Earl Stonham: Wagyu beef farmer scoops Good Housekeeping award
08:51 23 May 2013
A beef farmer is celebrating after scooping an award for his niche beef burger products.
Andrew Deacon and his team at Earl Stonham Farms, near Stowmarket have been named Best Small Meat Producer 2013 for their Wagyu Beef Burgers in the prestigious national Good Housekeeping Food Awards at an awards ceremony at Lancaster House in London tonight.
Now in their ninth year, the annual Good Housekeeping Food Awards are made up of reader and expert-voted categories. Readers vote in their thousands to make sure their favourite brands top the polls. The expert panel awards, including Best Small Meat Producer, were decided on by the Good Housekeeping Cookery Team.
“The care and attention Andrew and his team lavish on his Wagyu cattle is obvious in the spectacular meat they produce,” says Good Housekeeping Cookery Director Meike Beck. “The Cookery Team was unanimous in its vote for his Wagyu burgers – they’re an undeniably delicious taste of affordable luxury.”
In October 2012 the farm won the highest rating for beef in the country for its Wagyu sirloin steak at the national Great Taste Awards, into which over 8000 food products of every type were entered.
Mr Deacon said: “This is a really wonderful honour for my team at the farm. Seven years ago we set out specifically to produce beef which really surprised the eater. We wanted them to say that our beef was the best they had ever tasted and we wanted it to speak for itself, aided by nothing but a little added salt – and we are making really good progress.
“We have supplied meat for some time to top chefs like Raymond Blanc, Heston Blumenthal and Galton Blackiston in Norfolk, but we also supply meat for burgers to gastropubs and restaurants around the country which really knock customers’ socks off. Small though we are we think this is meat of which Suffolk can feel truly proud,” concludes Andrew.
Earl Stonham Farms has 500 acres of pasture and arable land dedicated to the production of its beef products and most of what the cattle eat is grown on the farm.
Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cattle famed for its propensity to store fat within its muscles which results in a high level of fat marbling in the meat, creating a succulent, intensely beefy taste. The fat is unusual in that it is rich in monounsaturated fat with 25% less saturated fat that normal beef.
Wagyu cattle are very slow maturing, they graze on pasture at the farm for two years and are finished for up to 12 months, on mainly farm grown crops, at the farm’s specially built cattle unit in Creeting St Mary. Conventional cattle are slaughtered at between 15 and 18 months.