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A Week on the Estate: Heritage Cattle, Tudor Dessert & New Bottles

In mild weather and with signs of spring all around us, we enjoyed a busy and productive week at South Ormsby Estate.

 

The Massingberd-Mundy Old Rectory created a delicious afternoon tea for a Lincolnshire Wolds Tourism meeting. To accompany her afternoon teas, Tanya has created her own take on a 16th-century recipe – a tangy and delicious lemon posset. For those who’d like to try it, Tanya has shared the recipe:

Mix 600ml of double cream with 150g of caster sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Mix in the juice and zest of two lemons, then place the posset in serving pots and leave to set. Garnish the posset with lemon zest and serve with the biscuits of your choice.

At the distillery, Tristan took another step towards commercial production by shipping a truck-load of bottles to Seaways Services of Blackburn so that they can be screen-printed with eye-catching and classy designs.

 

Leanne Gains donned her hard hat and oversaw the arrival of the builders who will turn the old school house into Little Ormsbees Nursery. At Keal Yard, preparations were made for the pipework that will allow us to use run-off rainwater from the cattle sheds as drinking water in the cattle troughs.

 

The Lincoln Red herd is getting ready for the calving season. A few weeks ago, we welcomed our first, early new arrival, Rumford Zoe. In any given year, the bulls are introduced to the cows and heifers by 14th April. The reliable gestation period of 9 months and 1 week means that the Keal Yard team is about to have a busy time.

South Ormsby Estate is home to one of the biggest herds of native Lincoln Red cattle. By the end of this year’s calving season, the herd may number in excess of 400 head of cattle. Our herd is native British, 100% pure-blood, whereas other herds tend to include pedigrees crossed with such breeds as Limousin, Charolais, Friesian and Angus in order to increase bulk and yield.

 

Commercial cattle can be fattened quickly if their development is pushed. Typical commercial breeds spend more of their lives indoors and are fattened with corn so that they’ll mature in 15-18 months. By contrast, our Lincoln Reds live outdoors from March-April to November (weather permitting), consume only grass or forage from the estate and are given 22-28 months to mature.

 

Our patient, sustainable approach is informed by the highest standards in animal welfare and results in high-quality, slow-grown meat with a distinctively succulent marbling of fat that is characteristic of the breed. South Ormsby’s herd enjoys ‘high-health’ status – the highest standard of cattle health that can be registered. Their winter feed is haylage sourced entirely from the estate; year-round, the herd is sustained by the land at South Ormsby.

Every aspect of our cattle’s life is carefully documented, including age, medication given and family lines. As ours is a historic, pedigree herd, documenting heredity is vital. The age and purity of the breed can be a boon in the calving season, with veterinary assistance required in only 2% of births. With other cattle, by contrast, commercial cross-breeding aimed at producing larger calves can cause problems for cows lacking the right adaptations.

 

As we prepare for calving and the spring and summer to come, we’ll continue to honour the rich heritage of responsible and sustainable animal husbandry that allows this fine breed to thrive.