Rising demand for high-quality local meat promises a bright future for Oxfordshire producer Field Farm Fresh.
The company has supplied the restaurant and wholesale trade for some years, but has just gained a presence in retail with its Charolais/Continental cross beef, Charolais/Suffolk cross lamb, pork and poultry.
After a successful trial in four Midcounties Co-operative stores under the society’s Local Harvest initiative, a further 16 branches should soon be taking the products.
Its emphasis on local meats has led to an Oxfordshire County Council schools contract, and several quality pie and pasty makers have been knocking on its door.
General manager David Gomm says: “Many discerning customers are asking for English meat now. Provenance is a word you hear all the time now, which really suits our ethos. Others continue to supply imported beef and some customers would be quite happy with that. We have taken a policy decision not to handle any imported beef.”
Field Farm Fresh began 40 years ago and has grown to include a 1,400 hectare arable farm at Appleton owned by the Morgan brothers. It has the UK’s largest commercial pure-bred herd of Charolais, a modern meat plant, and has just unveiled a new boning hall.
With an annual turnover of £9m, the company kills about 200 beef cattle, 120 lambs and 30 pigs per week, and takes poultry from a Suffolk supplier.
In Midcounties Co-operative stores the price for its beef is about £1 a kilo more than standard meat.
“We are very happy being associated with Midcounties as our first retail experience,” says Gomm. “And we have plenty of room on site for further expansion.” Greg Meenehan