Richard & Lizzie Vines
Hillhead Farm, Chagford
Devon TQ13 8DY
Tel. 01647 433433
Soil, cattle and time are our only ingredients
"The best beef in the world" - and why not? Consider for just a moment -- a fertile peninsular in temperate climes, mineral rich (a great mining heritage, founded on granite) and washed by the benevolent Gulf Stream, giving rise to prolific grasslands that enjoy an extended season. The cattle that graze here are have adapted over time to be the most efficient users of the prevalent climatic and geological conditions, assimilating the goodness and maturing in tune with nature.
Fertile, uncultivated grasslands in the West of England and fine old breeds of cattle are the essence of great food from Wild Beef.
Soil, cattle and time are our only ingredients. From the beginning we set out to produce superior beef. We achieve this by using old-fashioned farming methods.
It is standard practice in commercial grass-reared herds to feed soya, barley and compound mixes to maximise final weight and shape. This is not our philosophy. We believe the most natural lifestyle on the purest grasslands delivers the highest quality meat. Wild Beef cattle graze on land free of fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides and they are never fed on unnatural high-protein rations to promote their growth. Medication is only ever used to treat illness.
Our animals lead an ideal, unhurried existence, browsing the moors and meadows. They thrive on the unploughed grasses, herbs, weeds and shrubs that root deeply on the unimproved meadows and chalk Downs of Wiltshire and peat uplands of Dartmoor, Devon.
The dark, rich colour and tenderness of the meat give promise of the flavour and texture to come. With its long shelf life and short cooking time Wild Beef delivers that promise of the highest quality combined with outstanding nutrition.
SPRING is heralded with our first calvings of the year; a lovely time full of promise of the warmth and growth to come. Calves lie hidden in the long grasses, flicking an ear and at dusk romping and butting. The cows return to the bull at the end of June and the herd is moved on to the downs or moors for the summer.
SUMMER sees the hay fields mown and their crop stored for the winter months. Meanwhile cows and calves enjoy their high pastures with space to roam, great variety of forage and breezes to keep the flies away. Often we find a creche of calves overseen by a single cow while the others may be away up the hill as much as half a mile away.
AUTUMN welcomes the second batch to calve in September and October. These cows spent the early part of their grazing season on the hills and away meadows and are brought back to the home farm where they can be overseen.
WINTER sees most of the cattle yarded for the winter come November, deep littered on straw and feeding on as much silage and hay as they can eat. At Chagford some lie in the barn at night and feed out by day while the cows out-winter completely, sheltered by the high thorn hedges that surround the farm.