Producer of the Month: Philip Hall, Beaufort Boer Goats
The winning main meal on BBC2's Great British Menu was Boer goat tagine cooked by the chef Michael Smith. Goat meat had never been on the show before. Rest assured, it will become a permanent feature in future series. With its succulent flavour, goat is fast becoming a regular ingredient in British cooking.
Philip and Katie Hall began to appreciate the great value of goat meat a few years ago, when they took over Parks Farm - part of the Duke of Beaufort's estate - in 2004, from Philip's father. Initially, they disbanded the dairy herd and transformed the farm into a horse ‘livery’ enterprise, in keeping with the farm's location in the heart of Beaufort Hunt country.
However, the farm felt empty without any livestock and it was while they were looking into purchasing some goats that they saw the gap in the British market for goat meat. So, they decided to purchase a herd of Boer goats. They had to source them from three different areas of the country, after discovering that the herds in the UK were few and far between and the majority of herds were small. Having blood tested all the stock prior to mixing them, Philip and Katie now run a herd of over 200 goats and are part of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme and are CAE accredited.
By choosing to farm Boer goats, the Halls produce high quality goat meat that is massively versatile and with a sweet flavour and succulent, tender texture that can be used for a huge range of dishes. What is even more enticing is it is low in calories, low in fat and high in iron and protein.
- What do you enjoy most about producing Boer Goats ?
The best part about producing the Boer Goats is their extremely inquisitive and friendly nature. They are placid and easy to handle and always hungry! Oh and they don’t smell. It has been a pleasant transition from a Friesian dairy herd to goats.
- What do you enjoy the least?
Night kidding has to be the least enjoyable part of my job, although, having said that, seeing and helping new life into this world is quite precious.
- Why should we buy British meat?
With all the recent attention on processed food and the scandal over horse meat it is obvious why we need to buy British and buy locally with traceability and quality assured as standard. Producing top quality food is synonymous with the ethos of a British farmer and should be supported by the general public.
- What achievement are you most proud of?
I think my largest achievement is to enter a new industry in its infancy and see the potential there. I have invested into a relatively unknown market with no laid out path to follow or pre-determined contracts available. A roller coaster of emotion from elation to despair in a heartbeat and back again… Like most farmers!
- What are your predictions for the future of British food and if you were Prime Minister what would you do to encourage more people to buy British?
With an ever increasing population and finite land mass we have to become better and more efficient food producers and market the quality of our produce more effectively. If I was the Prime Minister, I would educate the younger generation and keep their link with nature and farming and show them that nature and farming are synonymous with each other not in spite of each other as is sometimes perceived.
- Best budget tip?
My wife's best budget tip is to use our senses such as smell, touch and sight better to determine how good food is and not rely on the ‘sell by dates’to make a decision on if it can be eaten. Also have some good spices at hand to use with left overs to make a ‘hot pot’meal.
- If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
BRITISH FARM TO BRITISH FORK
This slogan should only be applied to totally British food - including processing - and would have a relative symbol like the ‘red tractor’to guarantee it was 100% British from farm to fork.
- What other British food producers do you rate?
I rate the amazing Allington Farm Shop because they either produce their meat or they source it locally. They sell quality British produce. I also rate a local butcher Tucks of Sherston who have the most amazing selection of salami and hopefully will be producing a goat one for us to try and market soon.
- What's on the menu this evening?
On the menu this evening is locally produced pork tenderloin covered with stuffing to keep it moist and served with roast potatoes and local vegetables.
- How can people get hold of your produce?
People can find us on our website. We have a list of products available on the website, though we do try to tailor your pack to your needs, subject to availability. We are more than happy to discuss your requirements over the phone and will aim to get the product(s) to you asap.