We use to call ourselves Monmouthshire Turkeys, because ... well, we're based in Monmouthshire and we focussed on organic turkeys. Then along came our herd of Dexter cattle, and we thought we'd better choose something that reflected the farm as a whole a little better.
Our current name celebrates the wildflowers which helps make our farm so special, to us at least. Trefoils thrive in traditional pastures and haymeadows, which are not overgrazed or sprayed with chemical fertilisers and pesticides. They are an important part of an organic, pasture-fed system like ours because they provide protein and offer medicinal benefits for the animals that graze them. They improve soil structure helping to mitigate against both drought and flood, and trefoils fix nitrogen, improving soil fertility. But the best thing about trefoils is that they sustain, not just healthy cattle and land, but because they flower, the plants also support a whole host of pollinators.
Trefoils are three leaved plants such as clovers and vetches, and the eponymous birdsfoot trefoil. The three leaves are an important Christian symbol as well, particularly adopted by the Tudors. There is a famous portrait of Henry VII, who was a 'guest' at the nearby Raglan Castle when it was a Yorkist stronghold, surrounded by a trefoil decorated screen. Our farmhouse dates back to this time, so for us, trefoils encapsulate both our home and the land.
Moreover, the trio of leaves are symbolic of the past, present and future. Farming to us means living with the legacy of the past, the work of the present and the possibilities of the future. We cannot exist in one space alone. All three inform our decisions and our practices.