Famous French cattle at home in the Blackmore Vale

SHARP-eyed walkers or motorists on the C13 Shaftesbury to Blandford road may have spotted some handsome, light tan cattle grazing in the fields overlooking the Blackmore Vale.

They are Aubracs, a famous French regional breed originating on the windswept hills of the Massif Central. More than 30 years ago, while he was working at the Lyon Opera, the international conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner heard about the cattle. After driving up to their bleak homeland of rocks and streams he fell in love with them, and some years later he imported the first of what is now a 200-strong herd to his organic Gore Farm south of Shaftesbury.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner with one of his Aubrac cattle. Photograph by Ed Bersey

Aubracs are dual-purpose cattle, reared for their milk – they are excellent mothers and their milk makes an outstanding French regional cheese – and their meat. Top French chefs regularly select Aubrac beef on their menus for its marbling and succulence.

There is a rare opportunity for local people to buy some of this remarkable beef from Gore Farm, and to try John Eliot’s new home-grown  traditional local apple juice, which is hand-pressed by Nigel Spring. For more information email gorefarmgoods@gmail.com

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