How it all started
When Will and Rob tested their first grass fed Wagyu steak they knew they had produced something that was pretty special. A few glasses of wine later and a plan started to merge.
A group of farmers in Pembrokeshire, Wales now work together to produce grass fed Wagyu beef taking advantage of the local climate that allows them to grow lots of the green stuff! So they aren’t fed beer or massaged or kept in industrial feedlots and fed grain. This Welsh style Wagyu naturally produced by happy cows.
What is wagyu?
Originating in Japan, the Wagyu is an extraordinary breed of cattle. Due to its intense marbling (the fat deposited between muscle fibres), the Wagyu meat is prized the world over for its rich flavour and buttery tenderness.
We can trace the ancestry of all our full blood Wagyu cattle back to Japan. Although we’ve given our cattle local Welsh names like Blodwyn, Dylan and Bethan!
Not only delicious, the Wagyu also contains a higher percentage of mono-unsaturated fats and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids than any other kind of beef. Simply put, it is the tastiest and healthiest beef for you.
Don’t believe us, check out some of the facts we’ve collected from clever people who know about this stuff.
(Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association, Texas A&M University, Washington State University, and the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University in Australia, to name just a few)
- The Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acid to Saturated Fatty Acid ratio runs up to three times higher in Wagyu beef than other beef.
- Research indicates that Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) are either lower or neutral to total cholesterol levels, while increasing High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels, or good cholesterol.
- Medical experts report that HDL tends to deliver cholesterol away from the arteries and to the liver where the body can get rid of it.
- Research indicates that HDL removes excess cholesterol from arterial plaque, thus slowing its build-up.
- Wagyu beef is also an effective source of Essential Fatty Acids such as the Omega 3 (Linolenic Acid), as well as containing 30% more Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid) than other breeds.
- Omega 3, the same compound found in nuts, olive oils, and fish that give them their health benefits, has been found to protect against heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, and act as an anti-carcinogen.
- Omega 6 has been shown to prevent numerous kinds of cancers, while also reducing Low Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels and triglycerides.
- Wagyu beef is one of the best sources of Vitamin B, iron, and essential complete amino acids.
Cows are designed to eat grass so that’s what we feed them! It gets a bit more complicated during the winter when we bring them inside to protect them from the inclement weather. So during the summer we cut grass and make hay or silage (fermented grass) to feed them on during the winter.
- All cows shall be grazed for a minimum of 210 days a year
- Both summer and winter diets for cows shall include not less than 80% forage grown on the farm (on a fresh matter basis)
Cooking & Eating
Some have turned cooking Wagyu into an art form but don’t be scared of it. It’s a rich meat so experiment slicing steaks into small portions or making some mini sliders as great appetiser.
- A 230g Natural Wagyu sirloin steak a good portion size and a marble score 4 – 6 will contain about 15 to 25% marbling fat. This is what makes this beef so rich, buttery and surprisingly tasty. Take the meat out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature.
- Season Wagyu steaks prior to cooking with liberal pinches of sea salt and pepper. Then add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil to a hot pan before adding the Wagyu. It doesn’t have to be smoking hot and traditionally the Japanese don’t want caramelised crust but we reckon it’s perfect for our grassfed Wagyu.
- Pan searing is always preferable and we think a heavy griddle pan is best and never grill or BBQ. A heavy griddle pan is best as it stops the steak from “poaching” in the fat and adds those signature grill lines.
- Don’t stretch marbled beef. Be careful when turning and handling Wagyu not to stretch it.
- Cook steak to medium. Avoid under cooking. Heat should penetrate through all marbling seams of the Wagyu steak for it to reach the optimum flavour point. It is best to have the pan heated to high before adding the steak. Sear both sides for 2 minutes each, and then reduce heat to the pan to medium-low. Allow the steak to finish cooking under this reduced heat for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
- The perfect Wagyu steak should be served straight from the pan onto a pre-warmed plate. Keeping the steak warm ensures the taste from the marbling fat remains at its peak flavour point.
Rob – always working on strategy he bought his first Wagyu cows on a whim after seeing an advert. A meat person, retailer and would be farmer, he’s worked for major retailers around the world helping them to develop their fresh food supply chains. He’s left the others to do all the hard work while he’s been in Australia for the last 2 years but we all know he’s missed getting his hands dirty.
Will – is still wondering how he went from a dairy farmer to rearing Wagyu beef after a night out with Rob. The most well-travelled farmer from Wales has been around the global studying innovative and sustainable farming systems.
Alex – former Selfridges manager has found herself back home in Pembrokeshire living with Will. She really loves Pembrokeshire but Natural Wagyu has been a great excuse for her to get back to London for some market research.
Cumine Family – when Rob decided he was leaving to work in Australia for a few years he asked his family if they’d mind looking after his cows! They’ve done a great job and look after the nucleus breeding herd which provides the bulls to the other farms
Prichard Family – they’ve been farming for generations and have learnt to grow lots of grass on their Pembrokeshire farms which in turn lets them feed lots of cows. They make it sound pretty simple!
Provides vocational training opportunities for young people and adults. This not for profit organisation took over the Glan-y-Mor Farm in 2013 and set about restoring it. They needed to find some animals for people to look after so we gave them a few Wagyu cows. They’ve been revelation, much loved by staff and visitors alike.
There are lots of animals that are cuter and cuddlier than the cows, but these gentle giants are helping young people to grow in confident and responsibility.