Lakes farm gears up to host prestigious cattle open day
The Open Day will provide an opportunity for the public to join food, farming, and forestry industry representatives to find out more about what’s so special about a breed of cattle that is now being seen on Cumbria’s farms and appearing on the menus of its finest restaurants.
The event will highlight the high quality and superior taste of beef sourced from the Luings. Foodies will be in for a treat as Higginsons Butchers of Grange and More? The Artisan Bakery will be providing mouth-watering tasting opportunities. Chef, Ryan Blackburn, from the award-winning Old Stamp House restaurant in Ambleside will also be at the event to run cookery demonstrations for visitors using the locally sourced beef.
The Luing Cattle Society’s Open Day is intended to be an enjoyable, educational experience for members of the general public, with the chance to see the Luing herd grazing the farm, join guided walks to discover the farm’s special wildlife, find out how the cattle are helping to improve the natural environment and enjoy plenty of other activities throughout the afternoon.
These hardy cattle hail from the Scottish island of Luing and were first bred there in the 1940s. The cattle brought together the qualities of a Beef Shorthorn and the hardiness of a Scottish Highlander and the Luings were soon prized by farmers in Scotland for their hardiness, easy handling and commercial viability. And now Lakes farmers are catching on and realising that stocking the breed can bring commercial and conservation benefits.
Over thirty local businesses are supporting the event and on the showfield there will be a wide range of activities including: tractor pulling, stock judging, animal portraits from local artists, Coniston Hounds, stick & crook making, kids area and much more.
High House Farm Manager, Alec Smith said: “We have worked hard over the last ten years to establish a pedigree herd of Luing cattle at High House Farm. The Luings have demonstrated many valuable benefits to our farm and to our landscape and we are thrilled to be able to host the Luing Cattle Society’s prestigious open day at High House Farm in 2014.
“The event will be a fantastic opportunity to show that Luing beef is not only an environmentally responsible breed of cow that thrives on a low-input farm system but also offers excellent commercial potential for farmers because it produces a very high quality beef.
“With the top-quality catering and chef demos on the day, this is going to be a treat for foodies and the first ever public showcase of Luing beef, as a quality brand, rather than just a generic beef product.”
The Luing Cattle Society’s Open Day 2014 is on the afternoon of Friday 1 August (12-5pm) at High House Farm, Winster, Cumbria and is free to attend. Anyone who would like to go along is invited to register their interest in attending at www.winsterluings.tumblr.com/openday2014 or come along on the day.
The event is being supported by Natural England’s Cumbria team, who hope that more farmers will also come to appreciate the environmental benefits that grazing Luings can bring. Working with experts from Butterfly Conservation, Natural England has found that Luing cattle to be among the best of the traditional cattle breeds at achieving benefits for the natural environment when used for conservation grazing as part of Agri-Environment schemes in Cumbria.
What the region’s experts say about the Luings:
Simon Humphries, Natural England’s Area Manager for Cumbria:
“Natural England is delighted that the Luing Cattle Society’s Open Day will be held in the Lakes for the first time this summer. Luing cattle are proving to be an excellent native breed to use where conservation grazing is needed and very well-suited to the uplands of Cumbria. It’s great news that the Luings are bringing both commercial and environmental benefits to the farm, and Natural England is very pleased to support the Open Day.”
Alec Smith, Farm Manager at High House Farm, Winster:
“We want to use this event, primarily, to demonstrate to farmers that Luings are an efficient and commercial breed of cow, ideally suited to the rugged, hardy grazing of the Lakes and still capable of making a good price at market. However, we want to remind farmers that, fundamentally, they are food producers. They must never forget the end product that they are creating. With Luings, they can be proud that the food product they are creating not only fits a responsible, environmental agenda but also caters for increasingly discerning, consumer tastes.”
Stuart Higginson of Higginsons of Grange:
“We are always looking for something new and different to attract customer interest, ideally with a link to our local landscape but – most of all – we want to sell high quality, delicious tasting meat. We have been really pleased with the Luing beef we’ve sold through our shop and are delighted to support local farming, and the open day in Winster. I would say it is one of the best sirloin’s that I have used regarding the quality of the fat and the flavour.“
Ryan Blackburn, Proprietor of The Old Stamp House Restaurant Ambleside:
“Working in a competitive industry, in a busy tourist area, we need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to consumer interest, and we are always keen to introduce our diners to new concepts, flavours and breeds, whilst staying true to the Old Stamp House ethos of quality, heritage and landscape. Luing beef is adaptable to many dining formats – from simple, home cooking to high-end restaurant fare. We will be there on the day to showcase the unique way in which we use Luing beef.”
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