Glenarm Castle Organic Farm
The Estate is continually adapting to the challenges of modern farming and in 2008 we decided to farm less intensively and convert to organic. We breed from a flock of 250 ewes and are currently building up a herd of organic pedigree Beef Shorthorn, one of the finest traditional beef breeds. We currently breed from a herd of 100 cows.
Our organic beef and lamb has already won several prestigious awards including two prizes at the 2010 Guild of Fine Food’s GTA Awards in London. In Northern Ireland you can find Glenarm beef and lamb served in several leading Belfast restaurants and hotels including The Stormont, The Culloden and The Merchant Hotels. For further details on availability please contact our distributor Hannan Meats.
Marketing Opportunity for Shorthorn Beef Farmers
Over the past three years Glenarm Castle Estate, in partnership with Hannan Meats and along with a small group of organic farmers, has been working to produce quality shorthorn beef. At that time a decision was taken to change from continental to beef shorthorn bulls, while retaining quality heifers, with the intention of creating a predominantly beef shorthorn herd. It was also felt that becoming organic would differentiate the finished product. Beef Shorthorn was chosen for its renowned marbling and great flavour and following the success of the project, demand is now such that there is not enough shorthorn beef to fulfil the market.
Peter Hannan (Hannan Meats) has been working through the wholesale market with leading chefs, hotels and restaurants, to establish a premier product which is now in great demand, being sold under the Glenarm Shorthorn Beef (GSB) Brand. Glenarm Shorthorn Beef has already won a number of Gold Star awards at the Great Taste awards ceremony in London. Part of it’s appeal is that the beef is traditionally aged for a minimum of 28 days.
As demand for the product now outstrips supply there is an opportunity for other farmers, both organic and non-organic, producing quality shorthorn beef to market their beef through the Glenarm Shorthorn Beef brand. This product is already being sold principally for its eating quality and to ensure that this continues, any farmers joining the group will be required to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible to sell under this brand. In order to receive a premium price it is essential to have a premium product.
Cattle meeting the criteria will achieve a minimum 10% extra premium at slaughter. At present rates this equates to 30p per kilo. This will be paid on a flat rate basis (no grading).
The following criteria are essential for cattle to be sold under the Glenarm Shorthorn Beef Brand:
- Animals must be bred from a beef cow and a bull approved by GBS. Some pre existing bulls will be suitable and where this is not possible A.I
bulls may be required.
- Animals will be assessed on farm pre-slaughter by GSB co-ordinator to determine if they are of sufficient quality to command
- Animals must be under 30 months
- Animals must be Farm Quality Assured as GSB aims to promote the highest standard of animal welfare and husbandry.
- Animals will be sourced from within Northern Ireland.
- Animals may be subject to DNA sampling
- Only quality breeding heifers will be retained and crossed back to a Shorthorn bull
- All farms will be inspected by GSB prior to joining the group.
- The cattle on Glenarm Estate are reared to best practice, on a high clover, grass based system and the winter housing is of the highest welfare standard. It is important that any farmers joining the group aim to achieve similar standards.
For further information please contact Farm Manager, Bryan Wilson, on 07764250171 or 028 28 84 1203.
The headquarters of Northern Salmon, producer of the very prestigious Glenarm Organic Salmon, which is a separate company, is also located on the Estate.