Cheverton Farm specialises in rearing lamb and beef. The farm supplies top quality cuts to customers across the Isle of Wight but until recently the business had outsourced its dry-ageing work. This form of meat processing is growing in popularity as it locks in the flavour and moisture by sealing it in a dry crust.
Until the new facilities at the farm were built animals from the island were sent by lorry to the UK for slaughter and preparation before being returned to the Isle of Wight for customers’ plates.
The farm wanted to end the outsourcing and build new dry-ageing, cutting and curing rooms, and install a new freezer. Royale Refrigeration of Newbury, Berkshire, had carried out similar projects in the past in the food processing industry and were chosen to carry out the work.
They put this expertise to good use, as the company’s project and operations manager Gary Millard explained: “This installation featured a large, meat hanging rail system moving throughout the renovated farm structure. The rail system makes it possible for the customer to manage the ageing process of their meat without the need to ship it back and forth to the UK. Included in our brief were specialist control panels for the dehumidification.”
“A second dry-age cold room for smaller cuts was also built and produce is now brought to the farm by lorry locally before being loaded directly on to the rail hanging system and then on to the dry-ageing room.”
Four J & E Hall Commercial Condensing Units supplied by wholesalers FSW have been installed at the farm. The J & E Hall Fusion range is the ideal solution for commercial refrigeration installations where noise, size and reliability are paramount. Housed in a cabinet made of electro-galvanised mild steel with anti-corrosion treatment and coated in baked polyester powder paint, these outdoor units are able to withstand the most stringent weather testing.
The integral IP54 rated control panel provides further protection to all essential electrical components. All units are acoustically lined and come complete with components fitted during manufacture to save the installer time and money. Other benefits to the installer include hinged doors that provide simple access for service and maintenance. Fusion condensing units are available for medium and low temperature applications.
At Cheverton Farm the freezer is running on refrigerant R452A and the fridges on R449A. The farm is now able to process carcasses from other beef, lamb and pork producers on the island and the new facilities will bring a considerable boost to the business allowing the operation to handle up to 800 carcasses a year.
The installation was project-managed by food processing consultant Steve Blamire. He works with a number of different producers on the island and specialises in bringing food processing back to the farm gate. These are challenging times for the industry with farmers having to handle the pressures of low prices. Ways to cut costs in production and protect margins for farmers have never been more important.
Steve said: “The new facilities on the farm are absolutely fantastic. Introducing the new dry-ageing facilities has changed the dynamics of what we can do with meat on the island. Previously we did not have a facility to handle his and producers are now in control of their own destiny.
“Carcasses no longer have to be transported to the mainland and this provides Cheverton Farm with a huge opportunity to extend its market on the island. Introducing a more sustainable model is clearly a very important part of this and so too are efficiencies brought about by the new cooling system.”