Day 11 – Aberdeen Angus Beef – Simply the best!

Aberdeen Angus cows form our entire herd here at Broom House and we think that their beef is simply the best! 

Our herd was started in 2001, when we bought 100 cows from a farmer near Fochabers, North of Aberdeen, and has gradually expanded to over 200 cows.  When the cattle arrived in November 2001 they had hardly seen a human before, having been “looked” by Ian in his landrover every day up in the Highlands.  They were quite jumpy for the first year or so, but gradually quietened down and any that remained easily spooked were not kept for breeding.  Now the herd is lovely and quiet – in the main, and moving them regularly certainly helps.  We still breed all our own replacement animals, buying bulls locally, usually from specialist breeder, George Burrell. We calve between the end of March and May.  Our cattle are then reared slowly on our organic pastures, and are fed a diet of grass and clover; nothing else. They are grazed rotationally, moving to fresh grass roughly every 4 days. We believe that this gives the best flavour and provides the most natural and sustainable product possible.

All the beef is either sold through the shop or goes to Waitrose through their Dovecote Park organic Aberdeen Angus partnership – with around 40 females being kept as replacements every year at the moment.  Martin joined us at the same time as the cows back in 2001 and has been looking after them almost single handed ever since, moving them from field to field, tagging the calves and feeding them through the long winter months.  

Why did we pick the Angus? When we first started farming our cattle were mainly Limousin, crossed with a Charolais bull, bought or borrowed from Christopher Sutherland. Given the chance to restock after the Foot & Mouth drama we picked the Aberdeen Angus, because we wanted a hardier, native breed with smaller cows than previously. We also wanted to be able to run a closed herd in order to have more control over breeding, temperament and disease.  With thoughts about converting to organic, we also wanted a breed that was able to finish easily off grass alone.  The Aberdeen Angus ticks all these boxes.  In addition, everyone has heard of the breed as being a great meat producing animal and we saw the potential for adding value.  It was at about this time that Farmers Markets were first getting going in the North.  We were inspired by Donald McPherson from Berwickshire, who was selling his “Well Hung and Tender” Aberdeen Angus beef at Farmers Markets, including in Ponteland, where Jane’s grandmother, Nonie, was a favourite customer.  Nonie was never one to miss a trick and she suggested that we should maybe try selling direct to the public ourselves, and in the years to follow she was able to enjoy quite a few Broom House Farm steaks, declaring them to be as tender as Donald’s!

Aberdeen Angus beef sells itself, but we work closely to use the whole carcass and avoid waste. Our beef is properly hung for a minimum of 24 days on site and is aged with Himalayan salt, it really is very delicious. 

From date night steak to burgers for the BBQ and from slow cooked brisket to quick and easy bolognese, there is such a wide range of different cuts to enjoy and the butchery team love to show these off in the counter, come and try something different today!