Sunday, April 12, 2009

Randall Cattle Breed

I stumbled across an interesting breed of cattle this past week - Randall Cattle. The following is an excerpt from the breed association's web site:

The Randall Cattle Breed

"Randall cattle are a rare breed of purebred cattle developed in Sunderland, Vermont, on the farm of the late Everett Randall. They are considered to be a landrace breed, descended from the indigenous landrace cattle common in New England in the nineteenth century. Randalls have historically been used as a dairy breed, although they also possess meat and draft qualities.
Randall cattle are variable in size and conformation and have a constitution that is uniquely adapted to extensive or low input farming systems. Historically, the most suitable and natural environment for these cattle has been on small scale forage-based farms, subsistence farms, and homesteads. It is on such farms and homesteads that the unique genetic attributes of the Randalls can be fully expressed."

"Randall cattle are classified as "Critical" by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), although their numbers, once fewer than 20 total animals, have increased since they were first rescued from extinction in 1985. Randall cattle originated on the farm of Everett Randall of Sunderland, Vermont, starting with his father, Samuel J. Randall, around the turn of the 20th Century. Much of the breed's history is surmised, based on anecdotal and other evidence, but the common thread seems to be that the Randall family kept, bred, and selected their cattle in virtual isolation for over eighty years. This selection and isolation resulted in the Randall breed of today, a distinct animal uniquely adapted to its environment."

The Randall Breed web site has a very large collection of photos, in particular a quite lengthy slide show that seems a thorough representation of the population of these cattle. Reviewing the slideshow you see from time to time white cattle in the mix. It's like a mirror image of a British White herd of cattle where they are predominantly white with black points and you find as well limited numbers of the black-sided example of the British White breed, what we consider 'line-backed' markings.

Also of particular interest to me is the beautifully lyre-shaped horns of this breed that are tipped with black. A review of the photos reflects black-tipped horns not being occasional, but rather most predominant, as is the lyre shape of the horns. The ancient Park Cattle of the British Isles originally had lyre shaped horns, based on the surviving literary references to the breed, and they were tipped in black.

". . . when the milk-white bull with gilded horns. . ." The Georgics of Virgil (c.29 BCE)

Today, you often times see more of a spreading type horn in the remaining horned Park Cattle herds in the USA as well as in Britain, which would be the result of the introduction of English Longhorn into herds of horned Park Cattle most likely in the 18th and early 19th centuries. An example of this would be the photos of horned Park Cattle presented at the Seedsavers Exchange web site. While the verbiage indicates the cattle have the traditional lyre shaped horn, the photos are clearly of the wide spreading variety of horn, not a distinctive upward rising lyre shape.

The Randall cattle were kept and bred in isolation and this perpetuated a distinct type, not unlike the Chillingham herd of England. The critical difference being that this herd was not kept in human isolation, and it is apparent that they are intelligent and gentle animals. The Randall family likely had an original fondness for the line-backed markings and thus they are the predominant physical appearance of this breed today. But, it is very informative to the genetics of this breed to find the occasional Randall that is white with black points. Kevyn Miller of Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana with his Randall working steers

One day I hope that someone with both the interest in the antiquity of these genetics and the wealth to take on such a project, will decide to pursue a thorough genetic analysis of the polled British White, the horned White Park of England and the USA, and this very interesting Randall breed of cattle. Perhaps we could try to get some of that federal stimulus money for such a project!

The photo above shows both a red and a black point Randall steer. Apparently, when the breed was originally taken on for rescue there were no red-pointed animals, but over time the recessive red gene presented itself. This is also consistent with the ancient Park Cattle we know today as British White and White Park.

Do you know anyone with deep pockets and an interest in exploring and preserving the ancient genetics of these special breeds? I'll give you a beautiful heifer if you can find someone who will commit to seeing this done and done right!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

British White Heifer Shown at South Texas State Fair

A British White heifer is included in the first Spring South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, Texas. Previously a fall show for many years, this transition to spring seems to be going well. The fair grounds are clean and fresh and the rides and the food are all tasty and fun; in particular the food has lots of variety, I really wanted to try one of those pork chops on a stick, or a cajun egg roll, but alas I looked on in envy, and decided to wait until another day. This video is a short clip of my niece with her heifer, Mazey. Mazey is a small framed heifer, should mature to at most a Frame Score 2 and weight of about 1000 lbs at full maturity. She stands out in the show barn as much for her small frame as for her distinctive beauty and good nature. Follow this link for a short video, and look for more videos to follow on youtube!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beef Recipe from the Late 60's - What does it tell us about beef 40 years ago?

I've had some time on my hands lately, and one thing I've done is browse through some of my late mother-in-law's many cookbooks. I just love cookbooks, they tell as much about a period in our history as, well, probably as much as a history book in our schools today. We know our school history texts today are skewed and stretched and squashed together bits of information on life in our great country since our English, French, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh and more cousins first settled this great country some 300 plus years ago (I count way before 1776, just so you know :).

But, those old cook books are NOT telling any lies, changing any facts to suit a social agenda. The cookbook is the agenda, and the women who pulled together the recipes, unknowingly pulled together and left for us a glimpse into their lives, and life in general in the good old USA.

Here's a recipe from a 1968 "Favorite Recipes from Country Kitchens - Casseroles Edition". It particularly struck my eye as it calls for the use of "beef suet" rendered in a skillet for the fat, and the fat is then used to brown the ground beef. Makes me think that just maybe the ground beef back in those days was NOT full of water and fat like supermarket ground beef is today. What do you think?


Chopped Beef Suet
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 10 1/2 oz. can tomato soup
1 soup can water
1 tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 12-oz. can whole kernel corn
1/2 c. chopped green pepper

Render beef suet in thick skillet over moderate heat until there is grease enough to brown meat. Remove rendered suet; stir in ground beaf and onion. Mix and brown lightly. Pour off excess fat and add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Turn into 1 1/2 quart greased casserole. Pour Corn Bread Topping on top of meat mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven 30 to 40 minutes or until Corn Bread topping is done and brown-crusted.


3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp. sugar (I'd need more sugar than this, probably 3 Tbsp.)
1 tsp.salt
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. soda
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. bacon drippings

Measure the 6 dry ingredients and sift together into bowl. Make a well in center; add egg mixed with buttermilk and bacon drippings. Mix well.
Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Found the following desert recipe at, may be the perfect complement to old-fashioned Railroad Pie!

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 c. raisins
1 c. cherries or other fruit, drained well
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cream of tartar or baking powder
1 tsp. soda
Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour with the soda and cream of tartar and put together in usual manner. Put in baking dish and cook at 325 degrees until it looks done, about 50 minutes.
1/2 c. butter
2 well beaten eggs
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
Beat all ingredients together, cook over low heat. Then add another cup of water, stir well then serve on pudding. May only want to use 1/2 cup of extra water.


Yes, I know, this is a blog for British White Cattle! But, exceptions have to be made sometimes, and I think this is one of them. This photo is of a very nice-looking registered Red Angus bull that needs a good home, a good job, and a good life for several more years. Here is the text of the ad found at

"Five year old registered ease of calving bull. Guaranteed breeder. I am 73 and sold my small herd of mother cows. I don't want to sell him for slaughter as he is a gentle old friend and I want him to have several more years. He could easily bring my price at livestock sales. Great Bull for heifers."

Price $1150

Contact Information

Contact Name Bob Fritzler City Keenesburg
State Colorado
ZIP 80643
Country United States
View Map Click Here to view map of area
Telephone 303 732 4880

Follow this link for more photos of this good-looking Red Angus bull.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

White Park Brewery in Bedfordshire - Make a refreshing stop at this unique brewery on your next visit to England!

"A Bedfordshire based brewery with a passion for all things natural and wholesome. The brewery is sited in a farm courtyard barn and run by a team of enthusiastic brewers! The name of the brewery evolves from the owner's love of keeping rare breed animals, including White Park cattle, an ancient Britsh breed famed for its good eating - especially when fed spent malt from a brewery! Good eating of course goes hand in hand with a great pint..."

It is always interesting to find new web sites of other breeders of both polled British White and horned White Park cattle in the UK.  Recently, Alan Kelly of the White Park Brewery in  Bedfordshire very kindly contacted me to let me know of a quite unfortunate spelling error on one of my pages.  I most appreciated his taking the time to do that!

Alan has quite an interesting operation, and one that I suspect is a quite natural fit.  Follow the link in the title above to Alan's web site and your mouth will water for a taste of his various White Park ales and porters, as well as a taste of his rare White Park beef fed 'spent malt' -- no doubt that makes for some uniquely flavorful beef.  
Should I be so fortunate as to make another trip to the UK in the coming years, I plan on adding a stop at the White Park Brewery to my itinerary.  Certainly memorable from my prior visit was looking forward at each new stop to trying the local brew in a colorful pub.  Having a pint and some good conversation seemed the most natural thing in the world there, and I swear I think English brew is actually healthy.  

I encourage everyone to have a look at the White Park Brewery web site. They have a very nice herd of White Park cows, and it is well worth noting that in this herd the pedigree cattle have lyric shaped horns that are tipped in black, which is consistent with old descriptions of the original horned 'milch white' Park cattle of old.

You will also find photos of White Park 'cross' animals, and sometimes the black tipped horn comes through, and sometimes not. But, of the photos of crossbred calves I looked at, the White Park color pattern, excepting horn tip color, dominated on the cross. The photo above is a White Park 'cross' female that did retain classic Park markings, including black tipped lyric shaped horns. She's quite a nice looking girl.

The size of the Brewery's White Park cattle appear to be fairly moderate, nothing of an extreme nature struck my eye. And of course the Shetland cattle, which the Brewery has a small herd of as well, are very moderate to small framed cattle.

Cheers to Alan Kelly and the White Park Brewery!