Coming to The Butchery Ltd this week is one of the most majestic and ancient of the British rare-breed cattle, White park. White park have been favoured for their meat for centuries, origin of the “Sir” loin after a King (some say Henry some say James) knighted his meal of White Park loin. And Sir Winston Churchill sending some to Texas in the war to ensure the breed was preserved.
In the late 60’s White Park in the UK had declined to only 60 animals, the Rare Breed Survival Trust, hard working farmers and breeders have brought this back up to approximately 3500 animals, taking the breed off the critical list. Few people have had the chance to eat real White Park beef over the last 100 years as they were so close to being totally wiped out by industrial farming. I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a whole beast from an amazing farmer, John Lean in Devon. John’s farm is truly beautiful, on our visit we drove down a drive so long and steep we worried we wouldn’t make it back out. Catching glimpses of white in the fields we arrived at a setting that made us wish we hadn’t been able to make it back out. The farm sits in a deep valley surrounded with forest protecting the “closed” herd. Steers Winter in the Pine forest, whilst cows and calves Winter in an open barn close to the farm house.
John has been farming White Park for 15 years now and has a totally closed herd with all the animals born on his land coming from his pedigree registered live stock. Each year when the new calves are born they name each and every animal with that years letter of the alphabet, this year all the new borns names start with N (yes I did ask for a Nathan). We will be serving Kestrel, a steer born September 12th 2008, living a happy life grazing with his family before heading a short distance to the slaughterhouse on 4th November 2011 at 37 months of age (twice as long as your commercial supermarket beast)to then be dry aged 29 days ready for you to enjoy.
White Park raised slowly and pasture fed makes a rich and tasty meat with a beautiful light marbling. Having a whole beast, “Kestrel” come into The Butchery Ltd from the Bickleigh herd is a rare treat that I am really looking forward to sharing with you on Saturday.
An Australian butcher Nathan Mills and his partner Ruth Siwinski in London, passionate about real meat from great farmers, butchered with respect and eaten with relish. Remember not all meat is created equal.