Updated: May 1, 2020
It’s not often we get to go on family holidays because running your own business means having to sacrifice those special moments together. But when we got an invitation to spend some time with Chris and Sally Purdon – our main suppliers of Wagyu beef – we couldn’t resist the opportunity mostly because we’d been working with them for quite some time, but hadn’t had the opportunity to meet in person. Killing two birds with one stone is the kind of thing you capitalise on though, right?
Clearly, we had forgotten what it was like to travel with kids because we do it so infrequently. No sooner had we landed in the Eastern Cape when our wheels fell off. Well, to be fair we didn’t have any wheels, not even one.
Hard to admit this, but in our rush to get everything done, we'd forgotten to book our transport to the farm. Oh, let’s not forget how we almost lost our luggage at the airport. So not only were we carless, we were nearly luggage-less too. We had to return to the airport to get our luggage. My husband, Roger, is lucky he wasn’t left behind! Eventually we organised a Nissan Bakkie to transport us to where we needed to go, only to realise that if we had used this car our luggage would have been stolen, so back to square one we went, frustrated and stranded we leaned on our default setting of relying on Uber.
“Err? Uber? What’s an Uber?” said the first person we asked. Right. Well there goes that idea. Not only did they not have Uber, they simply had no cars to get us to where we needed to be. None. Finally, after many hours of calling and running around like chickens with their heads cut off, we landed up getting a hold of some transport.
Thank goodness we got there because even Google didn’t know the farm existed. But when we arrived at Glenfinlas, the Purdon’s farm, the stress finally left my body and I could truly enjoy the views. Winter had just settled in which created this sense of peace around us. Watching the Wagyu cows in the fields around us made it easy to take a moment to realise that things weren’t as bad as we thought.
There’s something special about how the Wagyu gives off this sense of peace. Yes, it sure has an incredibly high price but there’s a reason for that. In fact, there are many.
Unlike other regular beef Wagyu is latticed with fat throughout unlike regular beef. The thing about the fat in this source of beef is that it is high in monounsaturated fats – you know, the good kind? The kind that is good for your heart? Who said eating too much red meat was bad for you? Now you can turn around to those doomsayers of heart health and tell them to hush. But of course, everything in moderation, eh?
This gorgeous source of protein and fat – perfect for those living the keto lifestyle, especially for those who want to increase their Omega 3s and 6s – is one of the most succulent, buttery kind of meat that you simply can’t get anywhere else. And with its low melting point, Wagyu literally melts in your mouth.
Watching the Wagyu graze it was truly amazing to realise that they all come from royal bloodlines that can be traced through genealogy which indicates no crossbreeding. If ‘peaceful farming’ was a term, this was it, these cattle have space to roam and feed to their heart's content, expertly looked after by Chris and his team.
As we were riding around on the farm, it became even more apparent that the Purdon’s understood the concept of quality. In order to serve the best beef possible, it had to be bred in the best way possible. They truly have perfected the natural formula, no growth hormones, antibiotics or animal by products and they are grass-fed.
While it doesn’t happen here, an incredibly interesting fact about wagyu beef in Japan, these animals are treated in such high regard they are practically royalty. In fact, they probably have better lives than we do. They eat great healthy food and they listen to classical music and receive massages and acupuncture if you can believe that! Sounds like a spa weekend to me.
While it wasn’t a spa weekend for us, it sure felt wonderful to be where we were. We were astounded when Chris brought us to a charmingly beautiful stone cottage, chimney and all, which was to be home for the next few days. With massive mountains behind us, and a beautiful landscape in front of us, we truly felt in awe. After such a long trip - even a local holiday felt like an overseas one, especially to the kids. Sitting down we enjoyed a well-deserved cup of coffee but we landed up having to taste this specific milk called Amanzi milk, all I can say is the kids thought "what on earth are you doing to us? we can barely stomach vegetables, never mind curdled milk"
With excitement brimming the kids couldn’t sit still for long. Especially after Chris mentioned he had a bright red Honda 4-wheeler. With the kids enjoying every second of being outside, with the occasional scream of pure enjoyment, we became even more proud to have a wagyu supplier that understood the business of fine dining. It also reminded us of the huge importance of getting to know our clients and suppliers.
Doing business with people like Chris and Sally who are transparent in how they run their business as are we, made us feel like we truly were all on the same page of great value, great service and integrity. That for us as a family business is priceless.
“Heavenly” doesn’t even come close to describing our experience at Glenfinlas. As much as we wanted to see where our top quality wagyu came from, this break was really a time for us to connect as a family where we spent the next few days exploring the farm and it's beauty, and learning more about Chris’s methods. The kids were so busy that they passed out within minutes of going to bed each night. Goes to show what being outdoors without any form of technology attached to their hands does to the mind and body. It’s a like a total reset. Of course, Aunty Sally’s pigs and sheep that she keeps as a hobby helped too.
This was a family experience that we will treasure for a long time to come, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to befriend Chris and Sally, who we can now honestly say, the most down to earth incredible people we have the honour of working with. We truly treasure lasting personal relationships and the fact that they welcomed our whole family with open arms and shared everything they had to share, solidifies the bond that we have, not only in business, but as friends.