Blade goes for quality brand

Catering butcher Fairfax Meadow has launched a new brand of beef, which aims for excellence from gate to plate.

Produced in conjunction with Blade Farming South West and Southern Counties Fresh Foods, the Casterbridge beef brand will supply grain-fed beef - endorsed by EBLEX's Quality Standard Mark scheme - to the foodservice industry.

"Our goal was to produce a brand that would become renowned for its consistently excellent quality, and that wasn't going to happen overnight," said Fairfax Meadow managing director Gerry Wensley. "We simply couldn't achieve that without every part of the supply chain agreeing on how we were going to get there.

"With beef, it doesn't matter how long it's aged for or how skilfully it is butchered, it still won't deliver on eating quality if the product isn't right from the start. Quite simply, the passion for quality has to begin with the farmer who has got to love it and care for it from the word go."

Blade Farming is a cattle-rearing and finishing approach, which aims to consistently apply best practices to produce high-quality products profitably and competitively. It is franchised out to farmers for a fee and all the farmers in the Blade system - currently 16 calf rearers and 63 finishers - get a guaranteed price for their produce.

Blade Farming aims to produce cattle between 260kg and 300kg, finished within 12 to 14 months. Hereford, South Devon and Angus cattle are used to achieve the marbling required. "It takes a lot of hard work to get the recipe right, but the strict Blade specifications help to reduce variation. All the farmers in the Blade scheme share the same ethos and that helps ensure consistency," said Blade farmer John Hoskins.