Huw Rowlands’ Red Polls

In a few weeks time, we will be have a very unusual animal through, a four-year-old Red Poll. Red Poll are relatively rare anyway, but what makes this one very uncommon is that almost all beef cattle are slaughtered before they’re 30 months, because of the extra regulations around slaughtering old beasts following the BSE crisis.

It seemed likes a good opportunity to use our blog to put a spotlight on one of the farmers we work with. Huw Roland was recently awarded best Red Poll herd in the UK for the animals he raises at The Grange in Mickle Trafford since 1947.

The Red Poll was originally bred in Suffolk and Norfolk as ‘dual-purpose’ breed. Meaning they produce good milk and beef. Dual-purpose breeds have fallen out of favour, with modern breeds being completely focused on milk or beef production to increase yields.

The Poll in their name just means that they naturally don’t have horns; they are naturally ‘polled’. And the Red is because of their distinctive deep-red coats.

Huw’s Red Polls are particularly special because of the approach he takes. His animals are grass feed on the banks of the River Gowy in the fertile Cheshire Plain. He keeps his land in top condition through an agri-environment scheme, which provides funding to farms that support biodiversity, enhance the landscape, and improve the quality of water, air and soil.

What happens at The Grange is a great example of the natural rearing we champion. Because Huw’s Red Polls develop slowly on grass, they have a texture and depth of flavour that you can’t get with intensively-reared modern breeds

The hardiness of the Red Poll, also means Huw has a lower carbon footprint than his highly-commercial equivalent. This combined with the breed being naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids, makes for happy meeting of flavour, sustainability and health.

I’ll include update you in a few weeks time to let you know exactly when the Red Poll will be ready for the counter.