John’s taste test gamble to highlight the quality of the meat produced on his farm

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MEAT wholesaler John Penny, who runs a farm and an abattoir at Rawdon, Leeds, will gamble on his confidence in his own produce at the Countryside Live show in Harrogate this weekend.

He will invite visitors to taste test cold cuts from two big joints of beef, cooked alongside each other – one from an animal intensively fed indoors and one from a largely pasture-fed herd on his own farm.

He says the meat he distributes to butchers is different to the “mass-produced” – by which he means most supermarket cuts, although he does not say so specifically – for a variety of reasons, including a more natural diet, a low-stress slaughter operation and longer hanging.

Mr Penny said: “Our presence at the show is to raise awareness of our campaign Quest For Best: The Meat Crusade, which aims to get the public to think about the meat they buy and where they buy it.

“Consumers are presented with an ever-increasing amount of meat that is pre-packed and sold for convenience and not necessarily for taste. What the public might not know is that mass production techniques can impair the flavour and quality.

“We’re confident that visitors to our stand will be able to taste a clear difference between the mass-produced meat and ours, which will help drive our message home.”

Countryside Live is organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and intended to be a small weekend version of the Great Yorkshire Show, coming late in the season and held under cover as far as possible.

It features a growing equestrian and equine section; tug of war; competitions for cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and pigeons; demonstrations of country skills; have-a-go archery; sheepdog and bird-of-prey displays; and a wide range of the usual trade stands selling clothing and food and drink.

Entry costs £10 for adults, £5 for 5-18s and £28 for a family ticket for two adults and three children.

A strict ‘No Dogs’ rule bars all except assistance dogs from both showground and car parks – even dogs locked in cars.