Ahead of Great British Beef week, which runs from 23rd – 30th April, I caught up with Ladies in Beef co-founder Jilly Greed to find out more about her own beef enterprise and what this year’s #GBBW22 focus is.
I’m a 4th generation suckler beef and arable farmer farming in partnership with son George and husband Edwin in Devon near Exeter.
I always wanted to farm but my father was a staunch traditionalist and did not believe women could be natural successors. So it was a challenge from the onset! Only after he became very ill in 1996 and my mother encouraged our involvement, did we get the chance to take over the family farm business in 2OOO.
So we inherited a lovely continental suckler beef herd of pedigree British Blondes on a grain based finishing system. Today we have 25O head of breeding cows, calves and yearlings, of predominately native breed genetics including the South Devon, Angus and Red Polls. We are entirely grass based now in a regenerative organic system, mob grazing lush river meadows and herbal leys.
We supply both ABP and Dunbia in Dorset and Devon. Some of our prime beef goes to M & S. This summer we hope to set up a box scheme to develop a local organic market selling direct to the consumer, as well as pop up restaurant events here at the farm in a beautiful authentic cob barn overlooking the suckler herd and river pastures.
Co-founder Minette Batters, NFU President and I set up Ladies in Beef and at the same time launched Great British Beef Week. This was largely due to a shared frustration that positive nutritional messages about Red Tractor Assured British beef were not getting through to the consumers. We felt female beef producers were a trusted source of information with the public.
This year’s campaign for GBBW 22 is all about environmental sustainability, a theme we championed last year, which resonated so well with consumers and the media. The campaign is focused on climate friendly, grass based beef production, which has less than half the average global emissions. UK farmers maximise the natural resources of plentiful sunshine and rain to grow lush grass pastures which is turned into nutritious protein by grazing animals as well as iron and vitamins including vitamin B12 naturally found in red meat and a boost to the immune system.
My favourite recipe is a rich warming casserole made with beef skirt, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and herbs not forgetting the Worcester Sauce! Sometimes I add a couple of tumblers of red wine with the beef stock cubes or Sunday roast left over gravy. It’s my own recipe and a winner every time, slow cooked in a 7O year old Aga! Skirt is such an easy cut to work with and inexpensive – it just melts in the mouth.
Here’s where you can find the method:
There are lots of supermarkets, butchers and farm shops as well as pubs and restaurants taking part in GBBW 22. You can find more information on the Ladies in Beef website: http://www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk/
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