The veal deal

Where others saw the issue of bobby calves in the dairy industry as a serious issue, Alan McDermont and Julia Galway saw an opportunity: to produce world class pasture-raised veal that everyone could enjoy.

In late 2023 we spent some time with Alan McDermont and Julia Galway understanding their passion for, and the inspiration behind, their Pearl Veal products. Alan – who spends as much time with chefs and end users of his products as he does with the farmers rearing the animal – has a strong awareness of the negative connotations around milk-fed, young animals being reared indoors. Instead his focus has been on creating an animal-centric story where, rather than young calves becoming a by-product of producing milk, their status and value is elevated so they are retained and reared on.

“It’s a very honest, open story and it’s one about giving these young animals a chance to flourish and have a good life,” he explains.

Instead of a four-day-old calf heading for the bobby truck, they’re reared on contract by the dairy farmer until they’re weaned at 100kg liveweight. They are then sent to a contracted beef finisher to be grown until they’re 280–340kg liveweight.

At close to a year old the animals are larger, but still young enough to produce an exceptional, tender, quality product. It’s lighter in colour than beef, with the blush of pasture-raised meat rather than the pallid colouration of the very traditional, milk-only veal from very young animals. Testing shows “the veal from the 10–12-month animals is significantly lower in fat than beef and has a milder flavour,” Alan explains.

Chef Jack Burgess showing his BBQ veal rib eye chop to Pearl Veal supplier Alan McDermott.

A flavour everyone can now enjoy and sample with the launch of the Pearl Veal online store.

“We are really excited to have launched our online store,” he enthuses.

“It is a truly luxurious product, which up until now has only been available to New Zealand’s best chefs. We believe that veal should be accessible to everybody and going online direct from us seems like the best way to begin making our products available and accessible to home cooks and families right across Aotearoa.

“If we are going to make a real impact when it comes to doing dairy better and doing meat better – we need to have a lot more people eating veal.”

From samplers, to family sized boxes and gourmet selection there is plenty to delight in! It’s not just about the traditional prime cuts either. Making use of the whole animal is important and Alan says the tenderness and high quality of the pasture-raised veal means restaurant quality dishes can be produced from every cut – from the trim to rump, topside, ribeye, short ribs, chuck and blade.

“It is a beautiful product to eat and cook with,” enthuses Alan. “Everybody who eats it says it’s amazing.

“Animal welfare inspired this journey,” he concludes. “We knew there had to be a better way and if we can create a beautiful product for people to enjoy as a result, that’s a win. We are proud of our progress but there is much more to do.”

Want to know more?


In October 2023 we headed into the kitchen with Pearl Veal’s Alan McDermont and chef Jack Burgess of Oden restaurant, in Christchurch to cook up a delicious BBQ Veal Ribeye Chop for the cover of our Nov/Dec Dairy Exporter.


For more insight into bobby calf solutions head to our website for in depth reports on dairy beef integration, from using the Dairy Beef Progeny Test and selecting the best dairy beef sires, how connecting closer with beef farmers can increase the value in dairy beef calves, through to how to handle the later born, smaller dairy beef calves.

Prefer reading a physical copy of the magazine? Why not order your copy of our Nov/Dec 2023 issue or subscribe today for only $59 and never miss an issue.


In episode three of our highly sought after Dairy Exporter Podcast editor Sheryl Haitana and Deputy Editor Anne Lee talk to the experts about whether there is value in our dairy-beef calves and why it is time for the dairy industry to take responsibility beyond selecting sires on gestation and calving ease. Listen here.


Try the delicious recipe for BBQ Veal Ribeye Chop with house mustard and spiced jus yourself, as designed by the team at Odeon restaurant. Recipe here.


Want to sample Pearl Veal’s delicious premium range? We’ve got a Two Person Sampler Box to give away!

Enter by completing the form. Winner drawn March 20th 2024.