Weeton's takes its name from The Weeton Herd of pedigree Holstein dairy cattle founded by Frank Loftus at Preese Hall Farm in the 1924. Back then we kept dairy shorthorns at Preese Hall, but were one of the first to switch over to black and white Holstein Friesian cattle and quickly established one of the leading herds in the country. Frank's son Tom Loftus won The Royal Show in 1952 and 1953, and his son John Loftus won the same title again in 1990. The end of an era came in May 2010 when the dairy herd was dispersed for the last time and cows ceased to be milked at Preese Hall, however a new chapter opened as we switched the farm over to beef production, so it is still very much a working farm.
The Weeton's business was started in 2005 as a partnership between John Loftus, his son Andrew, and John Grantchester, another prominent dairy farmer. The two Johns had both achieved considerable success breeding high quality livestock and in the show ring, where they formed a lasting friendship. Today Andrew is the Managing Director and driving force behind Weeton's and following in the family tradition is a cattle farmer in his own right. After considerable research, new Weeton Herd of pedigree Red Poll cattle was formed in 2007 with the aim of producing the highest quality beef for sale in Weeton's.
The Red Poll was once a rare breed but has enjoyed a comeback in recent years as it is famed for producing excellent beef on a diet of nothing but entirely natural grass. It is rare for beef cattle to be fed on a grass-only diet and most are fed on barley or other feed compounds to achieve a good weight but Red Poll steers in the Weeton Herd are now achieving weights of 700kg at 26 months of age without any supplementary feeding. You simply won't find this ''grass-finished'' beef on the shelves of the supermarkets; it sets Weeton's beef apart from the competition and has helped build our reputation.
The Red Poll is a medium sized breed, red in colour and naturally 'polled' or hornless - hence the name! It originated in East Anglia and some of our breeding stock came from the Royal Estate at Sandringham, where the qualities of Red Poll beef have long been appreciated. To complement these long-established bloodlines, we have recently introduced some Australian Red Poll bloodlines into our herd, mainly to gain extra size and speed of growth, but without sacrificing the famed eating quality of the original.
To achieve year-round supply of quality beef we also buy in cattle from other farms in Yorkshire, but we only buy direct from farmers who share our high standards and farm traditional British breeds. Our other major farmer suppliers are:
- Andrew Fisher of Pateley Bridge (pure bred British White cattle)
- Heather Whittaker of Norwood Green (pedigree Hereford cattle)
- Sam Webster of Masham (Belted Galloway cattle)
- Robert Cockroft of Midgeley (Red Poll cattle)
Our lamb is sourced 100% from Walburn Hall Farms, Near Downholme, Richmond during the winter months (late September to March). This is purebred Swaledale, born and raised on the heather, but finished on lowland pastures. During the spring and summer we source Texel lambs from a small group of farms near Tadcaster. All are killed at Rowland Agar of Ilkley.
All of our chicken is free range and produced by Loose Birds of Harome, York. Our pork is from Walmsley Bros in Harrogate and our venison comes from Nigel Sampson of Holme Farmed Venison.