The Gloucestershire group of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (www.pastureforlife.org) has just been to visit one of the organisation’s growing band of Approved Suppliers.
Ian and Kathy Boyd sell meat from Whittington Lodge Farm near Cheltenham, to consumers at local shows, from the farm gate and by mail order. Their cattle only ever eat high quality pasture, and no cereals or grain-based feeds.
The organic pedigree Hereford suckler herd is used specifically to manage 100ha (247 acres) of species-rich calcareous (chalk) grassland, created as part of a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme.
The cows, calves, yearlings and two-year olds are kept as a big family group outside all year, supplemented only by late-cut meadow hay.
The farm has recently won awards from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Royal Society for Protection of Birds and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
Any two-year old cattle not kept for breeding are taken directly to a local abattoir. The sides are dry-aged for four weeks, before being broken down into joints and other cuts according to Ian’s specifications, and vacuum packed.
The beef is marbled, with small amounts of intramuscular fat running through the meat, which increases the flavour and tenderness. The slow growth of the animals, on natural pasture, also adds to the exceptional eating quality.
Meat from cattle that have been fed no grain is also better for consumers. The soft yellow fat of ‘grass-fed only’ beef, has been scientifically been proven to be healthier for us than the hard white fat of animals finished on cereals.
More on Ian’s farm, beef cattle, wildflower meadows and luxury bed and breakfast business at www.cotswoldbeef.com.