Rebecca and Matthew Hargreaves, in partnership with Fergus Milne, started to raise and breed White Park cattle and Shetland sheep in early 2011, both breeds which are renowned for their healthy and tasty meat.
Our animals live amongst the beautiful Chiltern hills, literally at the bottom of our garden in Hoo's Field in Little Gaddesden and now in a part of the "Golden Valley" in Nettleden, and are fed grass year-round, with plenty of land to roam in. We think this gives them the best possible life, and results in the best possible meat.
White Park cattle are the oldest recorded breed in the UK, dating back to Celtic and Roman times, and much sought after by the nobility from the Middle Ages onwards - the "Sir Loin" cut was dubbed thus by King James 1st after a particularly delicious White Park beef dish. They came close to extinction during the mid-20th Century, and are still rare today, but by bringing them back to the Chilterns, we are not only helping to conserve them, but are also returning them close to one of their ancestral homes, namely Whipsnade, which alongside Woburn in Bedfordshire, Cadzow in Scotland and Dynevor in the Brecon Beacons formed the four core gene pools of the modern herd. White Park beef is lean yet well marbled and when hung properly for 3 weeks or so, the meat shrinks very little on cooking and has an excellent flavour.
Shetland sheep are similarly an ancient rare breed which evolved in a harsh environment and the modern animal therefore thrives in the more temperate climate of southern England, lambing prolifically and easily and producing a meat that is lean with superb flavour and low in lipid fat - excellent for low cholesterol diets.
October House, 5 Little Gaddesden, near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 1PA