Well where has the year gone? 2017 is knocking on our door and I didn?t feel 2016 pass!!
It?s been another crazy year for us at HW with the opening of our new, dedicated store, Wagyu House. We were blessed with some amazing support for the opening, which was incredible. Since we opened our doors in August it?s been truly incredible. Of course I?m still based at the farm but I have my Saturday job at Wagyu House and I pop in most days to check on what?s going on and I enjoy meeting and talking Wagyu to all our customers.
With another crazy year nearly behind us, Mohsin and I are looking forward to a well-earned break in January. Mohsin is working on some exciting projects for the New Year so we?ll need some R&R before the excitement begins. Of course, we?ll keep you posted on social media.
We had another great few days at The Royal Highland Show with our Wagyu stand in June. After selling out in two days last year we increased our stock this year?and sold out in three days! It seems our love for Wagyu is spreading. So we will plan better for the Show next year. My nephew Maison came to help for the four days at the Highland and has stayed to work alongside us at HW, which of course has pleased me! It?s great to have him with us and since Wagyu House opened he has grown in confidence and is now looking after all of our private customers.
It?s been an amazing year with many new restaurants and some incredible chefs placing our beef on their menus. We?ve had so much support from many of our customers since the start of our journey that we cannot thank them enough. You know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for always being there for us. Without you, we wouldn?t be here.
A big thank you also goes to our friend and top-chef customer Adam Handling who used our Wagyu beef on Masterchef this year, which gave us a massive boost. We?re hoping to add a clip to the website soon.
In more good news, I have found a ?mini me? at last. Michelle came on board a few months ago, which has been a massive help for us all. She has been in the beef industry for many years, her enthusiasm is infectious and I believe our customers are going to enjoy her positive and fun-loving character as much as we do. Along with my husband and I, Craig runs around the country shouting about HW. Craig is a long-term friend and his passion for Wagyu is incredible. We tease him most days but he would think something was wrong if we didn?t. I must also mention everyone in the office as well as Nigel who tries to keep everyone in check.
On the cattle side things life is always busy. Every day brings us a challenge and we are all constantly learning that ?every day?s a school day?. I?m told where there?s livestock there?s ?dead stock? and this is something I haven?t been able to grasp well?maybe it?s because I am still so new to the world of cattle? That being said we have had many beautiful new additions to the HW herds. Our Wagyu herd is growing daily and the Wagyu breed itself is growing in popularity worldwide. We have many people calling because they want to learn more about the breed in general, which is a positive sign. For us they are wonderful, but for many they don?t really see them visually as ?beef cattle?. However, once they have seen our steers and of course the end product, this gives them encouragement.
We cross our Wagyu with our other breeds of cattle to see what the Wagyu are doing to our traditional carcasses and each one so far has blown us away. I?m sure many have heard our weird and wonderful names for the different Wagyu crosses. Wangus, Waghorn, Waglander are the three so far and we have another new Wagyu cross coming soon but I?m still working on the name for that!
Our HW Angus herd has gone from strength to strength with William and Karen at the helm. In the past year we have exported live cattle and embryos to 12 different countries from both our Red and Black Angus. With many bulls being sold within the UK, we would like to thank our new and returning customers for all the support you have given us. Next year is looking very exciting, with the World Angus Forum coming to visit. We also have a nice group of bulls for the famous Stirling Bull Sales in February.
HW Shorthorns have stepped up a mark and, since George?s main focus is now on the Shorthorns, they?re coming into their own. Our homebred bull and national champion Freud is now in stud, with many orders for his semen coming in before he even arrived! Hazard was sold to Genus and has also been popular across the globe. So, things are looking up on the Shorthorn front and I look forward to sharing more new about them soon.
We also have a new member on the Wagyu team. Lorna has returned from many years in NZ to join the Wagyu team and we?re very happy to have her on board. She joins Colin, Maureen, Grant and Radik who all look after the Wagyu side of things, making five Wagyu musketeers! And I better not forget a very important member of the Wagyu team - Diaz is HW security the most incredible Rottie I?ve ever met. Along with HW Yoda (our French Bulldog) they are Wagyu quality control 😉 HW Yoda is in full force and brings us such joy at home and on the farm. He is totally in love with the cattle, but sometimes gets a little freaked out when he appears from a bale of hay and finds large Wagyu tongues waiting to kiss him! I?m not sure what he thinks these large beasts are and I?m sure they wonder who or what he is, but they all seem to find each other totally spellbinding.
Finally, I know I?ve said this before, but I cannot say it enough: my husband and I are here not only because of our determination, but also because of the hard work of the whole team. Without everyone?s hard work and passion we wouldn?t be here today. As in life, there are good and bad days, but together we can do many great things. So, to our HW family we would like to thank you for everything you have done. We look forward to walking into the future with you, whatever it may hold.
Though the weather outside has been frightful, at Highland Wagyu, the last three months have been delightful with so much going on and lots of tasty projects in progress for 2015.
It?s been a whirlwind of a year and it was topped by completely selling out of all our beef early in December for the festive period to chefs, hotels and private customers, which was incredible and we now have a lengthy waiting list for the new year!
Our beef stays in the UK with consumers and chefs wanting 'British' beef and maybe this is why we are being contacted from around the globe, including Hong Kong, the Maldives and Dubai.
We?re delighted to now supply to Martin and Paul of traditional high class butchers Hook & Cleaver who are based in London (pictured below) and Northfield Farm who sell at the trendy Borough market in London as well as more amazing chefs and restaurants to add to some of the UK?s finest.
There?s been particular interest in our F1 Wagyu crossed with pedigree Aberdeen Angus ? or as we fondly call it, ?Wangus?, and we love it when customers let us know they?re happy with their deliveries on Facebook and Twitter. Feedback is so important!
In fact, our Wangus sausages caused quite a stir, selling to a place in Aberdeen who offered them to the builders working on a big project across the road. He sold out by 9.30am the first morning and is set to try the Wangus burgers for phase 2!!
With the beef all sold 23 days before Christmas, I was able to have some much-needed time to do my favourite and all-important genetics planning for next year.
This month we?ve just completed another embryo programme, flushing Wagyu, Shorthorn and Angus and implanting 60+ embryos. Here?s Highland Wagyu Apache in the crush. She?s used to it now!
From the successful flush, HW Angus now have embryos available for sale from Netherton Fleur L628 by our exciting new stock bull Rawburn Boss M554 (below), so see the HW Angus Facebook page if you?re interested.
We recently sampled our delicious FullBlood Wagyu Salt Beef (which isn?t for sale yet but watch this space) with the ?Roux clan? and Andrew Fairlie who were visiting the estate and, let?s just say, there weren?t many slices left! Mmmm.
We?ve had numerous visits from people interested not only in our beef but also our cattle and everything we're doing here at HW. We recently welcomed an executive chef of a luxury 5* hotel in central London for a weekend on the farm. Being a customer of ours, we were delighted to show him the whole operation and spend quality time with him and his wife. We find it important that our customers get the time to see the cattle and what we're about.
On the pedigree side, October saw the inaugural presentation of the Mohmar Trophy at the Stirling Bull Sales, awarded to James Porter of Uppermill ? congratulations!
Our Shorthorn Mohmar Heathermaid Irania, by prizewinning stock bull Quoiggs Extra Special and dam Quoiggs Irania, was crowned Supreme Shorthorn Champion at the Agri Expo in Carlisle.
While in November Netherton Evita N734 won the Female Overall Yearling Champion at the AA Winter National.
In more Angus news, we?ve made another big step towards breeding the ultimate in AA, with Phase 1 of a new Angus station at Tarneybackle moving forward.
Other exciting news in the past three months includes the new addition to the HW Angus herd of Rawburn Ella, a Double OSeven daughter in calf to Rawburn Boss and the launch of the Wagyu Beef Association down south, which saw a great turnout and good press coverage. This is the first new breed society to be launched in 25 years and we?re happy to be part of it.
It?s a reflective time of year and I my highlight has been that I have survived another year! Well it's true - we walked in here knowing nothing about farming or cattle. We wanted to be hobby farmers to breed beef for our own table because we were fed up with searching for great quality beef! Remember we were consumers so maybe this is why we only want to produce the best.
There's a saying that I have changed to suit me... When the going gets tough... The tough keep going!
The feedback that we get from everyone about our beef has to be a highlight! After all the hard work that goes into it 'from conception to, err, consumption? 🙂 ?So when the finest chefs tell us that our beef is incredible, well those few words make it all worth it. That's what it's about! We feel proud.
I have to say the cattle are the stars; such amazing animals to be around they leave me breathless some days with their individual personalities. I am totally smitten!
And of course the team at HW, without ALL of them this wouldn't work. It really is a 'team' effort! And of course my wonderful husband that puts up with me working all hours, my rants when it's been a difficult day and for cooking me the most fabulous meals every weekend.
And not forgetting my customers some who have supported us from day one! I want to thank you all for the support you have given us and for producing the most amazing plates of food using our beef. Thank you for believing in our cattle and us.
We?re really looking forward to a well-deserved break over the festive period, spending time with family and friends and eating good food while we recharge our batteries for many more exciting things happening in 2015.
So, from our family to yours, have a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year.
THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!
Thank you for all your entries. The winners are being notified.
For all you creative carnivores, fantastic foodies and burger lovers, this Twitter contest is just for you!
We?re looking for the best slogan about Highland Wagyu to be in with a chance of winning SIX of our amazing Wangus ?beef burgers.
That?s 1 kilo of beautiful Wagyu crossed with Aberdeen-Angus?beef.
So what are you waiting for? Tweet us your best slogan now!
You have until:?midnight on Friday 31st?October 2014.
Here?s the deets:
1. Follow us on twitter @chapmanmartine
2. Reply to @chapmanmartine on twitter with your slogan suggestion, which MUST include the hashtag #HighlandWagyu
3. You can send multiple suggestions but multiple entries of the same suggestion won?t be accepted. Please don?t spam us.
4. Once the contest is closed, we?ll announce the best THREE on twitter and DM each individual to arrange delivery of our delicious burgers.
Photo credit: Martine Chapman - The Scran and Scallie's Wagyu burgers. Yum.
The HW Angus herd has been augmented with the purchase of ten new heifers this month.
Earlier in August, we bought nine Jerusalem heifers at Penrith from Linda and Bryan Ronan of Jerusalem Farm, Colby near Appleby, bringing the total of our Jerusalems to 35. It?s great to see them settling in nicely - who wouldn?t with this view? (Top picture).
Then, on Saturday, August 16th, we attended the Wedderlie Open Day in Berwickshire along with 800 others for the Tilson family?s centenary celebrations of the herd.
It was a full day with 800 visitors enjoying practical demonstrations, a stockjudging competition and sheepdog demonstrations.
We were delighted to take part in the charity auction for one of a pair of pedigree Angus heifers on display, placing the winning bid of 3000 guineas for Wedderlie Blackbirdy N882. This August 2013-born daughter is sired from Nightingale El Paso J489 and her dam comes from the renowned Blackbird line and the great bull TC Stockman.
The day raised around ?4000 for the RSABI and Macmillan and we wish many congratulations and continued success to John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda Hobbs for the future.
It was a good morning with a group of Icelandic farmers visiting Scotland who came to see our Wagyu then headed up to Netherton for the Aberdeen Angus.
Our Wagyu steers are always keen for some attention, just look how friendly they are...
...And out in the field, our Fullblood Wagyu females are trying to figure out what all the photos and note-taking is about.
The past three months have been all about new life, cute calves and quality breeding.
We?ve welcomed 200 calves from our Angus, Shorthorn, Highland and Wagyu breeds, collected semen from four bulls and had a very successful flush.
And we?ve had great interest from South America in particular for our Wagyu semen and requests for semen from our champion Beef Shorthorn bull Quoiggs Extra Special while Quoiggs Freud has generated his own little flurry of enquiries with his success on the show circuit (see below).
Recent press interest in the Wagyu breed has brought Highland Wagyu to the attention of UK chefs who are surprised and delighted it?s being bred ?on their doorstep? especially with the demand from customers to source quality meat closer to home.
We?ve also been contacted by a number of private customers looking at our Wagyu beef for a treat or a special occasion. In fact, we now have a waiting list!
April and May saw the majority of our new arrivals, including 50 calves in 10 days ? that was a busy week! And it?s been so exciting to see the arrival of more of our F1s (50% Wagyu) and we also saw our first F2s (3/4 Wagyu).
Here are some images of the little ones:
In an exciting first for us, we had three of our fullblood?Wagyu boys at stud?in May with their semen collected for our use and for sale in the EU. We?re also planning on collecting semen for international sale in the future so stay tuned.
Here are our stud muffins...
We also took semen from one of our Aberdeen Angus bulls, Idvies Proud Painter K460, and our Wagyu bull, Odyssey, for sale in the UK only. To round everything off at the end of May, we flushed for embryos in six of our Fullblood Wagyu girls and implanted 25 into Angus, Shorthorn and Highland surrogates and froze the excess haul.
The month of May also saw Mohsin become Vice President for Stirling on the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland board and we were proud to be one of the main sponsors of the Royal Highland Show ? the ?Greatest Show on Earth?.
This year?s show season over the summer has been fantastic ? as has the weather. It?s hard to believe we?re in Scotland with all this sun!
The HW Shorthorn team has been incredibly busy in May and June. Our star line-up of our champion shorthorn bull Quoiggs Extra Special, young bull Quoiggs Freud, Mohmar Georgina, Quoiggs Rhona E530 and her bull calf Mohmar Hercules, heifer Mohmar Gracious Broadhooks and yearling bull Mohmar Genghis Khan brought home the rosettes and trophies from Ayr Show, Fife Show, Stirling Show (for which we were also main sponsors), and the Royal Highland Show.
It?s not all about Wagyus and Shorthorns. In June we made a big announcement for the Aberdeen Angus breed with our exciting partnership with W & D McLaren of Netherton Angus, our neighbours and good friends.
In the last six weeks I?ve been going through the genetics, matchmaking the Wagyu girls with the bulls. I love genetics; I could talk about it all day. To get the Wagyus officially registered, DNA has to go to Ireland before heading to The Australian Wagyu Association. It?s a time-consuming process but absolutely fascinating. I just wish I could spend more time doing it.
As we say on the website, raising Wagyu is considered an art and in order to be successful, it?s 70% genetics and 30% diet. We also like to add in a huge dollop of passion and respect.
Highland Wagyu has announced a groundbreaking partnership with internationally renowned Aberdeen Angus breeders W & D McLaren Ltd of Netherton Angus that will create a game-changing Angus superherd.
In the next five years, beef breeding company Highland Wagyu is set to invest millions into a new Angus superherd, aiming for 1000 head of cattle, in their quest to be at the top of the Angus beef industry and the pedigree-breeding world.
The innovative move includes the private purchase of a majority of the Netherton herd and to run it from both Netherton Farm and Blackford Farms under the guidance of W & D McLaren with William McLaren Jr taking charge of the day-to-day running of Highland Wagyu?s Angus herd, which runs under the Mohmar prefix.
William is the fourth generation of the McLaren Angus breeding family, which this year celebrates 90 years of dedicated Angus breeding. The breeders have sold Angus genetics to every continent in the last two years alone.
Mohsin Altajir who runs Highland Wagyu with his wife Martine Chapman, said: ?We don?t believe in doing anything half heartedly. We bring in the professionals and make sure we?re the best. It?s worked for our Wagyu cattle. We did what we set out to be, we are the largest in the UK and the Wagyu are so popular that top chefs are lining up to put their names on our Wagyu cattle.
?We?ve always recognised the importance of the Aberdeen Angus breed and after long and careful deliberation, we thought the best way forward is to align ourselves with the best and we found that in W & D McLaren and Netherton Angus.
?We already have some of the best Angus foundation females in our 300-strong herd and, with the international know-how of William, the resources and scale of the Highland Wagyu operation, we can build up an elite herd with genetics to cater to the markets and revive the story of Scotland being home to the best beef in the world.
?The dream is to line both sides of the A9 with black cattle from Dunblane to Gleneagles and make Scotland a destination for any Angus buyer in the world.?
George McCulloch will continue to be herd manager for Highland Wagyu?s other breeds, which include 300 head of Fullblood Wagyu, 200 Shorthorns and a fold of Highlanders to convey the Scottish brand.
Mr McLaren Jr will retain a number of females and recipients, running the Netherton and Mohmar herds together.
William McLaren Jr of Netherton Farms said: ?Our family has always embraced innovation, being the first to weigh cattle in 1958 and one of the first to sell the entire adult part of our herd and this is another first with Highland Wagyu. The partnership benefits the Angus breed and the industry to build scale and diversity to breed lines for higher marbling, easy calving and fleshing and to provide both the beef and pedigree breeding that the world needs. It?s breaking new ground to unite the expertise of Netherton and Highland Wagyu in order to produce the best beef in the country.?
Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Highland Wagyu. For further information and photographs, please contact Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / email@example.com
Notes to Editor
Highland Wagyu is a pedigree beef company, breeding premium Japanese Wagyu, Aberdeen Angus and Beef Shorthorn cattle with a mission to produce the best beef in the world from our 25,000-acre estate farm in Perthshire, Scotland. Established by husband and wife Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman in 2011, our ethos of quality, respect and precision underpins everything we do. Highland Wagyu sells directly to chefs. It is the largest producer of Wagyu cattle in the UK and on course to be the biggest in Europe.
I?ve wanted to write a blog for a while, because I think our story is an interesting one ? at least that?s what I?m told when I tell people why we swapped Dubai for Dunblane.
So here we are halfway through April. Where have the first three months of the year gone? We?ve been hectic with our new calves, our website launch, mad dashes to London to see new customers and lots of love for our beef, which is what it?s all about.
What a week we had in February! A herd test at the same time as animal health wanting to do a spot check on animal passports while I was dying in my bed with the flu.
The weather was awful ? snow and severe gales ? I?m so pleased I came here from sunny Dubai. But, hey I've got beautiful cows now.
I do have my favourite animals, I can?t help it and I love my cuddles at Wagyu Central. If my brush is missing I give them a good scratch with my hands, which turn black - something that would've freaked me out a few years ago!
Some parts of cattle breeding are heartbreaking. One of our new Highlanders bought at Oban gave birth early ? to stillborn twins. My heart went out to the poor girl, and she spent the next day ?looking for them. And then we had a sick Wagyu Angus cross calf, which we lost.
The flip side is that the following month we arrived at the farm to find one of our Highlanders with a calf snuggled next to her. We named him Earrach, which is Gaelic for Spring. Trying to get an ear tag and necessary checks done proved a challenge. His mum wanted to stick her spectacular horns into anyone who came close. Hahaha!
So much going on in March - orders going out, picking up burger samples, another day of herd testing, car disaster, broken tractor returns, happy customers and new ones too.
We?ve hosted loads of visits including the guys doing the catering for the Ryder Cup and the Budding Chefs.
Adam Handling, Head Chef at Caxton Grill ? and newly crowned BCF Chef 2014 - ran an exclusive?Wagyu Month, which sold out in 10 days. (picture below courtesy of Adam Handling and Caxton Grill). He said it was the best he?d ever tasted and had tremendous feedback so was straight on to buy another carcase! Woop!
And we?re chuffed to bits our Wagyu burgers are going down a storm at Edinburgh gastro pub Scran and Scallie.
The final few days in March were spent organising wagyu deliveries to London and Edinburgh. My last Wagyu steer for a couple of months was sold before he's even been slaughtered. Poor soul, I went and gave him a stroke and, of course, a hug. The Wags are the most amazing characters.
I'm pleased that whoever receives our beef knows that we love them from birth and enjoy the end result. Although that may sound a little crazy, it's not! It's definitely what we?re about.
The "King of Angus", ?John Elliot of Rawburn Angus, spent a day with us at Highland Wagyu looking at all our cattle, although we believe he was really here to check on?Double-O-Seven!
Pictured are George McCulloch, Mohsin Altajir, John Elliot and Martine Chapman.
Two Aberdeen Angus breeders and the only pedigree Shorthorn breeder in Austria, Peter Schuhmacher (second from right) of Freehill Shorthorns, visited Highland Wagyu this week. And they got their Wagyu on - ?literally with our branded hats!
We spent the day touring the entire Blackford estate, looking at all our breeds of cattle while Oliver Behringer of Behringer Carinthia Aberdeen Angus (pictured second from left) translated with Peter's nephew.
We'd been on their radar for a while due to recent purchases we?ve made of both Angus and Shorthorn cattle. While they had seen Wagyu in Europe before, once they?d seen our Wags, which seemed ?different?, their opinion completely changed.
And the group seemed overwhelmed by the weaned heifers - a mix of all our young females from all our breeds - they saw at the end of the tour.
Oliver said it was he best visit he'd ever had and all four agreed it was fascinating. For us, it was a pleasure hosting people with such a keen interest in what we do.