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 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.
Our spur-of-the-moment slogan competition on Facebook was a great success last week. The lure of a Highland Wagyu goodie bag of our branded caps and rucksacks generated 94 comments and a lot of laughs. Thanks to everyone who got involved for a bit of fun.
The goodie bags are on their way to the following?winners (listed in alphabetical order):
Jan McCourt - Highland Wagyu, YU deserve it
Phil Shaw - Highland Wagyu - creating a buzz since 2011, once you taste it, you'll think you're in heaven.
Trevor Shortt - For those Culinary Nights, Highland Wagyu delights!!
Sue Watson - och ey the noo, Highland Wagyu.
Look out for future competitions on Facebook and Twitter for some more fab prizes.
It was great to meet Ida and Lars Bjelvin from Norway last week. They raise pigs and Limousin cattle from their family farm and are interested in breeding Wagyu. We were delighted to show them the cattle and estate and enjoyed a good chat with the like-minded couple about our set up and ethos.
Don't they make excellent models for our branded caps? You visit HW, you get branded!
We had a fantastic day at Stirling Show, with our Shorthorns winning?four first prizes, two second and?one third with Quoiggs Extra Special making Shorthorn breed champion?(see below).
Quoiggs Extra Special was first in his class and Quoiggs Freud was second in his class while?Mohmar Genghis Khan was third in his class. Pictured below is Extra Special and Freud in the bull class.
Quoiggs Rhona E530?and her bull calf Mohmar Hercules were first in the Cow and Calf class (see below).
Mohmar Georgina (full sister to Extra Special)?was second in her class and Mohmar Hercules won the calf class (see below).
Quoiggs Extra Special, Quoiggs Rhona E530 and Mohmar Hercules won the pairs in the Shorthorn section before winning?the United Auctions Interbreed Pairs Trophy for the best interbreed pair.
Then Quoiggs Extra Special went on to be reserve overall beef champion of the show.
In the Young Handlers classes, young John won the first class for the best beef calf before winning the best Young Handler for the 8th year in a row. ?John can now give someone else a chance as his birthday on Sunday means he's now too old to compete!
Well done to team HW for all their hard work and dedication.
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
We're delighted to be a 2014 sponsor of the Royal Highland Show 2014 - the Greatest Show on Earth - and look forward to seeing you there!
We're delighted to be supporting the Beef Shorthorn Society by creating this new trophy for the 'most successful herd'?awarded on a points system (see image) across four qualifying shows - the Royal Ulster, Royal Highland, Royal Welsh and the UK Beef Shorthorn Championships at the Great Yorkshire Show.
We've commissioned Perthshire sculptor and artist Lucy Poett,?who produced the life-size Drover Memorial Statue at Dingwall Auction Mart, to create this special trophy of a Shorthorn bull's head, which is modelled on our very own Shorthorn bull, Quoiggs Extra Special.
The bronze is currently being sculpted and the Mohmar Trophy - named for our herd - will be presented to the winner fresh from the casting foundry as a brand new award, along with ?1000 prize money.
The committee of Stirling Agricultural Show is pleased to announce that prize money for the champion beef cattle, pair and champion sheep will be significantly increased at this year?s show, thanks to main sponsorship funding from Highland Wagyu.
The aim of the boosted prize money is to attract even more people to enter the event, which is the last chance for many exhibitors to show their animals ahead of the Royal Highland Show the following week.
Held at Blackgrange Field in Stirling by kind permission of the Snowie family, the annual one-day show takes place this year on Saturday 14th June 2014 and welcomes around 2500 visitors.
Mohsin Altajir, who owns and runs pedigree beef company Highland Wagyu with his wife Martine Chapman in Dunblane, has provided ?2000 sponsorship funding as a main sponsor.
He said: ?We?re in the fortunate position of being able to offer sponsorship funding and are more than happy to support our local agricultural show, which we?re very proud of.?
The new championship prizes will award ?300 to the beef cattle champion of champions and ?150 to the reserve; ?100 for the overall sheep champion and ?50 for the reserve while the champion pair of beef cattle will win ?100 with ?50 going to the reserve.
Stirling Show Chairman John Owen said: ?With Highland Wagyu?s support, we?re able to offer a welcome boost in prize money that we hope will encourage more exhibitors to put forward more cattle and sheep in more classes. The funding will also help with the considerable running costs of such a big event.
?We?re delighted to have Highland Wagyu on board as main sponsors - the more we can do to expand the show, the more we can help secure its long-term future.?
Notes to editor
Picture caption: (l-r) Martine Chapman and Mohsin Altajir of Highland Wagyu present their sponsorship funding to Stirling Show Chairman John Owen and Secretary Maureen McCulloch at Blackford Farms in Dunblane.
Issued on behalf of Stirling Agricultural Show and Highland Wagyu by JK Consultancy. For further information please contact: Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 or email email@example.com
Highland Wagyu is a pedigree beef company, breeding premium Japanese Wagyu, Aberdeen Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Highland and Dexter 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.
We were delighted to take part in the 4th edition of the Budding Chefs exchange programme and welcome twelve young French chefs and four budding waiters to tour our farming operation on Wednesday, March 19th.
The Budding Chefs was initiated in 2011 by the Institut francais d?Ecosse and Fred Berkmiller, chef of the L?Escargot restaurants in Edinburgh (who loves our beef) to develop the gastronomic connections between French and Scottish budding chefs and showcase the best of both larders.
This is the second year we?ve hosted a half-day visit as one of Scotland?s producers and we?re very proud to be involved.
The group was keen to learn about our beef and asked lots of interesting questions on all aspects - from embryos to slaughter. The young stars also tasted our?incredibly tender FullBlood Wagyu Flank with lunch?at the Sheriffmuir Inn (pictured).
It?s so rewarding to see such enthusiasm in these young stars of the future. There?s nothing like speaking to people who share our passion and are genuinely interested in the details of what we do.
The Budding Chefs also put their newly gained knowledge from their week-long tour into practice straight away with The Pop-up Restaurant, which was open for one night only on Saturday 22 March ?at The Hub, Castlehill Edinburgh.
Photos courtesy of Albie Clark www.albieclark.com