In 2020 the Society launched a new Ambassador’s Award, with a trophy provided by Bernard Llewellyn of the Carreg herd, to recognise and reward a member promoting the Longhorn breed whether it be in show classes not confined to Longhorn cattle, or by supplying cattle to exhibitions or events which advertise the breed, or those working hard in the promotion and selling of Longhorn beef – ambassadors of the breed whose story may not be being heard when so much publicity is concentrated around Longhorn-specific showring results.
The award isn’t for the member who has won every trophy going in the show ring; it’s for the member who has promoted the breed in their own way – an unsung hero if you will.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, the Society received some excellent nominations, but the standout winners were Ben and Tori Stanley of Melbourne Park Longhorns and Tori and Ben’s Farm Shop.
Championing the breed of Longhorns has always been at the heart of Tori & Bens activities. Having retailed Longhorn meat for the past 15 years they know the quality of the beef is there to be shouted about.
In 2006 Ben and Tori took over the marketing of retail Longhorn beef boxes from Ben’s parents Pat & John and trailed the length and breath of the UK selling Longhorn beef. Locally through box schemes, then expanding to eight local farmers markets a month, up to 50 national shows, food festivals and other events. In 2010 after moving to their own farm they took on four farmers markets every Saturday spreading the Longhorn word again.
2007 saw Ben travel the world on his Nuffield Scholarship researching Adding Value through the Fifth Quarter; a topic close to the Longhorn, Ben recognised to get the most from each animal there was a huge opportunity through the individual hides and horns – the result of this was re opening the hair-on hide industry in the UK and allowing other members to have their hides back, tanned and prepared for retail. Thanks to this several micro business have opened using UK tanned hair on hides from many beautifully marked native cattle, of which Longhorn is the most popular range – Robson & May.
Tori and Ben also retail their hides from their online shop and their retail shop. They are currently working towards a bespoke set of Longhorn horn cutlery to add to the Longhorn 5th quarter range.
Pride and passion of the Longhorn breed is always at the forefront of their direct to consumer retail and marketing. Every banner, sign & piece of marketing carries a Longhorn image or graphic.
They established their own Longhorn herd from scratch finding people with good cattle that were leaving the breed or other individual cattle, against all the odd they now have a herd of 60 suckler cows and running two well bred stock bulls, so they can stand behind the meat the sell and show full traceability and provenance.
In 2016 they were named Beef Innovators of the Year at the National British Farming Awards for their endless dedication and forward thinking to sell direct to the consumer, promoting their breed of choice and for supporting a traditional breed into the modern market.
In 2017 they opened their second shop with the Longhorn butchers counter being the main focus and pull – they were then named one of the Sunday Telegraph top 20 national farm shops.
Keen supporters of Longhorn Cattle Society activities, they hosted the 2018 National Longhorn AGM and what a show they put on, joined by BBC Master Chef Champion Sven-Hanson Britt they treated members to a ‘Nose to Tail’ Longhorn feast along with a fantastic tour of their up and coming herd. The couple have also hosted the Midlands Longhorn Breeders’ Group several times for an evening of ‘Master Butchers classes’ at their fantastic butchers shop, learning from their master butchers.
Aired at Christmas 2019 on prime time Christmas television on BBC2, 3.4 million people tuned into watch ‘Master Chef the Rematch’ featuring Tori and Ben’s Longhorns. Chef Sven-Hanson Britt competed against four other previous ‘Master Chef, The Professionals’ winners in a special edition of the programme. Having cooked a multi course menu in which Longhorn featured in most courses they dined outside in the fields of the farm with the cattle grazing around the diners. The combination of the couple’s cattle and passion for the breed with Sven’s cooking of a Longhorn Rib saw Monica Galetti and the judges name Sven-Hanson Britt Champion of Champions.
The couple regularly host Farm to Fork feast nights, speciality Oxeye dinners with Sven cooking for waiting lists of people and are the sole beef supplier to Oxeye Restaurant.
Continuing to use the Longhorn breed to promote their beef they use the show circuit as a shop window. Winning Breed Champion at every show they attended in 2019 they also won Supreme Interbreed Champion at Ashby Show which had a full page in the national Famers Guardian. They went on to pick up the Longhorn Cattle Society’s Cow of the Year 2019 award and a close second place Heifer of the Year award. They use the shows to promote their brand to support the work they do in retailing this magnificent beef.
They have worked with International appliance company Miele as Brand Ambassadors. Whenever Miele host and event, cooking demonstrations and much more Longhorn beef is on the menu.
As well as the retail shop and ‘farm on tour’ catering van the couple also spread the breed and beef word through 10 local restaurants, pubs and national motorsport race track Donington Racetrack where they are the sole beef supplier to a national audience. Whomever they supply along goes their promotion which is dominated by the Longhorn breed – using, logo, imagery and other marketing factors.
Not one piece of marketing doesn’t have a Longhorn on – designed with modern branding in partnership with this traditional breed give the brand a place in a modern market.
During 2020 the couple and their staff rose to the challenge of helping their local community with groceries during the various COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions and immediately started offering an increased range of products for customers to collect and a local delivery service was also established to help the more vulnerable.
The couple continue to work tirelessly for their belief in the Longhorn breed and it’s contribution to the world beef industry, there is certainly more to see for the future from this passionate, patient and enthusiastic couple and their children (who also have their own herd of Longhorns). Exciting things to come.