t get this quality from a supermarket-bought, pre-packed, polystyrene tray.
Free Range Chicken and Eggs
We have a flock of 50 free range hens, from which we collect around 350 fresh eggs every week. You can see some of our hens near the car park entrance as you arrive. We also bake with eggs from a quality local producer that we’ve known for many years.
Other local trusted producers
There are other growers in our area who share our commitment to the best local produce, and we are delighted to offer their products to our customers – meat such as lamb and pork, vegetables and potatoes, and dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese and even ice cream! We are always keen to support local enterprise, so if you have a product which shares our business ethos and which you’d like us to stock, please get in touch.