Deer & Dexter
Old Stoddah Farm, Penruddock, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0RY
Produce: Venison from Red Deer and Dexter Beef from the smallest of the Native Cattle Breeds
Venison has higher iron levels than most other red meat, contains omega 3 fats and less fat than a skinned breast of chicken…... Dexter beef has a distinctive traditional beef flavour with marbling and fat cover which provides exceptional flavour
Peter and Jane’s 210 acres farm is situated in the northern part of the Lake District national park. A wonderful environment to rear two very special livestock, Dexter Cattle and Red Deer.
Dexter cattle is the smallest of the native breeds at only about half the size of commercially bred cattle. Their small stature and hardy nature make them well suited to life high up on the fells. Slowly reared on grass, Peter and Jane’s Dexter beef is allowed to mature for far longer than commercially produced beef. The result of this is their Dexter beef has a distinctive traditional beef flavour with marbling and fat cover which provides exceptional flavour.
Because the farming system is not intensive in any way, it is frequent for the cows to rear calves for years. In fact, the oldest cow at Old Stoddah Farm is 19 years old and has reared 17 calves – good work Ginger Cream!
Red deer, the largest of the native species were first brought onto the farm in 1989.They live a natural life, in large family groups, roaming in safe open spaces with plenty of shelter. All deer are reared and slaughtered on the farm in familiar surroundings. This minimises stress and maximises meat quality and flavour. Venison has higher iron levels than any other red meat, contains omega 3 fats and less fat than a skinned breast of chicken.
Peter and Jane come from a forestry background and have spent a lot of time creating a natural environment where wildlife thrives. They spend much of their time managing pastures and woodlands to make sure there is plenty of quality food available all year round. They don’t apply pesticides to the varied pastures containing different grasses, high in clover, which helps to keep the animals healthy.
Deep rooted herbs, wild flowers, plants and ‘weeds’ are an essential part of the mix containing essential minerals and trace elements. Peter and Jane constantly monitor the habitat and wildlife to gauge the health of their land, the ethos being 'healthy land, healthy livestock, healthy meat'.
Farming in the upland fells of the Lake District can be tough, but they have created opportunities. From small direct sales in 2004, they now sell everything that they produce online and through farmers' markets.
They love what they do, and where they do it, and their enthusiasm results in great tasting healthy meat.