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Quality Meat Scotland Hosts Farm-to-Table Knowledge Day

08/07/2024

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) recently organised a successful knowledge transfer day at Kilmacolm Farm Tours, bringing together nearly thirty members of The Scotch Beef Club and The Scotch Butchers’ Club.

The event focussed on the unique qualities of Scotch red meat and emphasised the importance of joining up the supply chain, fostering collaboration from farm to table to ensure the highest standards are maintained throughout the entire process.

Chefs across the supply chain – from Buzzworks Life (Scotch Beef Club members and Ayrshire’s leading restaurant and bar operator) as well as local Scotch Butchers’ Club members – were informed on the standards and practices surrounding the farm activity that lies behind the renowned Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork brands.

The event, which took place this summer, was kindly hosted by James and Wendy MacDougall of Muirhouse Farm, Kilmacolm who run a farm safari and lambing experience business and have recently ventured into agri-tourism. Attendees enjoyed:

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  • An informative tour of the farm’s grass-fed suckler beef herd, showcasing sustainable farming practices
  • A detailed presentation on the MacDougall family’s innovative breeding program and advanced genetic selection methods
  • An engaging discussion with farm owner James MacDougall about their unique agricultural techniques and commitment to quality

Industry Perspectives

Eilidh McCulloch, QMS Quality Assurance Specialist, provided insightful presentations on the QMS assurance process from a farmer’s perspective.

She detailed the comprehensive annual quality assurance procedures that QMS-approved farms must undergo.

McCulloch emphasised the high standards for animal health and welfare, which are designed to optimise the quality of life for livestock both on farms and throughout the supply chain.

These measures ultimately contribute to delivering premium-quality products to the next stage of production

Gordon Newlands, Brands Development Manager said: “It was another fantastic day of knowledge sharing, where chefs and butchers alike gained a deeper understanding of whole chain assurance, focused on the quality and standards that go into producing Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb at a farm level.

“This kind of engagement is crucial for maintaining those high standards that our brands are known for.”

Following these interactive sessions there was also an opportunity for participants to take part in some hands-on activities.

The stock-judging competition gave an ideal opportunity for Scotch Beef Club and Scotch Butchers’ Club members to discuss carcase specifications and how that can affect the end product.

There was also a chance for attendees to gain certification for Continued Professional Development (CPD).

Networking and Collaboration

Laura Black of Cooper Butchers said: “It was a great opportunity for butchers, chefs and apprentices to come together and learn first-hand what it takes to become a QMS assured farmer, gain insight into what it means to have a true grass-fed suckler beef herd and the breeding and genetic methods that go with that.

“It was fantastic to hear and learn about their production methods and the stock judging competition brought out the competitiveness in all of us and demonstrated just how difficult it is to judge.

“These events are a good chance to support and discuss Scotch red meat, promoting collaboration at all stages of the supply chain and I’d like to thank James and Wendy for hosting us on their fabulous farm.”

The day was perfectly finished off with a barbeque prepared by the UK’s No.1 Butcher – Nigel Ovens from McCaskie’s Butcher. Attendees tucked in whilst enjoying the farm’s panoramic views of up to 40 miles to Ben Lomond, Glasgow and on to Lanarkshire.

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