Celebrating Great British Beef Week

On-farm event at PfL certified Deersbrook Farm, Essex – by Sara Gregson

(Photo: Deerbrook Farm’s pasture-fed beef)

Beef farmer Anna Blumfield, a long-time certified member of Pasture for Life, credited the organisation with playing a key part in the changes made to her farming operations at Deersbrook Farm, near Braintree in Essex, at an event to celebrate Great British Beef Week 2024 on 16 April.

Organised by AHDB, the event was aimed at the food service industry with butchers, meat processors and restauranteurs attending.

(Photo: Anna Blumfield and Nigel Franklin)

Anna returned home to the farm in 2012 with her husband and growing family, where her father ran a herd of commercial single suckler cows, whose progeny was finished on grain. 

After a lot of research, Anna felt she wanted to follow a more natural, regenerative way of beef farming and joined Pasture for Life. She started a herd of Sussex cattle and now finishes cattle at between 24 and 28 months of age off pasture alone. She started selling through farmers markets and at the farm gate, and in 2018 opened a small craft butchery.

(Photo: worm casts indicating a lot of worm activity)

Anna is passionate about soil health, cattle health and ultimately the health of her consumers. She regularly sends meat samples off for nutritional analysis and markets the health promoting benefits of her meat.

“We run a truly farm to fork operation here,” she said. “By selling from our own farm shop we have low food miles, communicate directly with our consumers and are farming in a sustainable and nature-friendly way. It is also cost effective – for us and the people who shop here. It costs me much less to finish my animals and my beef is cheaper than supermarket value prices and tastes better and is lot healthier for people to eat.”

After a farm walk to see Anna’s cattle and grass fields, at which Pasture for Life’s Nigel Franklin encouraged any farmers attending to visit the website to learn more about the benefits of joining, visitors watched AHDB’s trade butcher manager Martin Eccles and chef James Peck give butchery and cookery demonstrations using some of Anna’s beef.

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