In the midst of this ‘mini heatwave’ – or as we like to call it here in Scotland: Summer – it’s time to look back on the last three, crazy busy months. So much has happened.
April brought a mix of the odd beautiful day followed by a winter revival a few days later. Unsettling yes, but the weeks flew by and I had a million emails to answer, phone calls about carcasses and butchering, deliveries, orders, DNA registrations, paperwork about exporting genetics and also beef, vets, embryos & semen, stuff to do with British Wagyu Association, talking to chefs and arranging visits. You know, the usual!
May was National Burger month and, boy, did we feel it. The Wagyu burger orders went mad. We were also at the Beef Expo in York representing British Wagyu Association where we met BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson again. He’s such a nice guy (always happy to do a selfie!) and very interested in featuring our Wagyu for the next series. Exciting times.
We marked another milestone with the birth of our first Wagyu x Dexter, which we fondly call ‘Wagster’. What a cutie.
Before we knew it June was upon us and then went in a flash. We had a great few days at the Royal Highland Show (RHS). It was a first for us selling our beef to the public. I even got up on stage to assist Edinburgh Chef Fred Berkmiller, owner of L’escargot.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at the stand. We had an overwhelming response: we sold out of beef in 2.5 days, have had great feedback and shares from customers, which makes all our hard work worth it – and we even got a mention in The Herald.
Since then, I’ve been inundated with 15 email enquiries a day from new private customers interested in our beef. We already look after a lot of private customers so seeds are being sown for a Highland Wagyu Beef Club – watch this space
The Highland Show wasn’t just about the beef – we also won some silver. Netherton Evita who we share with Netherton Angus was Best Cow, Female Champion and Reserve Overall Breed Champion, she was also part of the Champion interbreed team of four.
There was no rest for me after the RHS, as the next day we had the honour of showing 80 people from the American Livestock Judging Team around our operation and HW Angus at Netherton. It was a fantastic day and testament to the Wagyu cattle that they were so interesting to the dairy judges!
Earlier in the month we hosted Chef Director of Restaurant Associates, Jeremy Ford, and four colleagues to HW HQ to check out our Wagyu, who – to our delight – used our beef at their food and drink extravaganza, the RA Chef Expo, in mid June. It looks amazing
We love being busy and it’s always great to show passionate people what we’re up to here. We’ve hosted a fun group from Oshibori restaurant in Dundee, a couple of great young enthusiastic students at UCD Dublin, Angus breeders from America, private chef and owner of Highland Curing Co, Mark Heirs, who started as a customer and is now a friend who we are working with on a new project, as well as 2014 Master Chef winner Jamie Scott and his wife (pictured below).
Wagyu is getting a lot of interest with lots of new chefs coming on board. Gastropubs are trying our beef on menus across the UK and high-end London butchers are promoting it too.
I also want to take a moment to thank the chefs and restaurants who have supported us from day one –Tom Kitchin, JW Steakhouse at The Grosvenor House, Adam Handling at Caxton and Fred Berkmiller of L’escargot. We truly appreciate your support.
There are so many other customers that give us amazing support – without you we couldn’t have come this far. Our beef is being served from one end of the country to the other. From Brighton to Inverness and from private homes to 3* Michelin restaurants. We are truly blessed to have an amazing team, fantastic cattle and most of all you – our customers. We couldn’t do it without your faith in us and what we represent. Thank you ALL!!
Our customers love that our beef is bred in the UK. When they buy from us, they do it safe in the knowledge that our Wagyu is direct from source – ‘it is what it says on the tin’ – and we’re incredibly proud of our transparency.
With all this extra interest, it’s great to have Craig on board helping with our sales and marketing of our F1 crosses, otherwise known as ‘Wangus’. He’s been on the ground, doing the legwork for us in London.
Highland Wagyu also has a new General Manager, Nigel Murray, who started earlier this year to help take the load off me so I can focus on the beef. He’s already turned things around.
Last weekend saw the arrival of eight embryo calves with another 20 due in the next few days. So much of the interest is in our genetics with demand for embryos and semen from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Argentina, Germany, France and of course the UK with a shipment of Wagyu semen heading to Ireland to store where there are always lots of enquiries. We’re working hard to keep up with demand for our beef with continuous flushing.
It seems we’ve also caught the eye of an Australian writer with this mention in The Age (above). We’re thrilled to be recognised in the very place where our Wagyu journey began three years ago with the first taste of this mind-blowing beef. We’d love to know who wrote the article if anyone could help.
Finally, you might have seen my recent post on Facebook that we’re developing our Wagyu charcuterie to add to our salt beef. We hope to have salami and bresaola products ready soon, so stay tuned.
Until next time, enjoy the summer and happy eating!