Pasture for Life engages with millions of consumers during Great British Beef Week
Pasture for Life has had its most successful week ever communicating its 100% grass-fed messages to consumers during Great British Beef Week in 2017.
Kicking off with three Pasture for Life farmers in a nine-minute feature with Adam Henson on Countryfile on BBC 1 (23 April), this was then followed by a visit to certified farmer Christine Page on BBC Midlands Today on the Tuesday. The week ended with Nigel Barden cooking a mini roast topside from certified farmer Anna Blumfield on Simon Mayo’s Drive Time show on BBC Radio 2.
Even conservative estimates put the possible reach as 20 million consumers or more. The Pasture for Life website received nearly 2,000 visits during Countryfile with almost 9,000 page views. Visits spiked again during the repeat of the programme the following Sunday.
Reports from certified members across the country suggested they also had significantly more website visitors than normal during Great British Beef Week. Many also reported uplifts in meat sales.
Adam visited three certified Pasture for Life farmers to see how much the grass they eat affects the taste and flavour of the meat.
First he went to the Brecon Beacons to see John Price and his Belted Galloway cattle. He told Adam how having them eat just grass makes it cheaper to produce and more profitable, as he sells high end products that his customers love.
Rebecca Charley on the Cotswold Hills carries out conservation grazing with her herd of pedigree Red Polls, creating ideal habitat for wildlife on the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve. She told Adam about the hay she feeds in winter, which contains up to 60 different types of plants and herbs – which keeps the cattle healthy.Finally to Ian Boyd’s at Cheltenham where Adam sampled some of the plants from the herb-rich leys Ian is growing, not only to feed his pedigree Hereford cattle, but also to revive worn-out soils from previous arable cropping.
Finally to Ian Boyd’s at Cheltenham where Adam sampled some of the plants from the herb-rich leys Ian is growing, not only to feed his pedigree Hereford cattle, but also to revive worn-out soils from previous arable cropping.
Three similar cuts of beef were then cooked and tasted by the three farmers, Russ Carrington of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association and Adam. They wanted to see how the varied landscapes translated into taste and whether beef has as much ‘gout de terroir’ as French wine or cheese.
The most noted flavours and textures were sweet, smooth, herby and earthy.
At the end Russ commented,
“It really does all come back to the terroir of the farms, the soil, the pasture those animals have eaten, just like wine or whisky. It’s a really great story of what makes beef special to a locality.”
Adam agreed saying,
“With a range of sweet tones, floral notes and sharpness it just goes to show what cattle are fed on makes a significant difference to taste.
“Rearing beef on simply grass alone certainly gives you a tasty, tender product. But it also allows the farmer to work with their local environment producing beef in an ethical and sustainable way.”
Christine’s cows skip out to grass
Viewers on BBC Midlands Today shared the delight shown by Christine Page’s pedigree Hereford cows, when they were let out for the first time after they had spent winter in their sheds.
“Here at Smiling Tree Farm we grow special fields of herbs to feed the cows which helps to keep them healthy naturally, so there’s no antibiotics used. This means you get a really healthy cow and then the meat itself, the beef, is also very healthy.”
“And good tasting?” asked the interviewer?
“Ah yes FANTASTIC flavour,” said Christine!
Anna on Radio 2
Feedback on the mini roast topside from Matt Williams on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show was as good as it gets! He said:
“It’s fabulous Nigel. The beef is MELT in your mouth – it is GORGEOUS. Goodness me – how do you make it so melt in the mouth your beef?”
And Nigel Barden, the resident chef for the programme answered:
“Well I think it’s not really so much my beef, it is just we are using very good beef. This is one of the joints from Anna Blumfield and it’s just fantastic.”
Earlier he had talked about Anna’s Sussex cattle and how the meat had been dry aged on the hook for 28 days. He also mentioned that it was 100% grass fed, certified by the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association.
As if this was not enough, the team was also involved in at least two beef tastings during the week.
On the Monday evening, certified farmers Jonathan Chapman (Red Devon cattle), Anna Blumfield (Sussex cattle) and Simon Cutter (Hereford cattle) went to London for a beef tasting at La Cucina Caldesi, at the kind invitation of chef Giancarlo Caldesi.
There, a collection of butchers small and large, chefs, food writers and bloggers, meat trade journalists and meat wholesalers, met to taste 100% grass fed beef burgers and topside – all cooked in an identical way.
The atmosphere, conversations and discussions were dynamic and lively and everyone went away convinced that truly 100% grass-fed cattle produce astoundingly good meat.
And the conversations are ongoing – with these chefs and butchers going out to meet the farmers and see their cattle and their pasture, and discussions on how whole carcases can be sent and distributed to top eating establishments in London.
Finally, Anna Blumfield held her own beef tasting event in her barn at the farm, with fifty or so guests. A local chef had spent much imagination and preparation time to produce a beef sharing platter of beef heart, grilled marrowbone, tongue to tail kebab and confit of brisket in beef fat, and followed this with roast rib of beef. A delicious feast and money was also raised for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).
Not quite in Great British Beef Week, but an article in the Sunday Telegraph about Pasture for Life farmer Liz Earle on 7 May, was the icing on the consumer media cake! With a readership of just over one million, there’s even more reason to hope demand for truly 100% grass-fed beef will keep on going up!