Wolds farmers’ premium approch to beef sales

From left, Jono Cooper, Juli Shepherd and Jonathan Shepherd, of Yorkshire Wagyu.
From left, Jono Cooper, Juli Shepherd and Jonathan Shepherd, of Yorkshire Wagyu.
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A PREMIUM meat originating from Japan is being sold directly to customers by two farmers in the Yorkshire Wolds.

After two years establishing one of the biggest Wagyu X and Wagyu full blood herds in the UK - now 1,400-strong - Jim Bloom and Jonathan Shepherd have set up The Yorkshire Wagyu Company to sell their beef.

Wagyu beef is renowned for its flavour, tenderness and high levels of ‘good’ monounsaturated fats that give the meat its characteristic marbling.

Mr Shepherd, 40, who farms at Tibthorpe, has worked in the beef industry for 20 years. He said: “We decided to get together to build a Wagyu herd as we wanted to improve the consistency of quality of our product, giving consumers an affordable option to buy the best beef in the world.

“As Wagyu isn’t bred for meat yield or conformation but purely for eating quality it’s fair to say some farmers have looked at our Wagyus and thought we were slightly mad. Not every farmer will buy into it but our objective is for the consumer to buy into it and build a reputable brand with Yorkshire Wagyu.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for new and different great tasting products with known provenance and Yorkshire Wagyu satisfies that demand perfectly.”

Although his business partner Mr Bloom, who farms at Warter, is predominantly a poultry farmer, his father was a Limousin breeder for many years and both men are founder members of the British Wagyu Breeders Association.

Their beef is now on the menu at restaurants including Wolds Village in Bainton, The Dining Room in Driffield and the Wolds Inn at Huggate.

The pair will be hosting various open days for both farmers and chefs to showcase their Wagyu herd and production system, while a Yorkshire Wagyu Burger Bar will be at agricultural shows and festivals this year.

The Wagyu burgers will be prepared by stockman and chef, Nick Dawson and will be served with brioche buns from Fullers bakery and home-made relishes from Puckett’s Pickles of York.