A WICKHAM farm is reaping the rewards after spotting an opportunity that competitors have so far overlooked.

Woodlands Jersey Beef, based just outside the town buys 10-day-old male calves from local Jersey herds, that would otherwise be destroyed, and then rears them for up to three years.

The males are often culled at birth because they are considered too light framed and uneconomical. But Jane and Paul Denley, the owners of Woodlands Jersey Beef, realised that meat from the animals was top quality.

They have since been shipping the meat to Michel Roux Jr’s famous central London eatery, the two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery recently acknowledged their contribution to the rural economy by paying a visit.

He said: “It was great to visit a thriving farm that has cornered a real niche in the market.

“It was great to discuss the general economic situation and how Jane and Paul have made a successful and growing business.

The cows are raised in barns and outside in meadows and then slaughtered and butchered locally before they are matured on the bone for 21 days and then supplied to restaurants across Hampshire, including No 5 Bridge Street in Winchester.

“It was also nice to see how their idea has led to cows that would have been killed soon after birth getting the chance of a life, which cuts down on waste while offering a really good local product.

"Jane and Paul also very kindly gave me some of their sirloin steaks which we cooked at home that night. I can certainly vouch for the quality of the product!” Mr Hollingbery said.