A partnership between an award-winning butcher near Leeds and a local Yorkshire farm has created a new outlet for premium beef.
Farmers Chris Haley and Steve Bailey rear Dexters organically and sell about two a month to Spauls butcher at Burley in Wharfedale for a premium worth at least 40p/kg over typical finished steer prices.
Both farmers specialised in property development until spotting a gap in the market and setting up the Scalebor Park Farm herd a year ago.
“It’s a lot harder work than property,” said Mr Haley.
“We’re producing for the local butcher, cutting out the middle man.
“We’ve picked a breed that is economically viable and kinder to the land – Dexters are lighter so you can outwinter them for longer.”
After being killed at a local abattoir, the meat is hung for three weeks before being sent to one of butcher Mark Spauls’ two shops.
“More and more of our customers are asking for locally-produced, natural meat,” he said.
“Everyone that’s tried it has come back and said how fantastic it is and what a great flavour it has.
And it’s taking no trade off my other beef.”
The beef’s organic rearing was the main draw for shoppers, Mr Spauls reckoned, but its local origin from rare-breed animals was also a key factor in its marketing.
And they have not been put off by the beef’s relatively high price, he claimed.
Prime fillet at £27/kg compares favourably with supermarket prime beef brands like Jamie Oliver meat, which Sainsbury’s sells for £29.99/kg.