This week we have Salt Marsh beef from Hayling Island’s Northney Farm. I have previously visited Northney farm on Hayling Island to see some of the cattle first hand.
The cattle are Aberdeen Angus – grazing with the masts of sailing boats in the background and the calls of gulls and seabirds all around. It was a blustery day and as we opened the gate onto the pasture, the cows came to greet us. They graze the meadow for about 10 months of the year, only coming in to protect them from the worst of the cold and wet. All the animals are born either on the coastal plain or within the local area. They are reared on their mothers’ milk and grass for the first six months, and after weaning their diet is predominantly flower and herb-rich grass, contributing greatly to the taste and quality of the meat.It’s a lovely setting, with the sea coming right up to the meadow, protected by a wall that was originally built by Napoleonic prisoners of war. Historically the coastal plains had far greater numbers of cattle grazing there – and it is critical to the coastal landscape that the existing herds continue to do so. By keeping the grass cropped, they maintain an ideal habitat for plants such as Southern Marsh Orchid and Ragged Robin as well as species such as barn owl, water vole, lapwing and redshank among others.
This is a great Sussex product – salt marsh lamb gets a lot of press, but we should take more notice of great tasting salt marsh beef. It is local, delicious and raised on salt-tinted coastal grazing marsh, supports important habitats and protects endangered species.
If you are interested in Salt Marsh Beef on a regular basis, please visit Three Harbours Beef