The first beef from Jersey-Angus cattle goes on sale this week to begin a new chapter in the Island’s rural history.
Four members of Genuine Jersey, cattle farmers Richard Lee, Paul Houzé, Rickie Leith and Darren Quénault, are producing the crossbreeds – but it is one of Mr Lee’s steers from La Caroline Farm in St Peter that is the first to reach the local market.
The Chief Executive of Genuine Jersey, John Garton, said: ‘The early indication is that Jersey-Angus beef will be sought after by local chefs and Islanders because of the quality of the meat. While it is unlikely that the producers will be able to satisfy entirely the local demand for fresh beef, it will widen the choice available to Jersey consumers who want to support the local economy by buying local produce.’
This new rural industry has come about because of changes in legislation relating to the Island Herd which now allows for the importation of semen to strengthen the breed and its dairy production. In addition, it has enabled dairy farmers to develop a new niche meat product.
Mr Lee said he expected the market in Jersey-Angus beef would be slow at first, until the flow of animals increased. Having eaten some of the prime steak from his first animal, he added, the meat had ‘melted in the mouth and was of superb quality.’
He said: ‘The production of beef from calves born from Jersey cows and Angus bulls is an exciting new venture, producing a quality product for the local consumer which should have a positive effect on the profitability of the dairy industry.’
Mr Lee’s beef will be available from Friday 15 April from the Country Butcher at Rondel’s Farm Shop.
This latest diversification to the rural economy poses no threat to the world-renowned status of the Island herd. The Jersey-Angus animals are produced from the dairy cows not used to breed dairy herd replacements.
In addition to producing Jersey-Angus beef, Darren and Julia Quénault, of Manor Farm, are producers of Jersey-Angus rose veal which is available from the Classic Herd farm shop in St Peter.