Kent Farmers' Markets: Beefing it up
PUBLISHED: 15:39 29 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013
We all have visions of an idyllic rural landscape in which cows are cared for ethically and left to graze free range. Well, three of Kent's beef farmers have made this a reality rather than a rural myth.
We all have visions of an idyllic rural landscape in which cows are cared for ethically and left to graze free range. Well, three of Kents beef farmers have made this a reality rather than a rural myth.
Ben Garratt and Hilary Jones came to Burscombe Cliff Organic Farm in Egerton 24 years ago, determined to be organic. It took two years to convert the farm and Burscombe now has a herd of 15 Sussex cattle, which are occasionally cross-bred with a Blonde.
Ben says: Sussex cows are well suited to organic management as they dont require a lot of concentrates such as corn to get them to the ideal weight. The herd feeds entirely on fresh grass and only reverts to grass silage in winter.
Ben is particularly keen to sell his prime free-range beef at Farmers Markets: Our free-range beef is never pre-frozen and is often cheaper than similar products in supermarkets despite the common misconception that Farmers Markets are more expensive, he says.
Farmer Palmer Products, run by Graham and Miranda Palmer, is a Produced in Kent member and dedicated to bringing fresh, local, tasty and competitively priced beef to market. They have 25 Aberdeen Angus beef cows producing 25 calves a year which are single suckled and exclusively forage fed with grass produced under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
Farmer Palmer has a high animal welfare policy, is registered with Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb and believes in raising happy, healthy animals grazing on pasture of diverse indigenous grasses and herbs, which helps produce meat of unrivalled flavour.
The couple are also committed to the Farmers Markets. To be able to sell a product direct to a customer who appreciates quality at a reasonable price is great. We can talk honestly about the product knowing that we have worked hard to achieve consistency and quality throughout production and rearing.
Penshurst Beef, run by the Frederick family, has been breeding South Devon beef cows for 15 years. The cows graze in the fields in summer and are fed home-produced hay and straw at Coldharbour Farm, Penshurst in the winter. They have 24 breeding cows and their calves, plus a South Devon bull.
The cows are slaughtered and butchered locally, and the meat is hung for three weeks to enhance the texture and flavour. Simon loves the local Farmers Markets. They create good relations between customers and farmer and are an opportunity to sell directly.
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