Sunday, 6 November 2011

Grass-fed Rose Veau....What an Exciting Meat Experience!

What is Grassfed Rose Veau? 
This photo is of young dairy animals that have been reared on pasture & surrogate dairy cows.
I was fortunate this week to be present at the launch of this exciting new beef product which can be a byproduct from the pasture based dairy farms in the UK. Many influential people who would have been keen to be present sadly were not able to attend this low key launch.
Grassfed Rose Veau (pronounced Vo) is an opportunity for every pasture based dairy farmer in the UK. No farmer likes to dispose of male calves at birth. What a shameful waste of protein the world simply can not tolerate. In the UK we have a fantastic opportunity to take these animals thru to 7-8 months & produce a wonderful “low fat, high Omega 3” high quality meat.
People like the Soil Association have established rules that these male calves must be reared. The low input pasture based dairy farmers have a real opportunity to create a market niche that is clearly grassfed & healthy.

It’s seriously important that it is  GRASSFED for a number of reasons. Firstly it clearly distinguishes the meat from products like white veal & reassures the customer that it has been reared on healthy pastures in a very humane rearing system. Secondly the grassfed ensures a great ROSE colour (bright red pink) which is very important for retail presentation. Lastly the grassfed management ensures the high Omega 3 content which Bristol University has shown pertains to beef fed on pasture.
The word VEAU means young beef animal in French. This is also important as it clearly states that this is a young healthy animal so the meat will be tender.
So what are the on farm opportunities? Block calving spring or autumn provides a group of male calves all of the same age. This will simplify the management…we like that! Pasture based dairy farms have several milk sources…Nurse or Surrogate Cows, milk powder, colostrum or waste milk (must not have any antibiotics obviously).
East Staffordshire pasture based dairy farmer Rupert Major this year reared some calves on 600gm/day of milk powder plus some concentrate plus adlib access to fresh healthy pasture.
 At 7 months these had a carcase weight of 130kgs with an approx saleable meat yield of 50%. These were Jersey & Friesian cross calves. The Costs of rearing & butchering need to be carefully analysed so that we still aim for a good profit margin. This maybe difficult as it’s the milk feeding phase that is expensive…hence the use of waste milk, colostrum & using surrogate cows.
Other farmers have very successfully reared 2-3 calves per Surrogate mother using cows that are calving out of the block pattern. These cows do a Stirling job & stay on the farm another year. Both autumn & spring calving herds have been using Surrogate cows as rearers.
The butchering of this meat needs some experienced butchers who are aware of some of the French cuts such as Poire & Onglette.     .
It’s really important that this meat is sold with recipes & guides to a successful & tasty dish. Most British people are not used to this type of meat & will need some help to create great dishes. This is an interesting point as virtually everyone is familiar with cooking lamb which is prepared in a very similar way on farm. Some VEAU dishes can be seared using a very hot pan for a very quick cooking while others will be imaginatively prepared using slow cook techniques & mixing complex flavours of herbs & spices.
At Cowdray Farm Shop you can see that Grassfed Rose Veau can be a bright & exciting display in any retail outlet. What a great advertisement both for the farm & the Farm Shop at Cowdray.
Chef Jeff Thomas, at the Seasoned Cookery School run by Clare Tetley in the picturesque Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, has created a wonderful range of VEAU dishes including an old Staffordshire sausage recipe which he has found.
Sara a finalist in last years Masterchef program in the UK is a great fan of this meat & has created some exciting recipes too.
 Seasoned Cookery School runs excellent stylist one day courses for both beginners & experienced cooks. These courses include learning how to cook “Under Utilised Cuts” that include Grassfed Rose Veau.
Clare has gift vouchers on her website….an ideal present for your husband, wife, brother or girlfriend….book now!

The success of GRASSFED ROSE VEAU will depend on pasture based dairy farmers selling both the product & the new brand name. We need chefs & butchers to use their skills & imagination to create easily prepared dishes that discerning consumers will love to experiment with for their families. Restaurants need to get it onto the menus so customers get excited. 
This is an opportunity for farmers to grow, prepare, cook & feast on their own home grown healthy food.
We need to use every social media opportunity to each market this new brand of healthy meat to as wide an audience as possible. We need to talk this up as it’s a real opportunity for pasture based dairy farmers. 
Get used to the new brand name & use it at every opportunity with our butchers, family & friends.
Let’s get out there & sell GRASSFED ROSE VEAU.

I'm writing this having just finished a delicious "Grassfed Rose Veau" rolled brisket that was slow cooked as a pot so tender!

  Current UK Pasture Measurements
Growth rates dropping with shorter day lengths, soil temps still very good for this time of year.
TheAverage Pasture Cover (kgsDM/ha) & Pasture Growth (kgsDM/ha/day)
North Wales AFC 2013, growth 40, demand 33
Shropshire, 1850, gr 20, de 12, at last some rain, soil temp 11.8
Shropshire, 2150, gr 17, heifers now dry, budget to close 1st Dec 1900
Hereford, 2200, gr 20, de 20, suppl 24, good rain very mild
Gloucestershire, 2394, gr 27, soil temp 13 at midday
SW Wales, 2400, gr 30, de 22, 1st calvers now dry
Somerset org, 2300, gr 25,
Dorset 2160, gr 30 feeding 2kg conc + 4kg silage OAD milking
Dorset 2050, gr 10kgs DM/ha/day
Dorset, 2360, gr 30, started feeding silage
East Sussex, 1900, gr 45, cows in fulltime soil temps 10
Cornwall, soil temp 12.5 at 10am
Cornwall, 2590, gr 45, de 38, getting wet
Devon org 2400, gr 32, cows in by night, 60 day rotation


  1. I think you are doing good thing! Hope that all animals are healthy and meat is qualitative)) good luck!

  2. Healthy animals and quality meat make all the difference in the world!