I believe that we are born carnivores and so should consume some meat as part of a healthy diet. However, I do not agree with the quantity of meat we consume in the UK.
If you look at the past Century, meat consumption overall has risen dramatically, and with this, standards for animal welfare have fallen in order to meet demands. Growth promoting hormones and steroids are given to livestock to help speed up the production of beef, and cattle are given unnaturally rich diets to fatten them up.
Meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That’s because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport.
The answer to this, from a health, animal welfare and budget perspective is to focus on quality not quantity. In other words to eat small portions less frequently but source local organic free range produce where possible.
I discovered Pegtop Farm during my research for this blog. It’s in Woodeaton a little village in East Oxford just outside the ring road.
The beef produced here comes from cattle that are mature (24 months) and have grown slowly with an emphasis on animal welfare and a care for the environment. It’s also processed and packaged locally for supply direct to the consumer from the farm.
The unique nature of the Dexter Breed means that the meat produced has exceptional flavour and succulence. It’s so delicious that many of the local restaurants have discovered this little secret.
I dropped in one day in December to investigate and was warmly welcomed and shown around. I was surprised to find that whilst you can buy premium cuts of beef, the stewing steak, steak and kidney mix and mince are as competitively priced as Tesco’s which has come all the way from Ireland. There really seems no comparison.
On Monday I made a huge chilli (recipe to follow), with plenty of beans and vegetables to bulk it out. So far it has provided enough for two family meals, and my husband took it to work one lunch.
If you’d like to find out more about Pegtop Farm and Dexter beef have a read of their website here.