In The News

Grass Fed beef meets niche

The growth in branded grass-fed beef has seen a southern New South Wales couple bringing their Hereford cattle to a small Jindera outblock, just over the Victorian border, to finish the animals off.

Gordon Shaw, wife Leanne Wheaton, his brother Jim and sister Cathy have a 1600 hectare property in the Wantagong Valley, Holbrook, NSW. But it’s the smaller block, which is the key to their Grass Roots Beef business, through which meat is sold online or at local farmers markets.

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Slow cooked shredded beef a big crowd pleaser

THE good people at Henty can’t be wrong.

Jindera’s Leanne Wheaton and her husband Gordon Shaw took this dish to last week’s Henty Machinery Field Days and sold out very quickly.

“When we do tastings, everybody says it’s delicious,” Leanne said.

“It’s been requested to go in school cookbooks and it’s been used at christenings and 21sts and things so it’s been spread far and wide.”

Leanne had wanted to find recipes for bolar blade, one of the cuts the farming couple sell through their enterprise Grass Roots Beef.

“So I was just scanning cookbooks etc. looking for bolar blade recipes and I guess this is an adaptation of a number that I found,” she said.

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Grass Roots Beef finds flavour among farmers market customers hungry for traditional beef cuts

Leanne Wheaton and Gordon Shaw are on a mission to give consumers a taste of tradition – armed with a slowcooker, a portable coolroom, hundreds of recipes and passion for grass fed beef.

The couple have a 1600-hectare farm in the Wantagong Valley east of Holbrook with Mr Shaw’s siblings Jim and Cathy, and live on a smaller property at Jindera.

They run 500 Hereford breeders and several thousand Merino and cross bred sheep.

Mr Shaw, who has also worked as an economic development consultant, is a carbon trader and they plant up to 800 tress annually on their property.

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Beef with a personal touch from Grass Roots Beef at Holbrook

CUSTOMERS can usually smell Leanne Wheaton and her husband Gordon Shaw before they see them.

Smells of osso bucco, oxtail stew or steak and rosemary fill the air around their Grass Roots Beef stall at farmers’ markets at Wagga Wagga in NSW and Wodonga.

While the couple are relative newcomers to value-adding — for the past 50 years the Shaw family’s cattle and sheep have been sold through conventional saleyards — Leanne and Gordon have quickly learnt how to entice customers.

“We want to sell the whole animal, and people aren’t sure how to cook with lesser-known cuts for instance. In the year we’ve been selling Grass Roots Beef I’ve handed out hundreds of recipe ideas,” Leanne said.

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Hereford brand takes eating beef back to the grass roots

The herd was originally established as the Lark Rise Hereford stud in the mid 1960s on Ardno and South Boorook blood near Melbourne, then relocated to Holbrook in 1969 and deregistered in the late 1980s.

The herd has always been commercially focused. Stud founders, Barbara and Gordon Shaw Senior, a general practitioner, both took a keen interest in solving dystocia or calving difficulties in heifers.

Gordon applied his knowledge of obstetrics in humans to cattle and developed calipers to measure the pelvic tunnel, culling heifers on below average pelvic measurements.

Mr Shaw’s papers are still considered the seminal work on dystocia in cattle. He found the trait was highly heritable and the Wantagong herd remains easy calving to this day.

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