FOUR Craven business have teamed up to showcase the very best the region has to offer.

The Courtyard Dairy, between Austwick and Settle, has been running a series of guest chef nights this year featuring the very best chefs of the North of England.

For the latest endeavour they decided to team up with local chef John Rudden, of Grassington House. Using his cooking expertise they wanted to highlight the quality of the produce farmed in the Dales using meat from local farm Hill Top Farm in Malham, butchered by Town End Farm Shop at Airton

“Neil and Leigh Heseltine, of Hill Top Farm, are real inspirational farmers,” said Andy Swinscoe, owner of The Courtyard Dairy.

“With all our cheesemakers we work with those who are prioritising sustainable, more traditional methods of agriculture and Neil and Leigh follow those same ideals for their beef production.”

Mr Swinscoe said since 2003, Hill Top Farm has improved the method it farms to work more with nature by reducing animal stock numbers, returning to 100 per cent grass-fed native breeds, cutting their meadows later and changing grazing patterns. It all leads to a better environment for birds (including a return of curlews and barn owls), small mammals and indigenous grasses/wildflowers that help carbon capture, improve soil health and water retention. This attitude has seen them go onto win much national recognition including the National Trust’s ‘Farming with Nature’ Award.

Mr Heseltine said: “We have changed our farming to have positive impact on agriculture, wildlife, nature conservation and landscape, but it makes commercial sense too - this is low input system and in turn the cows have a natural life grazing the hills.”

Currently the majority of this goes via Skipton firm Swaledale Foods to some of the very top restaurants in London, and it’s their grass-fed belted Galloway meat that John Rudden will use on the night.

“It’ll be nice to promote it more locally and show Craven the value of meat from this style of farming,” added Mr Heseltine.