With a growing number of people becoming increasingly detached from agriculture, “the need to connect with the consumer on where their beef comes from and how it is raised has never been more important”.
These are the words of Jamie Nolan, who farms in Castledermot, Co. Kildare.
He believes “there has never been a time in the past when people have been so detached from where their food comes from”.
It was this concept that gave him the idea to develop a new business which aims to connect with the consumer “on a personal level” by delivering beef from his Co. Kildare farm directly to the homes of beef consumers across Ireland.
Nolan currently has a herd of pedigree Highland and Aberdeen Angus cattle under the AgriCam prefix.
He plans to use these pedigree cattle to breed progeny that will be reared on-farm to produce beef for the new venture which will be called ‘AgriCam Beef Boxes’.
Nolan’s family is also dairy farming in Co. Kildare and this year, on the farm, replacement heifers were put in-calf to a pedigree Highland stockbull. These calves will be reared to adult cattle and finished on-farm to produce Highland beef as part of the new venture.
“We have put a Highland bull with our herd of dairy heifers this year and we plan on rearing the progeny to beef,” he noted.
Why Highland beef?
Nolan said that he has selected the Angus and Highland breeds because of their “superior beef quality”.
“Highland and Angus beef has a high marbling content and both breeds produce beautifully tender meat,” he said.
“The cattle will all be grass-fed and home-reared and the beef boxes will be available in 10kg or 20kg boxes. The boxes are good value and it’s excellent, tender meat,” the Kildare entrepreneur added.
The meat will be prepared by a local craft butcher and can be delivered nationwide.
Sustainable packaging made from sheep wool will also be used to keep the beef at the optimum temperature long after delivery to the consumer.
“We can deliver nationwide and are fully licenced. We are using a local craft butcher to prepare the meat,” Nolan added.
“The business will be local-based and we are hoping the local community will come on board as well as people from further afield because the need to support local farmers and the primary producer has never been greater.”
Nolan believes the idea is growing in popularity in other countries such as Scotland and England where he says “consumers are moving more towards supporting local produce and the primary producer”.
He said his website will be up and running in the near future for people to buy the beef and there will be nationwide next-day delivery.
He noted that a number of other farmers across the country are now establishing online businesses to sell their farm produce direct to the consumer and believes “there is a big future” in the sector.