Red Ruby Beef
The system that we use for our grass-fed Red Ruby Devon cattle is about as natural as it gets. All of our beef is pure Red Ruby, which is the breed native to Exmoor. These cattle are perfectly suited to the landscape and its natural resources.
Bred on native Exmoor, the breeding cows thrive on the poorer hill and rough moorland pastures, which they convert into mother's milk, simply the best food on the planet for their calves. The calves grow strong bones and develop natural immunity, which minimises the use of any medication. The calves stay with their mothers for 9 months, maximising the benefit of the milk, until their mothers supply naturally dries up.
Once weaned, the young cattle come off the Exmoor hillside, down to the lush lower pastures of mid-Devon and Dorset, where they eat a diet of forage; herb-rich grass, hay or silage. We only ever feed 100% grass to our Red Ruby cattle, this has been a core philosophy of Pipers Farm since we started in 1989.
Ruminant animals have a digestive system designed to process grass and forage and are less able to digest cereals. Modern industrial systems for growing cattle are designed to grow the cattle as fast as possible, with a diet of grain, cereals, and chemical inputs to speed growth rates. The acidity produced as a result of this unnatural diet destroys healthy gut bacteria and cattle show diabetic-like symptoms.
The biome in the stomach (rumen) of our Red Rubies is very important, for their own health and natural immunity. When our cattle are 'chewing the cud', they are repeatedly chewing the forage with their strong molar teeth, after mixing it with their gut flora, so that no nutritional value is wasted. Their dung, returned to the pasture from a healthy gut, provides food for insects, and the billions of soil bacteria, which create sustainable biodiversity. This is an integral part of the Pipers Farm philosophy.
Our herd of Devon Red Ruby cattle are a living part of the 'terroir', which is the link between the soil and the food we produce from it. It is important to us that our slow-growing Red Rubies are helping to sustain beautiful, natural, grassland landscapes, which are not suitable for growing other food crops. At the same time, they are utilising natural local resources and not imported protein such as soya, grown in areas which are being depleted by industrialised systems of globalised agriculture.
Our Red Rubies are grown slowly until they have reached natural maturity when the meat is well marbled and has a good texture.
We use a local, small, family run, farmyard based abattoir, where the team are highly skilled artisans. For us, reducing stress and having total control over slaughter is a vital step in the process.
We hang all of our Red Ruby Beef as whole carcasses on the bone for four weeks, in time-honoured fashion, to develop a rich depth of flavour.