Take a celebrity cook, an enthusiastic butcher, around 30 hungry farmers and a dash of marketing magic.
This was the recipe cooked up by the North Yorkshire-based communications company Erskine Corporation LLP, to lBitaunch the Limestone County Beef marketing project on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
An advocate of traditional British fayre TV cook, writer and broadcaster Sophie Grigson, led the catering team at the Golden Lion, Settle, to create and serve a hearty beef meal and prove to farmers why Yorkshire Dales beef is best.
The mouth-watering exercise was not only to let farmers taste for themselves home-reared traditional Dales beef, but demonstrate how farming traditional breeds could be both highly-profitable for the farmer and butcher alike, and conserve the unique flora and fauna of the Dales environment, a main concern to the YDNPA.
"The evening was all about putting words into practice. As the first herds of traditional breeds are re-introduced to the Limestone pavements of the Dales, the demand for high-quality food continues to increase. We want to demonstrate to local farmers and producers involved in the Limestone County Project the many exciting options available to them to market their traditional beef to the nation’s restaurants and retailers," says Angela Campbell of Erskine, adding that through successful marketing, they can create an increase in demand for this superior Dales product.
"This demand will not only meet the environmental and economic aims of the project and ensure its success in the future, but will also increase profits for farmers and producers as well as tell the nation what we’ve always known -that Yorkshire Dales beef is best!"
"There is a growing demand for high quality traditional meat. More members of the public are becoming aware, discerning and keen to know about where produce comes from," says Sophie, who used beef shorthorn steer to create good old fashioned potted beef with Dale's autumnal fruit and root chutney and beef & carrot stew with Riggwelter Ale and pickled walnuts.
"What is most important is that the meat should be well hung, I would always say for at least 21 days," claims Sophie, adding that the short horn she used was reared by Gerald Turton, of Thirsk, slaughtered by Macintyre Meats of Bainbridge and butchered and hung for 28 days by Roy Scott of Garstang.
"I have never tasted beef as flavoursome and tender and I was impressed with Sophie's unpretentious menu using just everyday cuts of meat," said one farmer guest.
"The Limestone County Project provides local farmers and producers with the opportunity to explore different ways of farming and re-introduce some of the traditional beef herds to the limestone pavements of the Yorkshire Dales," says Louise Williams the YDNPA Limestone County Project officer.
"The impact of traditional breeds on the rare flowers and grasses found on the uplands of the Dales is far less than that of the more familiar continental breeds we have seen an increase of in recent years. So, not only can we expect local farmers and producers to profit, but also the unique environment of our Dales National Park," she adds.
The five-year £1.27 million project to encourage a return to sustainable mixed livestock farming on the internationally important limestone country of the YDNP, is being funded by the European LIFE Fund grant, the YDNPA, English Nature, and the National Trust. The project’s partners are the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Grazing Animals Project and the National Beef Association.
The project’s marketing initiative has been funded by the single regeneration budget (round six) programme administered by Erskine Corporation LLP. Additional funding was provided by the YDNPA, Yorkshire Forward, North Yorkshire County Council and the Sustainable Development fund administered by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.