Rose Veal – the story

Rose Veal is a robust, mature meat, pink in colour, aged for flavour and very tender.

It is very lean with many health benefits; it’s naturally low in fat with great levels of Omega 3.

Rose Veal is a delicacy that we should all be encouraged to eat. We believe that if you drink milk or eat cheese, it’s crueller not to eat it.

The veal comes from the bull (male) dairy calves. They cannot be used for milk (obviously), and their muscle structure is not ideally suited for traditional beef.

For several years we have raised every animal born at Norbury Farm. The female calves (heifers) went on to form part of our dairy herd, and the bull calves were raised to the age of around 16 months old when they were sold through livestock markets for beef. This was not ideal as the dairy breeding of these animals means that they will never reach the full potential of a true beef breed. The size and structure of their breed does not lend itself to the job. Imagine asking a Chihuahua to herd sheep all day?

Since we no longer produce milk we are not breeding any animals and so we now source our bull calves from specially selected dairy farms.  All the farms which supply our calves ensure that within 24 hours of birth each calf is fed with the correct amount of colostrum, which means that they each receive the maximum benefit from the antibodies and nutrition that this special milk provides, rather like babies receiving their mother’s own milk instead of formula.

When the calves arrive they are fed using an automatic milk machine, which mixes specially formulated powdered milk for each calf, whenever required. This means that we can monitor and control the food and drink intake of each individual and also keep a close eye on their general health.

As they grow their diet is gradually adapted to suit their changing nutritional needs. A specially formulated ‘growing’ ration is introduced in addition to the milk that they are fed. We always ensure that they have unlimited access to clean water.

Slowly their diet is changed so that they are no longer fed milk, and a more adult, grain based cow food is introduced to them. When we feel that they are strong and fit enough they are weaned and moved into small sociable groups of comparable calves, living in sheltered cattle housing on deep straw bedding. We continue to frequently monitor them, and check for any young animal that is in discomfort or under the weather, although due to our constant attention to detail this rarely is a problem.

All of the feed that we produce here at Norbury is fed to our own animals, so that we know the quality and the provenance. It is important to us to know that our animal feedstuffs have not been required to travel thousands of miles.

As the calves continue to grow they are still housed in small groups and they are fed with a nutritionally balanced and varied diet up until roughly ten months old.

At around ten months old they are ready to be prepared for veal. Although this may seem quite a short time they are roughly the same age as most pigs or sheep slaughtered for pork and lamb and are considerably older than most chickens. Because of our high welfare standards we feel that our Rose Veal animals have lived a fuller life than most pigs, chickens or lambs. The calves are reared to the very best of our ability and knowledge.

So whether you choose to buy Rose Veal from us, to order it in a restaurant, to ask for it at the butchers or farmer’s market, make sure it’s British Rose Veal.