A FOUR-year journey of experimentation and discovery has led to the creation of what could well be Britain’s best beef.
And it’s all taking place in a small village outside Stowmarket.
Andrew Deacon, from Earl Stonham, is the only owner and farmer of a herd of Wagyu Cattle in the country, meaning the rare meat that he produces comes at a price.
Harrods have long been selling the Japanese delicacy - also known as Kobe beef - at £200 per kilo. But now you can have a Wagyu burger and chips for just £12.50 at the Shepherd and Dog pub in Forward Green, Stowmarket.
You can also try this Suffolk raised beef further afield at London’s exclusive Japanese restaurant, Zuma, or Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star restaurant, La Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.
But it all started with an interest in beef.
Andrew Deacon began his journey to discover how to produce the best beef by travelling to America to speak to cattle breeders, ranchers and feeders.
“I wanted to find out why their beef tastes so much better than ours,” Andrew said.
After gaining a secret feed formula - with a key ingredient of maize - he headed home to try it out on his herd of half Hereford, half Angus cows.
It proved successful, but Andrew still felt he could produce better tasting beef.
“Fat is what holds all the taste in a piece of beef. Marbling (intramuscular fat) is what you look for, it’s shot through the muscle and gives a lovely taste when cooked,” he said.
It seemed Wagyu Cattle ticked all the boxes for Andrew - and they held the secret to good tasting beef, marbling.
After locating and buying the only herd in the UK, from Wales, he set them up in Suffolk.
Andrew said: “I bought the herd in December 2009 and raised them in my way - feeding them better, letting them live longer and getting them up to the right level of fatness.”
It seems like a lot of effort for just 150 cows.
But sitting in the warm bustling country pub, it all becomes clear why it meant so much to Andrew to bring Wagyu Cattle to the UK.
The burger, made from Wagyu mince, has just salt and pepper added to it by Shepherd and Dog chef, Chris Bruce. But it tastes simply sublime.
The farmer now hopes to increase his herd to 500 cattle, meaning he can kill two cows each day in order to supply to the growing number of interested restaurants across the country.
But this too looks set to be a complicated process, as they will have to use surrogate mothers and fertilised embryos to produce these new pure bred Wagyu cattle.