With an extensive network of likeminded farmers across the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, we only work with traditional, native breeds of cattle. Over the past decade we have honed our breeding programmes and have found the best flavours derive from smaller native breeds such as Dexter, Highland and Belted Galloway. These rugged breeds are at home on The Dales, both the lowlands and the craggy, exposed tops, foraging a much wider range of grasses than commercial cattle. This not only boosts the nutritional value and flavour of the resulting beef, but also allows less dominant native grasses and wildflowers to flourish, benefiting the entire ecosystem, from insects and birds to invertebrates and mammals.
Traditional breeds also grow slowly with our beef ranging from twenty-nine to sixty months (compared to thirteen months for their commercial counterparts) – the change this additional age imparts is dramatic, not only in terms of taste but also visually with much darker flesh, and fat often with a yellow hue that reflects the grass and hay diet. We have found it is the union of breed, age, feed and low-stress slaughter (we use two family-run local abattoirs that are best-in-class) that produces outstanding beef. At the butchery we then do our utmost to enhance this; 4 weeks in our Himalayan salt ageing chamber before our skilled team seam-butcher the carcasses in the time-honoured fashion – the results are exceptionally good.