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.
Autumn has arrived, bringing with it an Indian summer (thank goodness) so at last our cattle can laze in sunny fields. Despite the lack of sun, the summer months have passed in a hazy blur of visits from Australian Wagyu breeders, North East & Central Charolais Club, North Highland Cattle Club and chefs from existing and newly launched restaurants up and down the country.
One particular visit I?ll never forget was the Gordon Ramsay Group and Classic Fine Foods in August, pictured below with me ?conducting? them!
They were a fantastic group who, like us, had a great day out tasting an assortment of Wagyu goodies and seeing the cattle. The wonderful Andre Lima de Luca, who knows everything worth knowing about BBQ, was part of the group and introduced himself as ?the man who plays with fire? ? the best job description I?ve ever heard 🙂
In other exciting news, I?m pleased to announce that I have a new job. I?m now a Saturday girl at the new deli we?re supporting, No16Deli in Bridge of Allan 🙂 No rest for the wicked!
We opened to a roaring trade at the beginning of September and are so grateful to our supporters who dropped in to see all the lovely fresh goodies on offer from local producers, including Highland Wagyu beef. So our private customers are able to buy a little something special from there now. It?s been great to meet our private customers face to face. It?s a fab foodie hangout and I?m looking forward to meeting more and more of you soon.
Rest assured though that we?re still delivering across the UK and have started with our new HW Beef Box of goodies.
Here is (a rather jet lagged) Nick Nairn and Tony Singh who popped in on opening day.
Beef enquiries have been coming in thick and fast from across Europe - from Sweden to Italy and Portugal to Lithuania. It?s just fantastic to speak to people from all over the world who share our love for Wagyu beef.
Speaking of Wagyu love, I?m already taking orders for Christmas and there?s only so much of our Wagyu available so please, please let us know as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. It?s difficult to think about Christmas now I know but last year I was so snowed under that I didn?t even send a Christmas card out! How bad is that! So this year I?m on the ball? needing Christmas orders in early!!
And continuing the theme, we?ve been kept busy over the summer with many new customers who are Wagyu fans. We love working with our customers ? new and ?old? - and wish we could mention each and everyone; I just don?t want to leave anyone out and cause offence!!
The majority of our beef goes to chefs and restaurants in and around London so we?re pleased to see that more and more chefs and restaurants in Scotland are coming to us now, including the Chop House, which opened this month in Leith. And it was great to host owners Mark Fraser and Michael Spink and their front of house team at HW to see our operation and really understand what we do here.
We?ve also been also been working with Bonny Porter of Balls & Company in London for a long time so we were delighted to get a mention in her interview with Casual Dining Magazine.
And we?ve just started working with Paul Eagles who is over the moon with our Wagyu products now available at his luxury food store, Eagles Fine Food. You?ll also see he has Wagyu (meat) balls, lol.
During our much-needed week in Spain, we had the chance to meet up with Scottish and British Chef of the Year Adam Handling and his delightful fianc?e. Adam is a long-term supporter, having been with us from the beginning. We have a good laugh with Adam. I call him my adopted son and he calls me ?Mom? 🙂
The summer has been flat out on the cattle side too. Autumn calving started early August for HW Angus with a delivery of a heifer calf by Netherton Black Magic out of a Rawburn Transformer heifer (photo below).
Our Wagyu embryo calves arrive year-round so we?re always welcoming new little ones, who are incredibly cute. Just look at this one:
In July, we flushed some of our Wagyu females as part of our embryos for export programme, for which we?ve had huge interest from South Africa, so watch this space.
And then there was the hectic show season. HW Shorthorns had a fantastic day at The Great Yorkshire Show with the mighty Quoiggs Freud winning four of the most prestigious (and oldest) trophies in the country.
Freud was named Male and Overall Champion Shorthorn at the UK Beef Shorthorn Championships 2015. Here?s George looking ecstatic with the Brothers Colling Memorial Trophy.
At Perth Show, our 15-month-old Shorthorn HW Hazard made Reserve Male Champ. Meanwhile, we?d like to congratulate James Porter and the Uppermill team who took home the Mohmar Trophy for the second consecutive year for the ?Most Successful Herd? across four qualifying shows.
HW Angus also made a splash on the show circuit. At the Aberdeen Angus National Show in Kelso, HW Frances was Heifer Calf Champion and Reserve Supreme Calf (below) before making Supreme Champion at the National Aberdeen Angus Junior Championships in Birmingham, pictured below.
We also welcomed two new Shorthorn girls to the HW family. Uppermill Rothes Jet, an 18-month-old maiden heifer is by Dunsyre Demetri and out of the Podehole Yeaoman daughter, Uppermill Jasmine. We also bought Uppermill Cillian Jenny, another maiden heifer, who is the first Eionmor Chieftain daughter to be sold in the UK.
Finally, we welcomed a smaller, furrier, indoor addition to the HW family with the arrival of our gorgeous French Bulldog, Yoda. He?s such a blessing and though he?s a lot of hard work he also brings a lot of joy and forces me to stop working at home by sitting on my laptop. He even sleeps by the oven when Mohsin is cooking and barks when the meat is ready. What a great sous chef ? and a perfect match!
I?ll leave you with this picture of Yoda tucking into his first Wagyu bone to remind you that dreams do come true. They might be much harder work than you imagined, but they?re worth it.
In the midst of this ?mini heatwave? - or as we like to call it here in Scotland: Summer ? it?s time to look back on the last three, crazy busy months. So much has happened.
April brought a mix of the odd beautiful day followed by a winter revival a few days later. Unsettling yes, but the weeks flew by and I had a million emails to answer, phone calls about carcasses and butchering, deliveries, orders, DNA registrations, paperwork about exporting genetics and also beef, vets, embryos & semen, stuff to do with British Wagyu Association, talking to chefs and arranging visits. You know, the usual!
May was National Burger month and, boy, did we feel it. The Wagyu burger orders went mad. We were also at the Beef Expo in York representing British Wagyu Association where we met BBC Countryfile?s Adam Henson again. He?s such a nice guy (always happy to do a selfie!) and very interested in featuring our Wagyu for the next series. Exciting times.
We marked another milestone with the birth of our first Wagyu x Dexter, which we fondly call ?Wagster?. What a cutie.
Before we knew it June was upon us and then went in a flash. We had a great few days at the Royal Highland Show (RHS). It was a first for us selling our beef to the public. I even got up on stage to assist Edinburgh Chef Fred Berkmiller, owner of L'escargot.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at the stand. We had an overwhelming response: we sold out of beef in 2.5 days, have had great feedback and shares from customers, which makes all our hard work worth it - and we even got a mention in The Herald.
Since then, I?ve been inundated with 15 email enquiries a day from new private customers interested in our beef. We already look after a lot of private customers so seeds are being sown for a Highland Wagyu Beef Club ? watch this space 🙂
The Highland Show wasn?t just about the beef ? we also won some silver. Netherton Evita who we share with Netherton Angus was Best Cow, Female Champion and Reserve Overall Breed Champion, she was also part of the Champion interbreed team of four.
There was no rest for me after the RHS, as the next day we had the honour of showing 80 people from the American Livestock Judging Team around our operation and HW Angus at Netherton. It was a fantastic day and testament to the Wagyu cattle that they were so interesting to the dairy judges!
Earlier in the month we hosted Chef Director of Restaurant Associates, Jeremy Ford, and four colleagues to HW HQ to check out our Wagyu, who ? to our delight - used our beef at their food and drink extravaganza, the RA Chef Expo, in mid June.? It looks amazing 🙂
We love being busy and it?s always great to show passionate people what we're up to here. We?ve hosted a fun group from Oshibori restaurant in Dundee, a couple of great young enthusiastic students at UCD Dublin, Angus breeders from America, private chef and owner of Highland Curing Co, Mark Heirs, who started as a customer and is now a friend who we are working with on a new project, as well as 2014 Master Chef winner Jamie Scott and his wife (pictured below).
Wagyu is getting a lot of interest with lots of new chefs coming on board. Gastropubs are trying our beef on menus across the UK and high-end London butchers are promoting it too.
I also want to take a moment to thank the chefs and restaurants who have supported us from day one ?Tom Kitchin, JW Steakhouse at The Grosvenor House, Adam Handling at Caxton and Fred Berkmiller of L'escargot.?We truly appreciate your support.
There are so many other customers that give us amazing support ? without you we couldn't have come this far.?Our beef is being served from one end of the country to the other. From Brighton to Inverness and from private homes to 3* Michelin restaurants. We are truly blessed to have an amazing team, fantastic cattle and most of all you - our customers. We couldn't do it without your faith in us and what we represent. Thank you ALL!!
Our customers love that our beef is bred in the UK. When they buy from us, they do it safe in the knowledge that our Wagyu is direct from source - ?it is what it says on the tin? ? and we?re incredibly proud of our transparency.
With all this extra interest, it?s great to have Craig on board helping with our sales and marketing of our F1 crosses, otherwise known as ?Wangus?. He?s been on the ground, doing the legwork for us in London.
Highland Wagyu also has a new General Manager, Nigel Murray, who started earlier this year to help take the load off me so I can focus on the beef. He?s already turned things around.
Last weekend saw the arrival of eight embryo calves with another 20 due in the next few days. So much of the interest is in our genetics with demand for embryos and semen from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Argentina, Germany, France and of course the UK with a shipment of Wagyu semen heading to Ireland to store where there are always lots of enquiries. We?re working hard to keep up with demand for our beef with continuous flushing.
It seems we?ve also caught the eye of an Australian writer with this mention in The Age (above).?We?re thrilled to be recognised in the very place where our Wagyu journey began three years ago with the first taste of this mind-blowing beef. We?d love to know who wrote the article if anyone could help.
Finally, you might have seen my recent post on Facebook that we?re developing our Wagyu charcuterie to add to our salt beef. We hope to have salami and bresaola products ready soon, so stay tuned.
Until next time, enjoy the summer and happy eating!
Spring has apparently sprung (we had snow yesterday - happy Springtime!) and with the clocks going forward one hour on Sunday, time is on my mind. There?s never enough of the stuff.
I?m well known for my Manic Mondays, but now they?re spilling over to Tuesdays while Frantic Fridays are starting on Thursdays. ?My head is spinning and I'm not sure where the days go.
In the past three months, we?ve had a beef photo shoot, meetings, visitors, beef orders coming in and deliveries going out. Our annual herd test, embryo calves being born, department in checking every single ear tag, more Wagyu steers away, hundreds of emails more and more phone calls from people wanting to taste Wagyu, breed Wagyu or just talk Wagyu.
It's going to be one of those years I think...well I said 2015 was going to be exciting!
January?s weather turned our place into the set of Disney?s ?Frozen? ? and we ended up flushing Wagyu females for export in the snow! But we ?let it go? with lots of ?warm hugs? just like Olaf 🙂
We kicked off 2015 early with a 24-hour visit from some guys up from London to see our operation. Let's just say they were speechless when they left us...I'm taking that as a good sign but it could've been we fed them too much?
From January to March, in addition to the London guys, we?ve hosted visitors from France, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong as well as vet students from Glasgow (pictured below).
Not to mention our fab customer and one of our ambassadors?Fred Berkmiller, chef patron of L?escargot restaurants, who brought the Food and Drink blog from 5pm.co.uk to us for a supplier focus article.?It's?always good to have a visit from Fred as he loves being with the cattle and has such passion.
It?s also good to finally have some enquiries from a couple of Scottish butchers. Last week's visitor loved?everything we?re doing and is very excited about the future - as are we!
Our ?Wangus? beef (F1 Wagyu, which is our Wagyu x Aberdeen Angus)?is going down a storm locally with Sherrifmuir Inn and Jam Jar at Bridge of Allan moving more than 200 Wangus burgers a week.
They describe our Wangus as the ?Rolls Royce of steak?.?This Wangus Feather Blade (or as it?s also known for the trendies The Flat Iron Steak) is amazing (I can say that, right?). I'm addicted to this cut! It's so incredible now I know why its one of the first cuts to go.
Here?s photographer Marc Millar in our kitchen at the beef photo shoot followed by the finished shot.
Feedback is so important and means so much to us. We?re always thrilled to hear what our customers think especially after the big calendar events.
Remember Valentine?s Day? The run-up was mental, with orders coming in fast & furious beef heading out all over the country.
One private customer, who we?ll call ?Mr Orgasmic?! :), had the rib roast and ended up fighting his son for the bone: ?loved it, loved it, loved?. Another customer down south made a ?goofy? kind of comment: he now wears elasticated trousers (or as I keep saying: electric pants, lol) due to the amount of Wagyu beef he?s been ordering! Haha, we love the feedback, please keep it coming.
We?re happy to report that we now supply our Wagyu beef to a constellation of 50 Michelin stars - chefs and restaurants combined. That?s an incredible milestone for us, especially in such a short space of time and we thank everyone for your support.
One chef we were thrilled to finally meet was Adam Handling. He?s a great supporter of ours and won Scottish Chef of the Year at the beginning of March using our Fullblood Wagyu as his main dish at Scot-Hot. That?s in addition to already being British Chef of the Year. We couldn?t be happier for him and his team to finally meet our amazing cattle and get some Wagyu kisses!!
For the 150th anniversary of the Bull Sales in February, Mohsin somehow always managed to be in the right place at the right time to meet some VIP guests who you might recognise: HRH The Princess Royal, BBC Countryfile?s Adam Henson (who was very interested in the Wagyu) and Ruth Davidson MSP. Amazing timing - I guess I was working! 🙂
In addition to meeting 'celebrities', we sold Mohmar Hercules (pictured first) and Mohmar Genghis Khan?
?and, of course left with some new additions to the HW shorthorn herd: a new stock bull Glenisla Ghillie and four Chapelton heifers (pictured below).
Right now it?s calving time, a major part of the pedigree herds and in the next few months, we?re expecting the arrival of some 200-300 calves. The Wagyus calve all year so I?ll leave you with a cute picture of babies in the sun (remember that?) to get you into the spirit of Spring, new life and the feeling that anything is possible.
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.
They say variety is the spice of life. If that?s the case, it?s been a very hot and spicy three months at Highland Wagyu.
Autumn?s definitely arrived. I love how the scenery changes colour and welcoming the little ones in the autumn calving, but I already miss the long summer days and warm evenings.
As the summer drew to a close, we had a last BBQ and chill out as a big thank you to everyone at team HW. Wonderful weather, beautiful Perthshire setting and, of course, our fabulous fullblood Wagyu steaks all round. It was great to be social and just relax with everyone who puts up with us!
Meanwhile the show season closed with Quoiggs Freud making Reserve Male Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show so we have a few more rosettes on the table:
We had great fun ? and an overwhelming response ? with our first ever Highland Wagyu goodie-bag Facebook competition. The next one is coming very soon ? on Twitter this time ? so keep your eyes peeled.
On my favourite subject of genetics, it was great to use our shiny, new lab in August and September. In preparation for further embryo programmes, we?ve added our semen and embryo offering to the website. And we?re planning to do our own AI work on the farm too. We?ve also had many enquiries from people interested in breeding Wagyu from home and abroad.
On the beef front, orders of our delicious Fullblood Wagyu were heading out all over the country last month with our newly-available Wangus beef (Wagyu X Angus, below) generating a lot of interest too, including Grosvenor House and Adam Handling?s new restaurant, Adam Handling at Caxton. It?s also great to see lots more enquiries from new, private customers too.
And we were proud to supply the Ryder Cup caterers with our Fullblood beef.
Finally, in more ?business? news, we?re delighted that Highland Wagyu has been accepted onto Wikipedia, putting Scotland on the map for the breed. In line with this, we?re pleased to be part of highlighting British Wagyu as one of the directors of British Wagyu Association, which will launch officially in November.
Team HW has been busy moving cattle around and preparing everything for the winter months ahead. With so many exciting projects on the go (watch this space for the work we?re doing on our Wagyu hides), the next few months will fly by. Christmas orders are coming in fast and furious so get in touch soon to avoid disappointment!
In the meantime, enjoy the autumn months, wrap up warm and follow your passion. We are!
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.
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.