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May 10, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Beef from Apley herd of British white cattle

2016-05-08 Oldington Farm White Cows Family 3 Generations SW

3 generations – Richard, Paul, Harry & James Pennington of Oldington Farm, Apley Estate

2016-05-08 Oldington Farm White Cows Paul SW

Paul Pennington

The beef sold on Apley Farm Shop’s butchery counter comes from less than a mile away on Oldington Farm, farmed by 3 generations of the Pennington family.

You can’t get the customer & the producer much closer than that ! Fabulously low food miles.

Steve Watts went along on Sunday to photograph their handsome herd of British white cattle. They’d just finished their Sunday beef barbecue ! Paul & Catherine’s sons are 9 & 13. Both are up at 6am to help out. Wow ! James tends to the cows & Harry looks after the sheep – a real family business.

This beef is also available from our online DeiShop & is used on the menus of our Creamery Cafe at Apley Farm Shop.

Paul Pennington sent us this about British White beef: 

British Whites are a rare breed & one of, if not the oldest, native breed here in Britain. Viking lore talks of white cattle being looted & taken back to the Viking homelands during the invasion. They were used as a dual purpose animal as they provided plenty of milk without sacrificing meat coverage as most dairy breeds do.

In 2009, the Pennington family purchased a cow & a calf from a breeder in Leicestershire & the Oldington herd was born! After 5 years of selling beef in boxes to anyone who wanted them as a by-product of selective breeding, Apley Farm Shop got in touch & asked for some beef for a trial. Their customers loved it!

Now with a herd of around 70 pure bred breeding, show & beef cattle, the Penningtons run & show the herd at local & national shows as a family. Now with male, female & National Breed rosettes to the herd’s name, it continues to expand. The beef at Apley Farm Shop is a hit with all those who value delicious, high quality, locally produced & fully traceable beef which travels little more than a mile between birth & the customer.

In order for this rare species to survive, they must serve a commercial purpose. Without the demand, the herds would get smaller & eventually would be lost. Breeders, butchers & buyers all play an equally important & vital role in the maintenance of this wonderful, historic breed.

I did some brief research into the benefits of eating beef from grass-fed cattle:  On some commercial farms (anywhere in the world), cattle are fattened on grain, soy, by-product foodstuffs, supplements, antibiotics & hormones. Many are embracing the “grass-fed” philosophy which means the cattle eat nothing other than their mother’s milk & grass. They are allowed to grow at a natural pace, living low-stress, healthy lives. Beef from grass-fed cattle has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol & calories. It is rich in omega-3 acids, which are linked to blood pressure reduction & healthy brain function. Grass-fed meat boasts more vitamin E & beta-carotene than factory-farmed cattle.

When I rode past them recently, they certainly looked very happy, grazing in the spring sunshine.

Come & learn more about food & farming on Sunday 5 June, Open Farm Sunday, organised nationally by LEAF – Linking Education And Farming.

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