Tales from Wagyu Mama: Martine wraps up 2016

Well where has the year gone? 2017 is knocking on our door and I didn’t feel 2016 pass!!

It’s been another crazy year for us at HW with the opening of our new, dedicated store, Wagyu House. We were blessed with some amazing support for the opening, which was incredible. Since we opened our doors in August it’s been truly incredible. Of course I’m still based at the farm but I have my Saturday job at Wagyu House and I pop in most days to check on what’s going on and I enjoy meeting and talking Wagyu to all our customers.

WagyuHouselaunch2

(l-r) Martine Chapman, Pierre Koffmann, Tom Kitchin, Albert Roux, Mohsin Altajir

With another crazy year nearly behind us, Mohsin and I are looking forward to a well-earned break in January. Mohsin is working on some exciting projects for the New Year so we’ll need some R&R before the excitement begins. Of course, we’ll keep you posted on social media.

We had another great few days at The Royal Highland Show with our Wagyu stand in June. After selling out in two days last year we increased our stock this year…and sold out in three days! It seems our love for Wagyu is spreading. So we will plan better for the Show next year. My nephew Maison came to help for the four days at the Highland and has stayed to work alongside us at HW, which of course has pleased me! It’s great to have him with us and since Wagyu House opened he has grown in confidence and is now looking after all of our private customers.

Maison's ready to sell some Wagyu!

Maison’s ready to sell some Wagyu!

It’s been an amazing year with many new restaurants and some incredible chefs placing our beef on their menus. We’ve had so much support from many of our customers since the start of our journey that we cannot thank them enough. You know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for always being there for us. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

A big thank you also goes to our friend and top-chef customer Adam Handling who used our Wagyu beef on Masterchef this year, which gave us a massive boost. We’re hoping to add a clip to the website soon.

In more good news, I have found a ‘mini me’ at last. Michelle came on board a few months ago, which has been a massive help for us all. She has been in the beef industry for many years, her enthusiasm is infectious and I believe our customers are going to enjoy her positive and fun-loving character as much as we do. Along with my husband and I, Craig runs around the country shouting about HW. Craig is a long-term friend and his passion for Wagyu is incredible. We tease him most days but he would think something was wrong if we didn’t. I must also mention everyone in the office as well as Nigel who tries to keep everyone in check.

On the cattle side things life is always busy. Every day brings us a challenge and we are all constantly learning that ‘every day’s a school day’. I’m told where there’s livestock there’s ‘dead stock’ and this is something I haven’t been able to grasp well…maybe it’s because I am still so new to the world of cattle? That being said we have had many beautiful new additions to the HW herds. Our Wagyu herd is growing daily and the Wagyu breed itself is growing in popularity worldwide. We have many people calling because they want to learn more about the breed in general, which is a positive sign. For us they are wonderful, but for many they don’t really see them visually as ‘beef cattle’. However, once they have seen our steers and of course the end product, this gives them encouragement.

We cross our Wagyu with our other breeds of cattle to see what the Wagyu are doing to our traditional carcasses and each one so far has blown us away. I’m sure many have heard our weird and wonderful names for the different Wagyu crosses. Wangus, Waghorn, Waglander are the three so far and we have another new Wagyu cross coming soon but I’m still working on the name for that!

Our HW Angus herd has gone from strength to strength with William and Karen at the helm. In the past year we have exported live cattle and embryos to 12 different countries from both our Red and Black Angus. With many bulls being sold within the UK, we would like to thank our new and returning customers for all the support you have given us. Next year is looking very exciting, with the World Angus Forum coming to visit. We also have a nice group of bulls for the famous Stirling Bull Sales in February.

HW Shorthorns have stepped up a mark and, since George’s main focus is now on the Shorthorns, they’re coming into their own. Our homebred bull and national champion Freud is now in stud, with many orders for his semen coming in before he even arrived! Hazard was sold to Genus and has also been popular across the globe. So, things are looking up on the Shorthorn front and I look forward to sharing more new about them soon.

Quoiggs Freud

We also have a new member on the Wagyu team. Lorna has returned from many years in NZ to join the Wagyu team and we’re very happy to have her on board. She joins Colin, Maureen, Grant and Radik who all look after the Wagyu side of things, making five Wagyu musketeers! And I better not forget a very important member of the Wagyu team – Diaz is HW security the most incredible Rottie I’ve ever met. Along with HW Yoda (our French Bulldog) they are Wagyu quality control 😉 HW Yoda is in full force and brings us such joy at home and on the farm. He is totally in love with the cattle, but sometimes gets a little freaked out when he appears from a bale of hay and finds large Wagyu tongues waiting to kiss him! I’m not sure what he thinks these large beasts are and I’m sure they wonder who or what he is, but they all seem to find each other totally spellbinding.

HW Yoda flirting with the cattle.

HW Yoda flirting with the cattle.

Finally, I know I’ve said this before, but I cannot say it enough: my husband and I are here not only because of our determination, but also because of the hard work of the whole team. Without everyone’s hard work and passion we wouldn’t be here today. As in life, there are good and bad days, but together we can do many great things. So, to our HW family we would like to thank you for everything you have done. We look forward to walking into the future with you, whatever it may hold.

-Martine

21st December 2016