Beef Week: Mum-and-daughter duo talk meat, farming and food

Great British Beef Week 2020 runs from 23-30 April, albeit in a scaled-down form because of the coronavrius crisis.

We catch up with its two ambassadors, mother-and-daughter duo Celia and Kirsty Gay from Newton Farm, near Bath.

See also: Beef mini roasts with a twist

What message are you trying to get to consumers through Great British Beef Week?

Celia: I want to highlight that buying British beef means you get high-quality, high-welfare meat, produced in a way that brings rich environmental benefits.

Kirsty: Mainly the health benefits of eating beef as a source of whole food protein.

I also want to promote the environmental benefits, because beef farming has got a bad rep through mainstream media lately.

How much impact is Covid-19 having on the beef sector?

Celia: It’s causing huge instability and downward pressure on prices, which is a great shame.

Kirsty: Judging by what’s going on elsewhere, we’re fortunate to have our own butchery in our farmshop to sell our own meat.

What’s your favourite beef dish?

Celia: Roast rib or a cheeky little fillet steak.

Kirsty: I love it all! Maybe fillet steak or pulled brisket, or beef and red wine stew, or roast beef because you can’t beat a roast. Rib is probably my fave.

What cut of beef do you wish more people would try?

Celia: Shin…it’s delicious in a stew.

Kirsty: Short rib or ox cheek.

Does vegetarianism present a threat to the beef industry?

Celia: No, I feel that the biggest threat are the incorrect figures circulating about the affect of beef cattle on the environment.

Sadly, this happened last year and was never really corrected to show the benefits of our wonderful grass-based British beef industry.

Kirsty: If you had asked me pre Covid-19 and lockdown, I would have said definitely yes.

However, I have noticed a huge increase in meat sales in recent weeks and particularly minced and diced beef.

It seems people are cooking more and using these staples to create meals that can feed the family, perhaps over several sittings. It is really fascinating and gives me hope.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a farmer?

Celia: The best is living and working in such a beautiful landscape and raising livestock to a high standard.

The worst is being misunderstood by the public or being portrayed in a poor light by the media.

Kirsty: The best bit is that it’s an incredibly fulfilling job and I always feel very lucky to work in such beautiful surroundings.

I’m not sure if it’s the worst, but it can be challenging to have time off as a family all together.

What is Great British Beef Week (GBBW)?

The organisers of GBBW, which marks its 10th year in 2020, hope to inspire shoppers with easy swaps and batch-cooking ideas during the coronavirus crisis.

Fundraising and launch events have been cancelled, but Ladies in Beef wanted to make use of the opportunity to provide inspiration for consumers who are looking for new and creative ways to feed their families nutritious meals.

The digitally driven campaign hopes to inspire shoppers with easy and delicious beef dishes, using versatile ingredients that can be swapped and changed, depending on what is available.

Batch cooking, freezing and minimising food waste is the order of the day, they say.

“We did consider postponing the week, as it is undoubtedly a very sad and challenging time for everyone,” said Jilly Greed, who co-founded Ladies in Beef.

“However, with empty shelves causing consumer confidence to waver, we believe there is an opportunity for the beef sector to come together to reassure people that we are working incredibly hard to put food on their tables and to inspire them to cook with a range of beef cuts.”

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