Jonathan and Laura Chapman started beef farming as a hobby on the side of running their equestrian business. Based near Sarratt, Hertfordshire, the couple started with a small herd of Ruby Red Devon cattle, an old British native breed. They became interested in pasture-fed beef, which sat well with their love for the countryside, the environment and animal welfare. What “started as a common sense approach has become a committed and researched philosophy” according to Jonathan, and all their beef is now certified by Pasture for Life and also Animal Welfare approved.
A hobby soon became slightly more as friends and family sampled their beef and began putting in repeat orders! Now Native Beef is in constant demand, and is available twice monthly in the Farm Shop, as well as to order online from the Native Beef website.
“Grass fed meat” has become a popular term of recent years, however the Chapmans prefer the label “pasture fed”, which can comprise a mix of herbs and other plants- all of which benefit the cattle and the ultimate flavour of the beef. This approach is also environmentally friendly as it diversity in the soil, insect, bird and animal life associated with it.
Ruby Reds are particularly suited to this type of farming since they thrive on a pure forage diet throughout their life and, unlike many modern beef breeds, they do not need to be intensively finished on cereal, soya and maize to achieve good carcass grades and weights.
We have been stocking Native Beef in the Farm Shop since last Autumn and using it where possible on our cafe menus. The beef is dry-aged for at least 28 days, butchered and vacuum packed. The flavour imparted through both the pasture-fed lifestyle and the ageing process means the meat is really premium in terms of flavour. Pasture fed beef has been proved to have many health benefits in comparison to grain and soya fed breeds. Due to diet of the cattle it is lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, CLA and vitamins B and E. You can also rest assured that your delicious steak came from extremely happy animal, that enjoyed all the welfare benefits of pasture grazing, as well as supporting a more balanced and self-sustaining eco-system.