Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 84

life - FOOD & DRINK Local farm wants to beef up sales! “Currently 90% of our Aberdeen Angus beef is sold to the mainland, never to return to the Island! It’s such a shame” Wight Aberdeen Angus Chapel Furlong Farm Hulverstone Tel: 01983 741135 Mob: 07727 053846 Jackie and Tod Carder made the big decision to move from Somerset onto the Island 19 years ago. Having been successful farmers for many years on the mainland they decided to purchase a piece of land in Hulverstone and continued to farm their beef and sheep. When Jackie and Tod re-located to the Island they brought with them 40 cows, 160 sheep, 4 rams and a bull. The land they had purchased (180 acres) was straight land with no living accommodation, so they purchased a 35ft mobile home which became home for the next 4 years. Now 19 years on they have built themselves a house on the land, together with several outbuildings and they now rent over 1000 acres of additional land in order to accommodate their increased herd of 160 head of cattle and a flock of 400 sheep. Jackie commented “Currently 90% of all our meat, beef and lamb gets sold onto the mainland which is a real shame. Our beef and lamb is excellent quality, especially our beef because we only use the best 84 Aberdeen Angus bulls which come from Vivian Jackson, Calbourne. “ Currently their cows graze on National Trust land located at Ventnor/ Wroxall, Tennyson and Mottistone Down. Come the beginning of December they are brought in until the beginning of May for the winter months. Jackie and Tod have looked into many different ways of selling their beef and lamb locally. “We would love to be able to sell our beef and lamb at the local farmers markets (Ryde & Newport), however due to circumstances at the time we missed the boat, which for us was disappointing.” Not to be put off by this they then had the idea of opening a small local farm shop in Mottistone however once again their plans were thwarted by local planning, they were refused! So we asked Tod what happens to his delicious Aberdeen Angus Beef and tasty Lamb, “not much, most of it goes to the mainland never to return to the Island, we do sell a small proportion to some local residents and we do offer a delivery service, but that’s about it for now. It’s very hard to market our beef and lamb on the Island because we have very limited time in which to do so, most of our time is spent looking after the farm on a day to day basis.” This seems to be a problem for many producers across the Island, they simply have not got the time for sales and promotion, so we asked Tod what he thinks the solution could be, “a central distribution unit could be the answer, a sort of Tescos (of course on a smaller scale) that only sells local produce. We need somewherecentralwherecustomers can turn up, park their car and have a wide variety of local products available from ALL local producers under one roof. I would think that most producers on the Island would be more than happy to, as they say, chip in, to get this scheme up and running. I am more than willing to increase my herd if the local market was there.” Another area which should embrace Tod’s beef and lamb would be local restaurants and hotels, Tod commented “it seems that restaurants have this belief that because it’s local it’s going to be a lot more expensive than their current suppliers, not true, we are very competitive with our pricing, and are more than willing to speak to each individual restaurant and hotel. What people have to remember is that the Island does not have an abattoir, so it costs me approx £400 to get the animals onto the mainland then back onto the Island where it then has to be hung for 21 days before being butchered, so yes it may be slightly more expensive but you have to weigh up what you are getting, locally reared beef and lamb that tastes delicious.” Jackie an d Tod are determined farmers and no doubt they will find ways of selling more beef and lamb onto the Island. If you are a hotel or restaurant please give them a call, and Island Life readers don’t forget, they do offer a delivery service! Sponsored by - www.holidays2remember.co.uk