Not bound by the usual geographical and political borders, Jack considers the British Isles as one beef entity.
The respective national marketing boards would have you believe that all their 'geese are swans' but the reality is that on these two small islands there is good and bad everywhere.
However, the figures don't lie and most of the cattle numbers are in Ireland.
The Irish being the traditional farmers in the family, the richer Scots, Welsh and English, removed from farming to a certain degree by the uplift of the Industrial revolution, have always relied on Ireland as the main producer in the clan.
This is the 'high seat of beef ', as Jack says and he selects his product from a range of farms, but from generational farmers who have an incredible knowledge passed down over the millennia.
(Please note ... Irish raiding parties were robbing cattle from the Scots and Welsh hundreds of years before Argentina and Australia were even 'discovered' and all the iconic breeds emanating from cross breeding on these Incredible Islands were exported through the Empirical trading routes, when Ireland and Scotland were major players, whether they admit it or not!....St Patrick was allegedly minding his own business one day in the Welsh hills when some ferocious Irish Cheiftain stuck him in the hold with the cattle and brought him 'home')
Fordel, nestled in the hills of Perthshire, is now our main host farm and home to Europe’s largest pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd. Running over 4500 acres of grass and heather hill at 1000 feet above sea level, the calves are reared on their mother’s milk to seven months of age, with some of the oldest cows reaching 24 years of age.
Perthshire and Tipperary are quite similar but the latter has longer grazing periods. Being pitched much further south, Tipperary benefits from mild temperate grazing almost all year round. Relatively a bit like the north and south islands of New Zealand, or Patagonia and Rio del Sur, but less drastic.
Jack first visited the Fordel herd in 2001. A close relationship between breeder and butcher developed. With both showing a passion to develop and produce the most tender and tastiest beef available, Fordel invested hugely in the top Wagyu genetics, after an extensive study of beef production methods in Japan and Australia. The Wagyu cattle produced combine proven genetics for the top marbling grades with a 500-600 day feeding programme to deposit the perfect blend of melt in the mouth marbling and the tenderest beef.
The Wagyu breed is unique in the extreme marbling that it can produce compared to any other cattle breed. It is slow grown in stress free conditions with feeding increased incrementally as the beast nears the gates of heaven.We don't massage and all that nonsense .Its not nesessary if you have space and know how to farm.
An interesting fact is that Wagyu has been genetically improved by our Angus and Hereford since Japan opened its doors to the outside world in the 19th century.
Marbling is the intramuscular fat that encases and encapsulates mouthfuls of beef and being predominantly oleic fatty acid (olive oil is 80% oleic fatty acid), it is a monounsaturated fat (a healthy fat) with a melting temperature as low as just 6 degrees C. The net effect is that the marbling in Wagyu beef creates the most tender soft beef on the planet.
We are currently maturing our first Wagyu carcasses in the London chill. It's down to the farmer's hard work and exacting methods that these cattle hit the very top grade on the Wagyu scale, at the first kill.
It tastes amazing!
When I decide the prime cuts are ready for cutting, they will be forwarded to customers in Germany, England and Belgium, including Germanys top class restaurant chef Tim Raue.
'Ready' can mean several things and is a subjective matter but the facts are, maximum tenderness through hanging is achieved, I believe, after 10 days. After that it's whatever flavor note you prefer.
It's all about the 'nose'!