“Ladies in Beef” was founded by Jilly Greed, a beef producer from Devon, and Minette Batters, who rears suckler cows near Salisbury. The pair have already recruited 19 spokeswomen from all over the country to act as regional beef “champions”, but they’re hoping to find many more.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to attract so many women who want to make a difference,” said Jilly. “Every day we’re getting emails and telephone calls from lady beef farmers who want to get stuck in, so there’s definitely a movement growing.”
The group was officially launched by HRH The Princess Royal, who delivered an opening address to more than 150 guests at Butchers’ Hall in central London earlier this month. After her speech, Princess Anne spent much of the evening talking to some of the group’s first members, including Farmers Weekly’s College Calendar writer Harriet Wilson.
“I definitely think she was the best person to attend the launch as it was clear that she is passionate about the British beef industry and spoke to us about her beef herd,” said Harriet.
“Ladies in Beef is a positive and active way of promoting beef to secure the industry for the future of farming families and their children. It has also been proven that consumers are more likely to trust women, and we can certainly be very persuasive.
Top of the group’s agenda following the launch was “Great British Beef Week”a six-day celebration of farm-assured British Beef, starting on 18 April and culminating on St George’s Day on 23 April.
As part of the flagship event, the ladies are arranging in-store promotional activities at a number of major retailers and have arranged for posters to be distributed to hundreds of independent butchers. Members will also be tasked with promoting the nutritional and environmental benefits of British beef and encouraging consumers to try recipes using a variety of cuts.
Jilly told Farmers Weekly that at the heart of the campaign was the desire to create better collaboration in the beef supply chain.
“It’s a very tough market at the moment,” said Jilly. “There’s fragile consumer demand and we’ve had some fluctuations in farmgate price, but I really think that we need to have a stronger connection with our consumer and I think this is an innovative way to do this.”
Partial to a bit of beef? Why not try this recipe from Ladies in Beef supporter EBLEX?
Caramelised Balsamic Steaks
2 lean sirloin, rib-eye or flat-iron steaks
For the balsamic marinade:
30ml/2tbsp good quality balsamic or red wine vinegar
15ml/1tbsp muscovado or dark brown sugar
2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
1 large sprig freshly chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
5-10ml/1-2tsp mild chilli powder
In a large non-metallic dish, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Place the steaks in the marinade and coat on both sides. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Remove the steaks from the marinade and cook under a pre-heated moderate grill or on a prepared barbecue according to your preference. Set aside to rest on a warm plate. Serve the steaks with sautéed mushrooms, onions and potato wedges.
Ask your butcher about flat-iron steaks, they are a tasty and less expensive cut.
Cooking times (Based on a 2cm/¾inch thick steak):
Rare: 2.5 minutes on each side
Medium: 4 mins each side
Well done: 6 mins each side