'Picturesque meat' the latest effort to show off Anglesey.
MEAT from some of the most picturesque parts of Anglesey is to be sold under a new brand to be launched at the island's county show today.
The Eat the View initiative will emphasise the wildlife-friendly credentials of meat that has been reared on sand dunes, wind-blown heathlands and coastal saltmarshes.
All the meat will be from traditional breeds of grazing animals that, in some cases, are rarely used in modern commercial farming.
Valley Butchers is already selling heathland beef from Shorthorn cattle produced on the Bodior estate.
Shop owner Karl Jones said: "I know these farms well and their produce is top quality. The meat is hung to give exceptional flavour, and the taste of nature really comes through."
At yesterday's show TV chef Mel Thomas extolled the virtues of the scheme, while visitors were able to sample wildlife-friendly burgers.
Also on display were two Section A mountain ponies loaned by Anne Holland of Dwyran to reflect the scheme's commitment to wildlife.
The brand was created by the Anglesey Grazing Animals Partnership (AGAP), which was launched two years ago to promote wildlife and manage habitats using traditional grazing animals.
It already has 18 farmer members, and encompasses such native cattle breeds as Herefords, Welsh Blacks, Dexters and Belted Galloways.
Some 340ha are now under conservation management as a result of the initiative. Ten cattle are now on Newborough Warren, sheep are grazing the inland sea area at Rhoscolyn and wild mountain ponies have been brought on to remote coastal habitats.
And in a unique livestock leasing arrangement, a flock of Hebridean sheep have been acquired to maintain the wild heath of Mynydd Twr above Holyhead.
By grazing out the older heather, wildlife flourishes and the sheep create firebreaks. They will eventually be sold as mutton.
For the scheme to work, meat produced this way has to be commercially viable, and AGAP worked with Agrisgop and Menter Mn to set up a quality standard and, now, a marketing brand.
Coleg Pencraig Food Technology Centre is providing processing facilities and training for the farmers.
Project leader Hilary Kehoe said AGAP was a marketing support group and not a traditional farm co-operative. Members are free to develop their own brands under the AGAP umbrella.
"They can market their produce in any way they want," she said.
Agrisgp leader Geraint Hughes added: "A group can achieve greater things than working as individuals."
The brand will be formally launched this morning but at yesterday''s show AGAP sausages were included in a celebrity taste test organised by the Farmers Union of Wales.
They didn''t win, but the brand''s profile was lifted and the serious marketing will now get under way.
Interest is already being shown by London's Fortnums and Mason, but Hilary is keen to focus on local sales.
As the group is anxious not to offend local sensibilities, members are likely to focus on web sales and box schemes. Funding has been promised for a chilled storage unit and a trailer for deliveries.
Hilary said the group would also be stressing the meat''s health benefits.
"Animals that are managed extensively and grown slowly produce meat high in omega 3 and Vitamin E," she said. "It''s ethical meat with a great flavour."
A MORNING breeze and a blue skies afternoon combined to produce a perfect show day at Gwalchmai, luring 31,200 visitors to the showground yesterday. The figure was slightly down on last year, when a poor second-day weather forecast prompted an early rush, but well up on the five-year average. The large gate led to mid-morning traffic problems, and a gate steward was taken to hospital with minor injuries when colliding with a trailer.