Spring has sprung here on our farm. And whilst the British weather may not have quite caught up yet, the change in season is by far the biggest for us as farmers.
Not only are the days longer and lighter, and the weather warmer and drier. But it’s of course a time for new beginnings with new animals being born and signs of growth all around.
But what else goes on for us at this important time of year?
As winter comes to an end our beef cattle and sheep are happily back in the fields without the need to shelter from the cold winds and rain.
We have around 250 acres of lush, green pastures across our three farms here in the Usk Valley, so there’s plenty of space for the animals to roam freely.
We use a process called rotational grazing which simply means moving animals around to different pastures as they graze.
The animals enjoy a lovely field full of lush, green grass to eat. And once they’ve taken it back to roots and rubble they’re moved to another field. And so on.
Fields are then able to rest, which is important, especially after getting wet and churned up over the winter. Rested fields will then start to grow wonderful fresh new grass again.
Grazing in this way from spring through until the beginning of winter means a constant supply of grass for the animals. Giving fields time to recover means strong, green growth across the pastures.
And fresh grass means better tasting meat.
Lambing season is now well under way. And we let the process happen as naturally and with as little involvement from us as possible.
Welsh lamb is as much a part of springtime as daffodils and Easter lunch.
But have you ever wondered why despite being able to buy lamb all year round, it’s still one of the few meats that’s eaten seasonally?
Well, there’s a very good reason that spring Welsh lamb is the best tasting lamb you’ll find.
And it’s all to do with grass. Spring grass makes our lamb tastier and more tender. Those first new shoots of young grass are full of goodness that makes our lamb taste sweeter and more succulent.
On top of that, grass-fed lamb is nutritionally good for us humans too. Recent reports have shown it to have higher levels of the essential amino acids that are vital for muscle repair and our immune systems. And these nutrients can only come from food sources such as lamb.
Time for a change
The change in season means a change for our butchers too as we see a shift in what we’re selling.
From slow-cooked lamb shanks to griddled lamb cutlets, ready to be enjoyed with the first of the season’s new potatoes and spring greens…
From braising steak stews to tasty fillet steak, perfect for a midweek stir fry packed with flavour…
And from roasted topside to juicy steak burgers straight off the BBQ, enjoyed with (just a few!) friends in the garden.
Spring offers a natural opportunity to make changes and to enjoy seasonal produce at its best.
We’ve got a busy few months ahead as the farming calendar gets well underway. But we’re looking forward to seeing more of our customers back out and about, and to enjoying brighter days as restrictions start to ease.
It’s National Beef Week from the 23rd April so keep an eye out as we’ll be sharing some of our favourite recipes for our exceptional Welsh beef.