Highland Cattle: A Regal Heritage Breed
As previously announced, our annual Eighth Cattle Share is in full swing! Following America’s most popular breed, the Angus, Larry and Madonna Sorrell present the truly regal choice of England: Highland beef.
The Highland is the oldest registered breed of cattle, officially recognized in 1884. The Queen of England maintains her own Highland herd at Balmoral Castle, which satisfies her cravings for a royal burger. Highland cattle have lived for centuries in the rugged, remote, Scottish Highlands – qualifying them as a true heritage breed. Cold weather and snow have little effect on this breed, allowing them to be raised as far north as Alaska and Scandinavia. These extremely harsh conditions propelled the process of natural selection, allowing only the fittest and most adaptable animals to survive and carry on the legacy of the breed. Originally, the Highland breed was comprised of two distinctly different herds; today, however, these strains have evolved into one, hearty Highland lineage. Despite their long horns, long hair, and unusual appearance, the Highland is considered to be a docile and calm animal. They are extremely intelligent, which makes them quite easy to train.
Highland cattle are approximately 2/3 the weight of Angus cattle, so their meat yield is slightly lower. They mature slowly and are typically taken for slaughter later in life than other breeds, making their meat tender, lean, well marbled, and flavorful. This hard-to-find beef is dry-aged three weeks before we ship it, reducing each cut’s weight, but enhancing the savory flavor of this delectable beef.
Larry and Madonna Sorell have been farmers since 1970, when they purchased 200 acres of land in Cloud County, Kansas. Larry Sorell continues a family tradition that was passed down from his grandfather to his father and then, to him. Today, the farm is a bit smaller, but the Sorrells still maintain true biodiversity amongst their livestock. Madonna fondly recalls Larry returning home with a surprise in his truck – once a few lambs, another time a beautiful horse. The couple raises numerous heritage breeds, including a handful of Highland cattle, Katahdin lambs, and several pig varieties, which can be found on our storefront.