Although it is from a rare breed pig we take our name, The Ginger Pig has become synonymous with top quality beef, and we are renowned for farming native breeds across our unforgiving patch of North Yorkshire.
The reason we have such strong national heritage when it comes to producing beef is the same thing we’re internationally renowned for complaining about; the weather. With plenty of rain we grow very good grass, which is the primary natural diet for cattle and sheep.
While a great deal of the beef sold commercially is from dairy cattle or an associated cross, there are still plenty of farmers proudly committed to producing beef that bears testament to our heritage. Of the breeds we have farmed at the Ginger Pig, the majestic Longhorns were the first over ten years ago and we still have a herd today. Over the years we have farmed Shorthorns, Herefords, Belted Galloways and Riggits, but the Longhorn continues to be our main breed.
Fed a completely natural diet consisting of little other than grass, our cattle grow slowly to reach maturity between 24-30 months, some 10-16 months older than intensively reared grain-fed cattle. As with our other livestock, the most promising specimens remain in the herd to reproduce, while animals lacking the right confirmation are culled out – at full maturity – for beef. When a beef animal reaches its prime, we finish it on a rich combination of grains before it goes for slaughter.
We hang our beef to dry age, and the amount of time for which the meat hangs depends on each animal. Cattle with a good covering of fat will hang for much longer, and so our cold room manager is charged with ensuring that every piece of beef gets the time and attention warranted. While there are parts of the forequarter – used for stewing and slow cooking – which only really need hanging for a couple of weeks, a forerib or sirloin with a decent fat covering will age for upwards of 45 days while still improving, and the right rump can be taken to 80 with good effect.