What is the background to Native Beef?
Jonathan and Laura Chapman run Native Beef, a high-welfare farm on the Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border, nestled in the beautiful countryside, a stone’s throw from London. Working mostly with Red Ruby Devon cattle, one of Britain’s oldest native breeds, they have now added Welsh pork and Native lamb to their offer.
An EU Funding for Rural Development grant enabled the Chapmans to install their first processing unit at the end of 2017 and since then the business has grown from strength to strength. This lead to Fisher UK supplying a further module in the shape of a dry-aging chiller at the end of 2020. As members of Pasture for Life, the Chapmans farm over 700 acres with an average of 700 head of livestock.
The addition of the latest module to the existing Fisher UK processing unit at Native Beef means that Jonathan and Laura are now able to dry-age their beef for 28 days, all year round to a consistent standard. The Ruby Devon cattle are famed for the succulence and flavour of their meat, which is tender and well-marbled. They are also a hardy and calm breed, well-suited to a 100% pasture-feed diet.
The Chapmans have more recently added woodland Welsh pork and Wiltshire Horn x Hampshire Down lamb to their fully native meat offer, thanks to increased chiller space and now enjoy a profitable business.
All meat is skilfully butchered and vac-packed on site in the Fisher UK modular processing unit. Jonathan has even customised the units, installing windows to enable the butchers to look out on the beautiful views across the farm to make for a better working environment.
As all units are bespoke to client specification, Fisher UK is proud to offer fully-customised installations to suit individual business needs – All projects are built off-site from scratch, once plans are finalised.
The recent addition of the dry-aging chiller at Native Beef HQ has enabled Native Beef to dry-age their top-quality beef for twenty-eight days to break down the connective tissues and intensify flavour. This improve eating quality in terms of taste and tenderness.
Dry-aging works by exposing meat to a carefully controlled environment with precise temperature and humidity. The Fisher UK chiller unit and the installation of a world-class Munters® commercial dehumidifier (approved by the Swedish Institute for Food) achieves the desired result.
The Fisher UK unit houses all the latest processing equipment including a bandsaw and industry-leading Henkleman® vacuum packing machine.
The Tonon® rail system installed makes for easy handling and movement of carcasses and Fisher UK are the official UK agent for this world-class equipment.
Fisher Modular Construction (UK) Ltd make extension and expansion affordable because the modular units are manufactured off-site, which results in much lower costs than traditional methods of construction.
A Fisher UK solution offers shorter build programmes and much less disruption to existing operations. A new building from Fisher UK can also be purchased through third party asset finance companies.
Why did they choose Fisher UK?
The Chapmans chose Fisher UK as it isn’t just the unit that is on offer, but in-depth agricultural knowledge and the expert meat industry experience and insight of Technical Director, Jon Fisher.
Coming from a farming family himself, Jon Fisher knows the sector inside-out and is best placed to offer expert consultancy and full-service project manager to set up sales from the farm gate – this is extremely valuable in a grant acquisition scenario, where farmers and land managers are transitioning to become wholesale butchers and retailers.
Why did they seek assistance from Fisher?
Fisher UK offer advice on every element of the business from product flow, to space and equipment required. There is also fantastic aftersales service.
Having worked with Fisher UK before, The Chapmans knew that there would be minimal site disruption as the chiller was manufactured off-site, with the unit arriving in almost full working order and was immediately connected to the existing structure.
They chose Fisher UK because
Jonathan Chapman, Director of Native Beef knows that should he need to further-expand the business in the future, he will be able to do so with ease. The units also have a resale value and are completely mobile and can be relocated should he need to move to a larger farm.
“A Fisher UK modular meat processing solution is fully FSA compliant from the get-go, once EU funding was secured. It seemed a far preferable option to the alternative of renovating an existing outbuilding. It also minimised risk, should the business have ever faltered as a veritable start-up. The Fisher UK unit has and holds a resale value, so could always be sold or relocated as and when required, unlike a bricks and mortar permanent construction.”