The rich pastures of Northern Ireland provide the perfect home for some of the finest quality Aberdeen Angus cattle. We went to meet the farmer who rears them.
For farmer Leslie Dunn, his wife Irene and son Lowry, everyday life on Tamnaclare Farm is never quiet. The family provides round-the-clock care for the cattle to ensure a happy herd – and top quality beef. Leslie explains just what it takes to look after these quality animals.
‘The farm has been in the family for over 100 years – I’m a third generation farmer. We’re very proud of the farm and the cattle we rear. We provide Tesco with award-winning Aberdeen Angus beef and have been doing so for more than 25 years.
‘We’re busy all year round, and even more so in April, when the heifers are calving. Usually we’re out on the farm at 7am. The cattle are checked twice a day, but pregnant heifers and cows are checked through the night, too – it’s very rewarding to see the cows give birth to strong, healthy calves. We do get to know the cattle. My wife and I are both fond of them and I have to admit we have our favourites, and refer to them as ‘my cow’ when talking about them.
‘The Aberdeen Angus name is famous for tender meat, which comes from the marbling created by the intramuscular fat that’s typical of the breed. Our quality Aberdeen Angus bulls are bred with black Limousin cross heifers, which I buy in every year. They’re a very good size – strong and robust.
‘The cattle are outdoor reared on our premium grass for a minimum of six months, which makes for a healthy animal and quality meat. Weather depending, we put the cattle out in the fields in April and they don’t go back in to the sheds until late October. I grow the barley they eat, too – I like to now we’re providing the cattle with good nutrition. It means we always have work to do – not just tending to the herd. We also have a health plan to ensure our cattle are vaccinated and well looked after. I like to think we have happy cattle and that they have a good life on our farm.
‘I love all cuts of beef – you can probably see that from looking at me! But my favourite has to be sirloin, for the flavour it gives. I have it pan-fried with mushrooms and chips.’
DID YOU KNOW …
* The marbling of the fat in Aberdeen Angus beef is highly prized – it’s this that makes the meat super-tender.
* finest* Aberdeen Angus beef is matured for 28 days to improve the tenderness and texture of the meat.
* The breed and bloodline of the cattle is authenticated by the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society through DNA testing, so you can be sure it’s the real deal.
Why not try the Steak and roast baby potato salad recipe featured in this issue?
As featured in Tesco Magazine June 2014.